Towers and Fountains: Detailed Renderings of McMillan’s Planned Park

by Shilpi Paul


Last Thursday, Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) presented their latest plans to redevelop the McMillan Sand Filtration site to the Historic Preservation Review Board. The images were nothing short of wowing, so we asked VMP to let us share them with readers.


The most notable change in the newest plan is the park. Before, a central 3.4 acre park was joined by several other smaller green spaces distributed throughout the site; in the new plans, a 6.2 acre park sits at the southern edge, rather than in the center.

At the meeting, VMP stressed the extent to which the new design highlights the sand towers. One tower is being used as the entrance to the park, and several are front and center in the park itself. The underground cells of the site will also be a part of the design.

Renderings courtesy of Interface Multimedia.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/towers_and_fountains_detailed_renderings_of_mcmillans_planned_park/6898


  1. LittleContessa said at 11:43 am on Monday April 8, 2013:

    Thanks for the updates re: McMillan! It can be so frustrating to try and find information about this from DC government websites. Any idea when the scheduled dates for breaking ground and completion would be?

  1. S said at 2:38 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:

    Where is this? I can’t figure out where exactly this planned.

  1. Shilpi Paul said at 2:42 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:


    Thanks! We’ve reached out to Vision McMillan Partners for a timeline.


    The park will be located on the southern end of the McMillan Sand Filtration site, between 1st Street NW and North Capitol, just north of Channing Street NW.


  1. Miguel said at 2:50 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:

    I prefer the proposal that was submitted by Collage City Studio. After reading the first post on McMillan Park in UrbanTurf and that I’m new in the area (living in Petworth 10 months) I read about McMillan Park, the design of it and how important was for the community before it was closed during WWII. Initially I was happy with the VMP proposal but after reading and a little of research I found that we should keep McMillan as a park for the community and I think that CCS proposal gives more to the community.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zm40lbrzcg7h7n4/hprb presentation.pdf

  1. Billy said at 4:54 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:

    As a Bloomingdale resident that lives just 3 blocks from the park, I gotta say I was a little disppointed with VMP’s proposal. Like Miguel, I found Collage City Studio’s proposal (found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/134247198/Collage-City-Studio-McMillan-HPRB-Presentation-2013-04-05) to do a much better job emphasizing park and green space. It appears that McMillan will be on the HPRB agenda at the end of April. My hope is more emphasis will be placed on keeping as much of the park green as possible. I understand special interests will push towards development and some could certainly help the neighborhood, but this could be a homerun if done right but right now I don’t think the VMP proposal meets the mark.

  1. greendub said at 5:37 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:

    Way too much concrete. Not enough greenery.

  1. JohnDC said at 9:29 pm on Monday April 8, 2013:

    Honestly I rather compromise and agree on the current plan than wait another 10 years with it just sitting there fenced off. I’m fine with it moving forward as is.

  1. Daniel Goldon Wolkoff said at 5:40 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    This is the link to the McMillan nomination to National Park Service,  National Register of Historic Places.
    (http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/13000022.htm )

      Ironically this excellent nomination was written by our Office of Historic Preservation. It is an excellent description of exactly what is being lost by this super over-development plan by VMP.
      Before any community input to the HPRB, deciding to approve or reject VMP’s Master Plan,the HPO staff report recommended that “regrettably, the developers tell us McMillan is too deteriorated to restore”,,sure,oh sure!, give me a break. Really? But there own beautifully written nomination tells us how intact the place is, and describes a treasure, WE OWN and waiting right behind that cyclone fence to become
    a “Great Place”, to be a major destination and enjoyed again for everyone.You can see what was once wonderful for the city and nation at McMillan. The nomination has been approved. We have a clean water utility, historic park landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. A clean water utility only the insane would eliminate, and not preserve to assure our safe drinking water security in the face of any problem at Dalecarlia.
      HPO, by law, The DC Historic Preservation Act, is responsible for McMillan’s preservation, so where has this agency been for 27 years, and by what distortion of their responsibilities do they help pave it over and make the historic fabric into architectural oddities in a mixed-use mall. So out of context with 50 buildings, streets, condos, townhouses, a “grocery store”,,,medical offices and a even a 6 million gallon SEWER!
      The remaining so called “open space”  no longer representing anything like the Olmsted Park we are losing. Our park, our land, our millions of dollars wasted by the pathetic performance of every DC mayor and city council since 1986. Imagine Central Park in NY fenced off, allowed to be overgrown with weeds and all visitors blocked from access for 27 years, right in the face of a severely under served community.!
    We need to form The McMillan Park Conservancy, to guide the magnificent restoration, the plantings, sun-lighting the stream, family and nature activities so desperately lacking in the area. We need urban agriculture, art, music festivals, films, dance,  and anything else the community chooses for their park.The community, never given a single forum to openly discuss and present ALL options, can pick only the right things, compatible and democratically decided. Professor Gusevich concept for an underground Urban Market and Bazaar might be one of the carefully selected re-use of existing galleries and structures.
        You don’t reward miserable government failure like this by giving our park to VMP, and the 10 high flutin’ design, architecture and planning companies lined up at the money trough.
    If we need to take away parks, for mega development,, get the Feds to cede a section of Rock Creek Park to the city, and try to build this monstrosity there!lololo, good luck!. When a section of the city, like ours has been shown contempt for decades and parks planned at the turn of the 20th century, are never realized, wasted like this,, WISE UP!
    see this nomination and IMAGINE!!

