City Paper is not for tourists
After digesting public comments on what should go into the 62-acre Walter Reed campus, planners have come up with a sketch of proposed uses that includes 2.4 million square feet of retail, educational, residential, cultural, hotel, and office space.
At the last community meeting in July, attendees were presented with four concept options: a mostly educational “Campus District,” a residential-heavy “Town Center,” hospitality-centric “Regional Center,” and a “Neighborhood District,” which included elements of all three. Most attendees preferred the well-rounded Neighborhood District option, so the Perkins + Will planning team decided on an eclectic mix, with no one use dominating the space. The allocation would accommodate about 1,000 units of housing, as well as a 170-key hotel. Retail elements include a medium-sized grocery store, restaurants and cafes, and a “retail pedestrian village.” The 125,000 square feet of office space would go to non-profits, “creative thought” enterprises, and a business incubator.
Many of the the 23 institutions that submitted proposals for the space, like the charter schools and homeless services agencies, could fit within this program. But some of them clearly could not—Howard University, which was pursuing the whole space for its hospital and medical colleges, is probably out of luck; the David Alpert-approved WMATA bus barn is probably also a goner.
Last week’s was the last public meeting before the presentation of the final plan in mid-October, which will then head to further rounds of review by the City Council and Zoning Commission.
UPDATE, 7:25 p.m. – The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development clarifies that some entities seeking space at Walter Reed may be scaling down their requests. Also, the next concrete deadline is December 1st, by which time the Local Redevelopment Authority intends to submit a final proposal to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for review.