More Cohesive: HPRB Weighs in on McMillan Buildings

by Shilpi Paul

More Cohesive: HPRB Weighs in on McMillan Buildings: Figure 1
Courtesy of Vision McMillan

On Thursday, the developers behind the McMillan Sand Filtration redevelopment went before the Historic Preservation Review Board to seek approval on the buildings that make up the proposal.

Though the park space has been a big topic of discussion when it comes to the redevelopment, this meeting focused on the buildings, which fall into four categories: the recreation center, the townhouses, a mixed-use apartment and grocery complex, and the medical office buildings.

Each category has been designed by a different group, which perhaps led to the biggest point of critique from the Board: the buildings do not feel cohesive. “The buildings are disjointed,” said Board member Graham Davidson.

The staff from the Historic Preservation Office echoed this sentiment, stating that the desired level of cohesion and unity has not yet been reached. “It’s a very tricky problem, but I don’t think it’s an insurmountable challenge,” said Steve Callcott of the HPO. “I think they’ve made good progress, but I think there’s another round to go,” meaning that the designers should take one more stab at re-designing the buildings and come back at a future HPRB hearing, perhaps in September.

More Cohesive: HPRB Weighs in on McMillan Buildings: Figure 2
The mixed-use building.

The Board suggested prioritizing the design of the Olmstead walk, which would exist on the perimeter of the entire site, as a unifying characteristic. They also suggested getting all four designers “in a room together” to come up with a more cohesive plan. By and large, the park, which would be located at the southern end of the property, received positive feedback from the Board.

Though they heard the presentations from the team and testimony of residents and other concerned citizens, the Board wasn’t able to provide the entirety of their comments about the development at this meeting, and will conclude their remarks to Vision McMillan Partners on July 11th.

More Cohesive: HPRB Weighs in on McMillan Buildings: Figure 3
Park on the southern end.

More Cohesive: HPRB Weighs in on McMillan Buildings: Figure 4
Pond near the rec center.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/another_redesign_for_the_mcmillan_sand_filtration_site/7260

1 Comment

  1. Daniel Goldon Wolkoff said at 7:39 am on Saturday June 29, 2013:
    Urban Turf reports today that Mt. Pleasant is stable and historically protected and has skyrocketing housing values because it is adjacent to Rock Creek Park. If McMillan is developed the neighborhood will be subject to speculation by real estate interests who force values down , in order to buy up sections and the development onslaught rolls ahead. Your blocks may be next. Protect McMillan Park, your homes will increase in value, as any desirable parkside location does, like Mt. Pleasant, Cleveland Park, etc. Urban Turf June 27 A home in Mount Pleasant In the current housing market, almost every neighborhood in DC has homes that garner multiple offers and sell for above their asking price. But Mount Pleasant is in a class of its own. Urban Turf is not prone to hyperbole, but the neighborhood adjacent to Rock Creek Park bordering Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights is the most competitive neighborhood housing market in the city right now. First, the data. In 2013, homes on the market in Mount Pleasant have averaged just six days on the market, the lowest level for any neighborhood in DC. The average sale to list price ratio stands at 107% for the year, and last month, it was 110%. This means that more often than not, homes fetch 10% above their list price. While the average list price in June was approximately $899,000, the average sale price was $80,000 higher ($980,163). The entire area from McMillan to Catholic University, , Harewood Rd, The AFRH, St. Pauls, 901 Monroe, Brookland Metro, Jemlal's project, are 3000 units on top of devastating flooding in Bloomingdale. Who has the analysis of excatly how this much paving, thousands of appliances, kitchen sinks, toilets and washing machines, added to the existing storm water and sewer system will be secure from the flooding in the Bloomingdale area. If it is true that the parking lots at WHC alone produce more runoff than the massive retention system can hold, then how does this work? We have had areas of Brookland paved and added to the storm water runoff problem, as well as over 100 mature trees removed just at CUA. I would like to see the objective analysis of how this problem is not made much worse. That is why with such massive over urbanization, leaving McMillan as an oasis of green, and storm water retention is essential to the quality of life for our families and especially the children. I don't think we can even expect a city govt., who's stewardship both of McMillan and the sewer and water system, has been so miserable for so many decades, to have an appropriate perception, as seen in this 27 year failure. The investment made in the VMP plan, since it was never open to any other option, handed whole hog to the community as a fait-accompli, should be wasted, and people who were arrogant and presumptive, should fail, and pay the costs. But the real solution to the flooding is the re-engineering of the WHC parking lots runoff. So why doesn't VMP put it's numerous design firms on the job, with their new medical office buildings and work on the WHC to solve the storm water runoff catastrophe.. Kick VMP off McMillan, see the HPRB to see how awful their stuff is. Historic District is a very smart thing for a neighborhood as can be seen in Mt. Pleasant. Brookland had the initial stage of an application for Historic District 11 years ago. Opposition was strong, and many still cannot comprehend why. But as time advances and our neighborhood is over run with development, wiping out the character, historic interset and greenspace, with virtually no protections, one must ask what has this rejection of Historic District accomplished?

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