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An Updated Timeline For the Redevelopment of Burnham Place

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Aerial view rendering of Burnham Place

The team behind the redevelopment of the air space over the railyard at Union Station provided the community with an updated timeline for the project’s next steps on Wednesday night.

The Burnham Place private-development project, named for Union Station designer Daniel Burnham, will be a component in one of the city’s most massive and complex development undertakings in recent memory. The site is roughly bounded by the Metro tracks, Station Place, and the historic Railway Express Building at 900 2nd Street NE (map) to the east. When completed, the development will be spread over 14 acres and include three million square feet of mixed-use buildings, plazas, and parks, including tens of thousands of square feet of retail, residential, office and hotel units.

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Developer Akridge won the air rights in 2002 to what the DC Office of Planning subsequently re-zoned as “Union Station North” (USN). The USN zoning regulations stipulate that there will be a multi-stage process prior to design approval: the first phase being the zoning master plan for the entire site, the second being the first review stage which will be similar to a planned-unit development submission, followed by a second review stage that will involve details like building materials and landscaping.

Akridge vice president of development David Tuchmann told the ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday that most of this year will be spent creating a plan of action to meet the requirements set forth by GSA historic preservation covenants which accompany the air rights. These covenants specify that the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) must approve the final design.

The public will get a status update this fall, and the master plan should be ready for a public introduction in summer 2017. The master plan approval process will likely go well into 2018, with periodic meetings with the public and presentations to SHPO, CFA, and the Zoning Commission.

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Tuchmann noted that this will be a highly-collaborative and long-term commitment by all parties involved. Akridge had a meeting last week with DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Highway Administration, Amtrak, and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) in order to compare timelines. USRC plans on identifying various project alternatives for the station expansion Environmental Impact Statement this summer, which Akridge will be responsive to as they assemble the master plan.

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The ANC committee members shared a few thoughts and concerns regarding the details and availability of the plans and logistical and safety concerns for the development itself. One of the primary concerns was the long overdue replacement of the Hopscotch Bridge. Tuchmann stated that DDOT would be able to adjust that timeline to ensure that all efforts are coordinated. Committee member Joel Kelty inquired about whose responsibility it would be to maintain the underlying infrastructure of Burnham Place — an issue for which there are no agreements as of yet, but in which Akridge and Amtrak are both highly invested.

More information and updates about the massive redevelopment can be found here.

Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that full ANC hoped to change the “grade” from which the Burnham Place buildings’ heights will be measured, from the top of the Hopscotch Bridge. That was the opinion of one ANC commissioner, not the full ANC opinion.

See other articles related to: union station, shalom baranes, burnham place, akridge

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_clearer_picture_of_burnham_place_timeline/10837

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