Future McMillan Development Hoping to Start Construction Summer 2014 – Check Out Some Awesome Renderings

Envision McMillan5
Renderings courtesy of Envision McMillan

Last week a reader asked about the plans for the McMillan Sand Filtration Site. Thanks to the folks at Envision McMillan for sending these awesome renderings of the planned McMillan Development. I’m told if all goes well “We are hoping to get shovels in the ground by summer 2014 and deliver the first buildings in 2016.”

They write on their website:

“Earlier this month, VMP submitted revised plans for McMillan that address the remaining concerns raised by the Historic Preservation Review Board at the June hearing. The Historic Preservation Officer has posted their report on the new designs and it’s pretty fabulous news.

Key highlights include the following direct quotes:

“(T)he latest version of the master plan represents a significant improvement over previous versions and now retains the significant above-grade topographical, architectural and engineering features that were identified by the Board as the most important.”

“The revised master plan would retain significant character-defining features of the landmark sufficient to convey its historic character.”

The report recommends, specifically, that the Board “find the concept designs to represent an architecturally coordinated and cohesive approach that specifically relates to the character of the McMillan site.”

Read the entire report here.

If you would like to come support the project at the hearing, please let me know– email me at mcmsalon(at)gmail.com. We’d love to see you at HPRB, but if you miss that, please be sure to join us at the Open House on November 16th.”


More renderings after the jump.

Envision McMillan2

Envision McMillan3

Envision McMillan4

126 Comment

  • Please please please let this actually move forward!!

  • Oh my lord that park is gorgeous. I do wish they would flesh out renderings of the actual buildings a bit more, though. They sort of look like ghosts right now, which makes me think the developer could do something quite a bit different (read: cheap-looking and generic) and then say “well it looks like the renderings to us!”

    • The park does look nice in these renderings, but the “mixed-use” buildings are atrocious. (I’m not a big fan of the proposed townhomes either, but they’re not particularly egregious.)

  • These are all pictures of the park, which no one opposes. If the plan is so “awesome,” why are they not showing up close and detailed pictures of the rest of it? And have you noticed that three of the medical office buildings are actually transparent!? WTF? And why is this site so blindly advocating for this plan?

    • At this point it could look like a prison cell, if it sold groceries I’d go there with a big smile on my face.

    • POP posted a quote from their website… what about that indicates they are advocating for the plan? And besides that, what makes you think POP is blind? This site seems to be pretty clued in if you ask me. I think they’re probably focusing on the park/public spaces right now b/c that was of great concern to local residents.

    • That is what most people on the site might use since most of us won’t end up living or working there.

    • I think they’re doing a good job of balancing neighborhood concerns (park) with economic sustainability (tax base) and meeting business needs (hospital buildings). It’s a huge site, and there really is room for all three things.

      • Nobody (in their right mind) opposes the things you mentioned – just that the developers are proposing to build incredibly cheap/generic structures as opposed to ones with a modicum of creativity.

        • Because HPRB won’t have it any other way. Read their report

        • Actually, based on flyers I’ve received in Bloomingdale, there’s a group of people that won’t accept anything other than a park that covers the entire site.

          … oh, you said “in their right mind” – carry on.

  • Quite possibly the best rendering I’ve ever seen. I wish them the best of luck in approximating these renderings as closely as possible.

  • I’d like to see more attention given to the park at the corner of First and Channing. Can we get a nice zen garden for the entrance to Bloomingdale? That southwest corner would be most serene part of the site, and it would be great to have a nice area, even if small, to hang out over there. More trees too, please.

  • I am not much for complaining about something before it comes to pass – unlike some.

    So I will just say – WOW. I can’t wait.

    Not to mention house values close by… up, up, and up…

  • the budildings look like teh same ugly things that are going up everywhere these days. the park looks nice, though.

  • Nice! I love that they are using the silos! ( I know they had to keep them, but I really like how they incorporated them.) It’s a little too glassy. I’d love to see more allusions to sand stone. But I also like how they highlighted water to link with the historic use.

  • Yay for Channing street residents! These look great — I am so excited 🙂

  • These renderings look amazing, but they’re just the park. Urban Turf posted the revised plans and the buildings are quite drab. This is a one-of-a-kind space in DC and I’d set the bar higher. DC is finally getting some interesting architecture (e.g. Arena Stage), can’t we do something impressive here?


  • although I agree with the Friends of McMillan (FoM) that we can do better, I think it’s time to move forward and build it. FoM right now is building a coalition with NIMBY’s and I think that why lays madness. Broadly speaking, I think the shortcomings of the proposal are symoblic of the larger failures of our politics. Why can’t the DC government just take down the fence and build a park? Because that’s not the way things are done these days. In order ot get a park, you need to sell the other 3/4 of the land for private development. We can’t have nice things unless we trade public goods to get them. It’s easy to say that this particular deal between the city and the developers was rotten, and perhaps it was, but the problem isn’t this deal- it’s the politicians, electoral institutions, city budgets, etc that produced such lousy deals. Let’s focus on reforming those insitutions and electing better politicians rather than fighting a losing battle over park space.

    • Yes, totally! They’ve got “Save McMillan Park” signs now, and I just keep thinking, save it for what? It’s surrounded by an ugly chain link fence, and it’s not open for public use. At least this way folks get to use the park, AND get a grocery store at a minimum. Yes, some of the buildings are generic and not that “creative,” but overall that ship has sailed – something is going to be built there. Now they need to figure out traffic (hopefully this means they will think about adding more public transportation), and maybe figure out a way to open up a path around the reservoir. I don’t understand why FoM isn’t focusing on these issues instead of “NIMBY/we need to shut this down!”.

