Housing Complex

City Short-Lists Five Teams for Walter Reed Development

If you were trying to set up a Tale of Two Cities narrative in Vince Gray's "One-City" District, you could do worse than Hill East and Walter Reed.

At Hill East, it's been the worst of times. After several abortive efforts to develop the 67-acre site on the Anacostia River, the city received only one response to its latest request for developers there. Amid questionable demand, scaled-back ambitions, whittled-down incentives, and mixed signals, the future of the site is murky.

Compare that to another 67-acre site, the portion of the former Walter Reed army medical complex that's slated for D.C. development. Last month, the city announced that nine developers had responded to the request for qualifications for Walter Reed. And now the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development sends word that it's short-listed five of those teams and invited them to respond to the request for proposals that will be issued within the month.

The five selected teams are:

  • Forest City Washington
  • Hines • Urban Atlantic Joint Venture
  • Roadside Development
  • Walter Reed Associates, LLC (The Wilkes Company, Capstone Development LLC, and Quadrangle Development Corporation)
  • Western Development

These are heavy-hitters in D.C. development: Hines is completing the huge CityCenterDC project downtown, for instance, while Roadside is working on the CityMarket at O in Shaw.

So why's Walter Reed thriving while Hill East is struggling? Part of the answer is that the former medical facilities at Walter Reed have shut down, while Hill East is still full of active social services that need to be relocated. But part of it is the city's commitment to developing Walter Reed that seems to be lacking at Hill East—officials constantly trumpet Walter Reed while Hill East seems like an afterthought. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Walter Reed is in Ward 4, where the councilmember is a formidable mayoral candidate and chairs the Committee on Economic Development. Hill East, meanwhile, is awkwardly situated in Ward 7, the residents of which are nearly all on the other side of the Anacostia, while most of its immediate neighbors are in Ward 6, which has already seen its share of big development projects and whose councilmember is seen to have less influence among his colleagues.

Whatever the reason, Ward 4 residents should get ready for some cranes on the horizon. They're on their way.

  • tntdc

    Area developers won't take a chance in Anacostia while Walter Reed's a sure bet. DC would have to put up considerable perks and subsidies to even have a chance at getting developers interested in Hill East and even then probably wouldn't overcome what is ingrained racism in the local developer pack.

  • Typical DC BS

    Sorry tntdc. It's not racism - it's MONEY. There's no money to be made in Anacostia (yet). It's just a matter of time.

  • Read Scott Martin

    Hill East is not in Anacostia and abuts a smoking hot residential real estate market on the eastern side of Capitol Hill. Lack of money-making potential and location are not the chief problems. Plenty have argued convincingly that the problem is in the mayor's office.

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  • Adam

    The problem with Hill East is not lack of money making potential, it's that the city has solicited and received proposals multiple times, only to turn around and cancel the solicitation. The city officials like Gray continue to make noises that they want the Redskins there. Those signals are naturally going to scare off developers from sinking money into submitting bids.

  • Alan

    I don't understand how developers are racist? They follow the money, it's as simple as that. The fact is there just isn't nearly as much money in Anacostia. If anyone is at fault it would be the DC government and local CM.

  • Alan

    Also, based on the maps I can find it looks like this is actually fully in Ward 6? http://www.neighborhoodinfodc.org/maps.html

  • trulee_pist

    Res. 13 used to be in W6, it was redistricted to W7.
    The problem with Res. 13 is not that it's in Anacostia (it's not), or that developers are racists (they don't care about any color but the color of money).
    The problem is that overgrown fan boys Jack Evans and Vincent Gray want to keep the space available in case the Redskins want the option to move their operations to Res.13 (next door to RFK) sometime around 2025. Sheesh.

  • T

    What this article is missing is that DoD REQUIRES that DC plan and have a process for redeveloping Walter Reed. BRAC is not just closure, but it is redevelopment too. DC is receiving federal resources from DoD to proceed with the planning for redevelopment. There is a very systematic approach for Walter Reed and the Army is very involved. It is a lot easier to plan for this redevelopment when DoD is giving you a grant and funding DC staff.

    Comparing these 2 redevelopments is not really fair as they are so different.