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Ten months after the lines at Walter Reed were redrawn in the District’s favor, there’s finally a plan for how the campus will be redeveloped. Last night, the local redevelopment committee approved a base re-use plan that will the go to the Council as a bill for approval, and then to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
What’s in it? Pretty much what’s been contemplated from the beginning: 3.1 million gross square feet of development, of which over half will be residential, a quarter office space, and the rest retail and “creative” space. Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School will get 100,000 square feet for a middle and high school, Latin American Montessori Bilingual charter school gets 30,000 square feet, So Others Might Eat will maintain 40 units of housing for homeless seniors, HELP USA will build 75 units of low-income housing, and the Transitional Housing Corporation will get 6,000 square feet of office space. There will be no bus maintenance or storage facilities, according to specific language in the plan (so much for that dream of redeveloping bus barns on upper 14th Street and in Friendship Heights).
How fast will it move? That depends on a few things. Nothing can happen—-including interim uses of the now-empty campus, unfortunately—-until the Army conveys the land, which the city hopes will happen within 15 to 18 months. After that, the nonprofit users mentioned above will be able to move into their existing, historic buildings. From 2014 until 2017, the plan calls for construction of townhouses on Fern Street, as well as mixed-use buildings on the corner of Aspen Street and Georgia Avenue and Aspen and 16th Street. The big commercial buildout comes last, in about 2018.
But that could change if Walter Reed lands a big office tenant that wants to move faster. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been mentioned as a prospect, but it’s a longshot. A big-box store—-such as, yes, a Wegman’s—-would also move things along. In the mean time, the city is putting together a request for proposals for a master developer who would handle the process going forward.
All in all, a consultant estimated that full buildout will cost between $625 million and $640 million, including $80 to $90 million for infrastructure and $40 to $50 million for parking (which seems high, especially considering that the site now comes with more than 1,000 parking spaces under the old Building 2). How that gets paid for is to be determined.
Here’s the plan, visually. I don’t have a copy of the written plan yet, but will post as soon as I get it.
UPDATE, 4:00 p.m. – Here’s the text version, which also includes 116,000 square feet going to Howard University, and a fire station across Georgia Avenue.