Housing Complex

Ward 5 Walmart Gets Marginally Less Horrible

 

The corner of New York and Montana is now slightly more interesting.

The Walmart-centric development planned for the triangle of land between New York Avenue, Montana, and Bladensburg–newly christened "The Point at Arboretum"–is not the best of the four planned D.C. stores, due in large part to the fact that fully half the land is taken up by parking lots totaling 1,339 spaces, including a three-level garage that will take up the majority of the Montana Avenue frontage. It's no wonder that Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning had "issues" with the large tract review application as originally submitted.

The plan still looks basically the same. But it does look like Tregoning might have been able to negotiate a few improvements around the edges.

For example, the public spaces got a little nicer. The glass on the restaurant building at the New York/Montana intersection has been wrapped around the corner, and the buildings pulled up closer to the street, with more greenery as a buffer with the sidewalk. On the top level of the parking garage, they've added a "sky park" with tables and chairs that will look out on the Walmart entrance rotunda. The smaller surface-level western parking lot got a pedestrian promenade, and developer WV Urban says they might be willing to host a farmers market there on the weekend.

It also got more accessible for people who aren't driving cars. They're designing a fancy Bikeshare station, and are also proposing to pay for the addition of bike lanes along New York Avenue themselves.

Finally, they're allowing for the eventual addition of more density on the surface parking lots and low buildings along New York Avenue–most likely office rather than residential, which is too bad, considering that the best way to mitigate traffic issues is to have people walk from their homes to do their shopping.

The sky park: Could be a nice thing.

Sure, you might still call it lipstick on an urban design pig (especially compared to what was planned for the site before). But given that it's not fundamentally changing, it makes sense to get as many public space amenities as possible.

Here's the whole thing.

  • er

    lydia, you've really made your column ( and thereby city paper) one of the best resources for development in dc. they should give you a raise.

  • Rick Mangus

    Bring it on!

  • Watchthemoney

    The Ward-5 community wants to know why Councilmember Harry Thomas has let a strip club open in our community?? CM Thomas wants the Walmart Developer to hire strip owner Keith Forney of Forney Enterprises Inc to be the contractor for the Ward 5 Walmart. Keith Forney has been a front company for Manhattan Construction of Virginia . The Walmart company should use a Keith Forney of Forney Enterprises because he promotes prostitution , drugs , alcohol beverages, lap dancing , and everything else that comes with strp clubs.

    Walmart the Ward -5 group plan to call on activist and churches to plan a protest if Forney Enterprises is chosen to be a contractor on this family store!!! CM Thomas can get his kickbacks from some of Keith Forney other front jobs.

  • Watchthemoney

    Correction

    Councilmember Harry Thomas can get his kickback monies from some of Keith Forney other projects.

  • gailrsikes

    Nice Article. I just now got Coupons of my Favorite Brands at "Printapons" search online and start saving now

  • T

    This looks great... a huge improvement from the original version. Of course it's not perfect, it's great that there are multiple other retail spots in this.

    Even if this site doesn't get residential, there are certainly many others nearby across NY Ave and Montana, and along Bladensburg which could add housing.

  • Drez

    Isn't the whole point of wallmart that they're a one stop to buy everything cheap cheaply?
    What sort of retail could succeed in the shadow of that?

  • T

    @Drez

    Walmart has a little bit of everything, but certainly not a large selection of anything in particular. There will certainly be a niche for other restaurants and retailers (especially clothing). Their merchandise isn't that different from Target, which does just fine in the mall setting at Columbia Heights, and the (future) Georgetown location.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    if we're going to get a walmart (damn near inevitable), build to the highest and best urbanist principles possible, that's all i ask.

    is that so hard? shouldn't be, if you're starting from what will be essentially a blank slate.

  • Drez

    T:
    I'm at Target nearly every weekend.
    They pretty much carry 70% of my non-grocery needs.
    Wallmart will be much bigger.

  • Drez

    And the other 30% are super-speciality hardware or lawncare or clothing items. Boutique shopping, really.
    I haven't seen many stores make a living off selling just that sort of stuff. Usually it's a sideline borne of passion.
    IMO dc needs (shoulda woulda coulda!) Formula Business Zoning.

  • http://greatergreaterwashington.org/joey/ Joey

    I don't get it. Given Walmart's better plans for other stores in the area, and given the previously approved PUD here, are they consciously TRYING to ruin this area by forcing as auto-oriented a concept as possible?

    Otherwise, why would all the retail be turned away from the street, and why would there be so many 15-foot blank walls along the outer sidewalk? The renderings show people sitting at benches along the street staring at a blank wall. Really?

    They're doing everything they can to make this area feel as close to an exurb as possible.

  • Lydia DePillis

    @er - Thanks :)

  • Bob See

    @Joey: Have you seen just how unwalkable NY Ave. is? One token "urban" development isn't going to change that, no matter how nice the drawings appeal to distant critics' dogma. Have you even been to this area? I have, when I went there to survey the former Brink's center (across Montana Ave.) for the building owner. Armed guards accompanied me as I walked by huge stacks of money. I mean come on.

  • Bob See

    btw, unless someone shows otherwise, Walmart isn't designing these projects, the developer's architects are.

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