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McMillan Redevelopment Salon Addresses Concerns of Area Residents

by Shilpi Paul

On Wednesday evening, Jair Lynch, EYA’s Aakash Thakar and Adam Weers from Trammell Crow, representing the team behind the redevelopment of the McMillan Reservoir, met with a small group of residents at Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale to chat about the massive project planned for northwest of Howard University. While the topic of the salon was the development’s fiscal impact report, the conversation quickly moved to the project as a whole.

The crowd was critical at times, but the intimate size of the gathering — about a dozen people showed up — ensured that things stayed civil and conversational.

Questions from the audience covered a number of subject areas, ranging from transportation impact to financing to worries about the projected revenues (concerns about the corruption within the DC government were even raised). In response to concerns about traffic, developers pointed out a new road that would cut through the space. One attendee worried about the job creation claims; the developers hope that the new office space will result in 3,200 new jobs. Weers explained that Trammell Crow has been communicating with Washington Hospital Center, who has expressed a need for more space.

Hopefully, he said, the offices will have one large anchor tenant surrounded by smaller research, educational and biotech tenants. As for retail, developers are hoping for a grocer, a pharmacy and five to 10 smaller outfits such as cafes and restaurants. “We were very deliberate in coming here [to Big Bear] and supporting local businesses,” said Lynch.

McMillan Redevelopment Salon Addresses Concerns of Area Residents: Figure 1
Courtesy of Envision McMillan

Along with addressing neighborhood concerns, Lynch explained the reasoning behind various aspects of the master plan. For example, the townhouses planned for the south end, which will be built by EYA, are being designed to blend in with the surrounding row houses and the healthcare office buildings towards the north, to be built by Trammel Crow, are across the street from the Washington Hospital Center. In response to community input, planners set aside open space and are preserving the majority of the silos and at least one underground cell. There will be one four-acre park bordered by the silos and a total of eight acres of public open space.

The residential component would include townhomes, condos and apartments, both affordable and market-rate. There will be 100 senior affordable units reserved for residents over 62 making less than $45,000 a year, and 700 “workforce” units reserved for those making 80 to 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Lynch hopes to move through the Historic Preservation Review process over the next few months and the PUD process, which will deal with things like zoning, traffic, and architecture, through the rest of the year. If permitting and engineering checks take about another year, the groundbreaking may occur in late 2013/early 2014.

See other articles related to: trammel crow, mcmillan reservoir, jair lynch, eya, bloomingdale

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/mcmillan_redevelopment_salon_reveals_concerns_of_area_residents/5523

2 Comments

  1. PleasantPlainer said at 5:55 pm on Thursday May 10, 2012:
    I wasn't able to make it, but I've been at prior meetings and a design charrette and have been following this important development affecting multiple neighborhoods. From a fiscal impact perspective, I'm not sure how a grocery store will work on the site without cannibalizing others close by (and planned - including Howard Town Center). Don't get me wrong - I would love one as it would be in walking distance, but not if it's not viable and there's a chance of it becoming a vacant building and jeopardizing other retail there. Urban Turf could have done a better job reporting on this - for example, no mention that this is a designated Historic Landmark, or that it is city property and that city funds ($60 million, I think?) will be used to develop it, and no photos of the site as it exists now. Moreover, there is organized opposition to the plan, and community members mobilizing to demand the project is re-bid. You should also have linked to the project website: http://www.envisionmcmillan.com/. U.T. readers who want to know more about the pros/cons, including opposition and historic preservation and infrastructure concerns can go here: http://bloomingdaleneighborhood.blogspot.com/2010/09/mcmillan-sand-filtration-site.html Pleasant Plainers should be aware that this development will increase crosstown W-E/E-W traffic on our already clogged streets (Irving, Harvard, Columbia), at least for the short-mid term, and if the Street Car lines do not come, long term. Why the maps do not have street names, nor any mention of the planned street car lines running past the site are a mystery (yet RI Ave metro appears, which is completely inaccessible to the site!). Note to planners, developers and city: this type of development on planned lines should be used to jump start street car expansion - lots of private investment might be able to leverage federal DOT funds!).
  1. PleasantPlainer said at 5:57 pm on Thursday May 10, 2012:
    ...and, planners, please add Pleasant Plains to the list of "nearby neighborhoods" on the McMillan project website!

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