Housing Complex

District Moving Forward–Again–With Bite-Sized Piece of Hill East

First, everything was happening on Reservation 13, the 67-acre piece of land located just south of RFK Stadium on the Anacostia River. Then very little was happening. Finally, nothing: Mayor Vince Gray seemed to have decided as recently as March that the project was a lost cause in this development cycle, unless a Redskins training facility fell out of the sky onto the site.

Now, Gray has decided to move forward with the two most shovel-ready "pads," closest to the surrounding homes and the Stadium-Armory Metro stop. They're hoping that a first phase will catalyze development of the rest of it, and also help finance the $100 million in infrastructure other pieces (right now, there's no funding or plan to move the mega-homeless shelter and other social services currently located there). To do so, they're scrapping the last two developers' offers entirely, and issuing a new request for expressions of interest in the fall.

That means another two or three years at least before ground gets broken, and naturally, folks who've been involved in the process for more than a decade are loath to see their work simply trashed. But Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins told Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B tonight that sticking with the current developers would leave the District wide open for lawsuits from teams that weren't picked, potentially causing yet another delay—so tough cookies.

"I know you don't like the answer, but I'm not here for what you like," Hoskins said. "I'm here to get the job done."

Still, the agency promised to abide by the nine-year-old master plan, which calls for residential and retail on the parcels in question. As for the whole Redskins idea: Sounds like we can forget about it. For now at least.

"There is no facility on the table. That was all discussions," Hoskins insisted. "I think people exaggerate the situation, and that exaggeration leads to these speculations. And so, honestly, no, it's not on the table. It was never on the table. That's what I'm saying."

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  • rg

    Yay! I can't wait to have something next to my Metro Station other than surface parking for DC Government employees. Plus: no more free parking for DC Government employees from the suburbs who treat Potomac Avenue and 19th Street like freeways and are a menace to neighborhood residents walking to the Metro. (Just this morning, I nearly got run over by a DC Government employee in a car with Virginia tags who was too busy talking on his cell phone to notice a pedestrian in the crosswalk.)

  • Ward1

    Starting over - again - is no "yay!" in my book. The logic for restarting is weak at best. The District modifies projects ALL THE TIME without restarting. Another delay for the community. Yay!
    When is the RFP supposed to come out?

  • rg

    Ward1, sarcarsm aside, I agree with you. But at this point, I am happy that there is some progress being made. Put yourself in my shoes -- you don't have to walk past this dump every day.

  • Panadc

    I'm glad that they will start over. I am hoping that some rich country bids to create a utopia-like residential, retail, outdoor recreational space, that you can't find anywhere else in the metro area. What does that look like? I don't know. But at least the floor is now open to new ideas.

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