15 Acres of Residences Off North Capitol: The Vision for the Armed Forces Retirement Home

by Nena Perry-Brown

15 Acres of Residences Off North Capitol: The Vision for the Armed Forces Retirement Home: Figure 1
The AFRH campus, looking southwest. Click to enlarge.

Another massive development might be coming to North Capitol Street.

Between the Bloomingdale and Park View neighborhoods (map),  the General Services Administration (GSA) is soliciting redevelopment proposals for an 80-acre swath of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) campus.

15 Acres of Residences Off North Capitol: The Vision for the Armed Forces Retirement Home: Figure 2
Map of redevelopment area and fate of existing buildings. Click to enlarge.

The potential redevelopment site is improved with 35 structures that are no longer in use. Because the entire AFRH campus is a historic district, 12 of the buildings will be for adaptive reuse (11 of which are contributing, including a heating plant). 

15 Acres of Residences Off North Capitol: The Vision for the Armed Forces Retirement Home: Figure 3
The AFRH heating plant building. Click to enlarge.

A request for proposals (RFP) was released earlier this week, and here is what is envisioned for the site:

  • Over 2.2 million square feet (15.2 acres) of new residential development. Fifteen percent of the residential units should be affordable.
  • Over 1.19 million square feet (7.4 acres) of new office.
  • 290,650 square feet of medical use.
  • 214,086 square feet of retail.
  • 214,000 square feet of assisted living (the LaGarde building).
  • 126,391 square feet of hotel space.
  • 5,155 parking spaces.

While this will not be factored into the developer selection process, GSA also wants all offerors to present visions for how the Old Soldier's Home Golf Course can be improved and reintegrated into the campus as an amenity for local residents. Any developer would enter into a 20-year master lease with AFRH; per-parcel leases will be 99 years for for-sale residential and 60 years for all other uses.

The campus is unzoned and the DC Comprehensive Plan recognizes it as federal land that will undergo a federal government-led approval process. The National Capital Planning Commission (which approved a master plan for the campus in 2008 and amended that plan earlier this year), the Commission of Fine Arts and the DC State Historic Preservation Officer will also have purview.

The 272-acre campus was constructed in 1851 as the nation's first veteran's retirement home and part of the site still function as such. The site is across the street from an on-and-off potential development site and is on the other side of the Washington Hospital Center from the McMillan Sand Filtration and Reservoir site.

RFP responses are due September 28th; the selected developer (or no developer) will be announced in March 2019.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/15-acres-of-residences-and-a-heating-plant-the-vision-for-the-armed-forces/14027

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