  1. Dcres said at 9:15 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Wow, I live on the hill and thought my NIMBY neighbors were nuts. Only in DC would an outdated water plant be considered an historical “community asset. ” So is the sewage plant at Blue Plains - when will the preservation nutjobs start clamoring to preserve the historic sludge ponds? Whatever ends up happening at McMillan (probably nothing), the neighborhood deserves it. Enjoy your vacant lot!

  1. Bill said at 9:25 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    I think the idea that the facility is “intact” is a term of art that has no relation to the condition of the structure and supporting superstructures underground.

    Yes, it would be nice to have an open park, but that isn’t what we have today, nor is it feasible to protect the entirety of the area as one in the future.  I would rather have what is proposed than a fenced area for another generation.  There needs to be a little bit of a reality check here.

  1. Wert said at 9:37 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Yeah, it’s just crazy to want a park.

  1. george said at 9:41 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Nice but too modern/boring. I don’t think the architects understand the truly steampunk historical appeal of the site.

  1. mona said at 10:21 am on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    I live 2 blocks from the McMillian site in Bloomingdale. For all the people trying to delay any development on this site with the claim that they want more green space. Why don’t you people live in places like Purciville,Va? You can OD on green space out there. This is a CITY! Where people live in close quarters and space is utilized as best as possible. You can’t not restore this place to what it looked like in 1813. There is a lot of cheap green space in West Virginia and out in places like Cumberland,MD. Why try and push your notions on the people who have committed to living in a CITY not the BURBS. Some of the people trying to delay this need to seriously have some self reflection and consider moving out of this city because it doesn’t seem to suit you.

  1. layla said at 12:12 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    “Wow, I live on the hill and thought my NIMBY neighbors were nuts. Only in DC would an outdated water plant be considered an historical “community asset.”


    Also, D.C. HAS a central park - Rock Creek! Not to mention a host of other large public green spaces (Glover-Archibad, the Arboretum, and - oh yeah, the freakin’ National Mall).

    This is a city! If you don’t like living in a city, you’re in luck! This isn’t New York, and D.C. has many beautiful suburbs!

  1. Keenta said at 1:48 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    Cities need park space.  That is why this space has always been set aside and developers have not been allowed to build on it.

    But, the corrupt powers that be pre-selected the rich developer from Bethesda, the gymnast and the former DC gov’t employees, bribed Harry Thomas Jr and are now taking millions in taxpayer money to build another Shirlington. 

    In the most extreme form of corruption, the City suddenly prohibited the McMillan Park Committee from showing the views and details of the property citing “safety concerns”.

    Now, the race is on to hand all decision-making over to EYA, who will continue doing everything they can to ignore the neighborhood, take this taxpayer-owned property and maximum square footage totals for their personal benefit.

  1. Johnny Bynum said at 2:39 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    McMillian is off North Capitol Street near Childrens Hospital on Mich ave.  The plans look great.  When does ground breaking come into play? This is a long time coming.

  1. b'dale said at 3:20 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    if you want a park, you’re in luck! this could be a great park and you don’t have to move to another place!

    i can’t believe people are actually complaining about parks.  freaking absurd.

  1. Shilpi Paul said at 4:45 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    For those asking about timeline:

    The VMP tells us that they hope to be under construction by 2014, and to deliver the first units and the park in 2016 and the grocery in 2017.


  1. NPS said at 7:56 pm on Tuesday April 9, 2013:

    I love the design. It is all about compromise! I have read each person’s praise, as well as complaint, so let me say this. As a lover of history and architecture, I understand the significance and benefits of preservation and cultural integrity. As a DC realtor for almost a decade, I appreciate the tremendous value redevelopment has brought to just about every corner of our beloved city. I feel that DC has done a fantastic job in its balance of redevelopment with historic preservation. Countless times new development, just like any progressive movement in life, is greeted with unrealistic push back from a few (and some times many) only to find those most opposed in the beginning to be the staunchest supporters at the end. No matter the chosen plan, this project will bring to life and bridge several neighborhoods together, adding value to all surrounding homes and improving residents’ overall quality of life. It will brighten dark corners, create foot traffic, and serve as an anchor for shops, jobs, businesses, and art. None of which we is there now.

  1. Claudia said at 10:30 am on Wednesday April 10, 2013:

    I completely agree with Mona! All the push back we are getting from people that so-called want green space is only delaying us getting some convenient shopping nearby. Not to mention that the reservoir adds nothing esthetically to the neighborhood in its current desolate state.

Comments are closed.

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