Not Encouraged by the McMillan Reservoir Blog

Photo from PoPville flickr user hipchickindc

I had been wondering what the status of the McMillan Reservoir development was. The McMillian Reservoir blog has 2 posts and doesn’t provide a lot of hope for any progress soon.

Wikipedia says, “The 25 acre (100,000 m²) McMillan Reservoir, located between Michigan Avenue, North Capitol Street, and First Street in Northwest Washington, D.C., was designated a DC Historic Landmark in 1991.”

In Feb. 2009 the WBJ wrote:

“The recession appears to have slowed the project considerably, and construction is likely years away.

Because of McMillan’s former use, a lot of work has be done before the fenced-off land can be used for anything. Underneath is a catacomb of tunnels that were used to clean drinking water from the reservoir. The tunnels connect to roughly 2,100 manhole covers and the grassy surface.

The developers estimate demolition, grading, engineering, utilities, roads, planning and other preparation work will cost more than $50 million, which is forcing the team is to get as much revenue-producing development as possible on the site.”

Any guesses to when work may begin? I’ll set the over under at 2015.

16 Comment

  • The site being developed is actually the McMillan sand filtration plant; the reservoir is still operational and still run by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    As you might know, there’s quite a bit of community opposition to the cookie-cutter plans put forward by EYA. Whether they can even raise the financing to do anything right now is questionable.

  • Why not just make it a park? Close up holes, make it safe, rip a few of those concrete things down and put up slides and a jungle gym. Maybe a tennis court. Done. Park. I’ll do it for $2 million.


    Also, I didn’t know reservoirs had blogs. I know a couple poulders and a dam that have blogs, but a reservoir? Unheard of.

    • They’ve gone back and forth on this for years, they can’t apparently just ‘close up the holes’ as there are too many of them, and overall access to the catacombs is the problem. In some areas the ground has collapsed, or is about to collapse, into the tunnels. Basically the whole place is a liability nightmare.

      I climbed the fence about eight years back and had an awesome time wandering about in there. Saw nothing but garbage and weeds and some old timey stuff. It was peaceful…

      • That’s where Poon Construction Corp comes in. We’ll just pump those holes full of concrete, golf balls, and a slurry of WHC waste and we’re done. Boom. $2 million.

        When your precious bureaucracy does “studies” and worries about “liability,” Poon takes action.

  • whiny NIMBYs will keep this from happening anytime in the next decade, unfortunately. Because if there’s anything the neighborhood needs, it’s an overgrown fenced in field, not numerous additional tax-paying residents and other amenities.

  • The city could have made it into a park. They acquired the land from the ACOE who would have given it to them for nothing if they’d kept it as parkland, but instead the city chose to pay $9 million instead, evidently eying the money they could make selling it on to developers.

    EYA’s plans seem to involve allocating about an acre or two to public access, and filling the rest with condos and office buildings. There have been other proposals, some saner than others, that are more mixed use and sympathetic to the existing site, but they don’t come with Harry Thomas attached.

  • Traffic up 1st Street is already bad. Add in hundreds of new condos and it will really become unbearable. The area is not located near a metro or Circulator bus.

    I’d prefer to leave the site as is. Bloomingdale can’t even attract retail businesses to its existing “core” at 1st and Rhode Island – why do we need to build dozens more structures?

    • saf

      It is on several metrobus lines.

    • because those structures would contain residents who would have money to go shopping and pay taxes.

      First street is really not very crowded. Neither is North Cap. Certainly not compared to many other areas of the city.

  • it’s bloomingdale. the fight against change continues… 🙂

  • The aerial photos of the area in Google Maps are fascinating.

  • I live in Bloomingdale.. i’m all about development but putting 200 units of section 8 housing will do some severe harm to the neighborhood. We’re working to demolish the existing, crime ridden areas (along V St.) Already the amount of trash and crime is unacceptable, section 8 housing will only add to the criminal element that we’ve worked so hard to eradicate. Build a small classy development with some retail, residential and even Howard student residences and no section 8.

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