      • I know a FoM member. She doesn’t even live anywhere near McMillan! I don’t think they’re NIMBYs, just people that don’t want to see things redeveloped.

        • Most of the most vocal members of that group are not neighboring residents, which is…interesting.

          • If you could provide real practical examples that would be great. Almost all of the truly active members that I know live in the SMDs immediately surrounding the park or at least in the northern sections of SMD 5E.

        • They’re not “friends” and there is no “park.” It’s just a group of people who want to continue the 1950s nightmare of urban residents’ driving everywhere, with free & easy parking, at the expense of humane, civilized community.

          • Their only argument that I can kind of get behind is the opportunity cost of this site. They are right, this site could be something really cool and unique (urban beach, urban farm, whatever they are talking about these days) — but they haven’t gone the extra mile to say why the city should spend gobs of money of this particular site to make it “cool and unique” vs. a perfectly respectable community park and adjoining tax base. And the “because I live near there so it should be cool and unique” argument really isn’t sufficient, not to mention myopic.

          • The person I know thinks it should be turned into a historic site with tours and a museum. But I just don’t see that many tourists (even locals for that matter) being interested enough in the history to visit it. FWIW she is also active in the sustainability/energy conservation community so I don’t think she supports residents driving everywhere.

          • The comment above HAS to be seeded by the VPM folks or the poster is otherwise delusional. I can guarantee you that none of the “Friends” want this to become a driving destination, which is why they’re raising the issue of public transportation to go along with the VPM designs.

          • I guess you can make the ‘friends’ argument but the ‘park’ argument has been debunked for a while now. This WAS in fact a park and plenty of historical evidence (old newspaper clippings, magazines, etc. etc) from back in the early 1900s support the fact that both sections of this site were a park and created for that purpose (in addition to be used by the public for that purpose).

    • I think there is a common misconception that support is coming from people new to the neighborhood (although why that would matter I’m not entirely sure). Get to know your neighbors if you live in Ward 5 or some of the surrounding Ward 1 neighborhoods and ask what they think on the matter. Maybe you could ask the family, who Kenyon refers to fondly as his grandparents, why they’ve put a Save McMillan’ sign in their front yard.

      • Yeah not so sure about this debunking. A long time ago, as your early 1900s articles atest, McMillan WAS a park on top of a water filtration site. It IS and has been an obsolete and decaying fenced in water filtration site since the 1980s. By any definition that I can find McMillan is not currently a park and would take a lot of money to become one. My wife and I, who happen to live in ANC5e09, find the friends group continual calling of McMillan disingenuous and ruins whatever credibility they have. There is no park currently and the development results in a park. That is a win. The fact VMP was awarded the contract without competition, like the Walter Reed process, is definitely something I don’t like. But I believe that ship has sailed. I talk to my neighbors and we all want a park and grocery store, and this project gives us one.

        • Sorry their continual calling of McMillan a park.

        • your so forgiving of DC officials who fenced off this park, and could care less about the health and recreation of this city. The council members who brought you this deal are criminals. They have already wasted twice the millions it cost to restore the park, flushed 10’s of millions down the sewer. Which they are turning the site into, a sewer! We need more parks, trails, woods. Get off your computer chair someday and take a walk, have a picnic, send your kids down with their bikes. What has made you forget what a gracious city is about? Any community in the world would have restored this park, and you’d have enjoyed it all these years. Some kind of distortion of city life is going on here. SAD!

        • Mark, your comment regarding the space is a fair point. My contention is simply that at one point, McMillan (both sides) was intended and used as a park. There has been argument (who started this is unclear) that the filtration side (east of 1st street) was never a park and that the term only referred to the reservoir side (west of 1st street). I was trying to argue that such a statement is NOT true. This argument was being made, in part, to try and distance the filtration side of the park from being included in the discussion as a historic landmark for the city. Hopefully all people realize that both sides are a registered historic landmark which was part of the basis for scrounging up all of the early 1900s articles and interviewing local residents that accessed the park prior to its being fenced off (there are obviously not many left given the age).

          With the site having been fenced off for so long it’s certainly fair to argue that the filtration site is not a park currently (depending on how you define that). Although the same is true of the reservoir side. And anyone who would like to see the VMP master plan be developed as is should absolutely advocate as such. I’d just like to try and clear the air on what is and is not true about this site, the plans, and the process that is being followed at the moment.

  • Hey hey – are those ladies wearing 2-piece bikinis at a public pool? Well THAT’s not realistic now, is it? 😉

  • The tall brunette on the left in the pool picture looks fantastic. Oh yea, the park isn’t too shabby either.

    • Did these renderings just out to anyone else as COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC??

      There is NO WAY the blond on the right of the pool rendering would be allowed to wear such “street clothes” at a DC public pool…

    • love how all the people in these renderings are super attractive and hollywood-esque.

  • The lady with her back to the “camera” in the rendering has no top on. I know some POPville readers have had trouble getting into the DC pools in the past, will this be allowed?

  • This is so awesome and I hope it comes to pass w/o 10+ years of whining, delaying tactics, etc. Now if we could only get the Corps of Engineers to open up that path around the reservoir to the public we’d have a really special place for light outdoor activities.

    • +1000 – open up the reservoir!!! they do it in Europe (do they do it in other parts of the US?) Why not here? It’s not like that chain link fence is providing tremendous security for the reservoir, if that’s the concern…

      • the concern is drowning. reservoirs are very dangerous because of the water currents created by the drain.

        • Interesting about the drowning danger. Then keep a fence but move it closer to the water, leaving a nice walking/jogging path around the reservoir. This seems to work fine at other reservoirs, e.g. Fresh Pond in Cambridge MA.

        • The concern isn’t about water hazard safety, really, it’s about security. This is the drinking water for a big part of the city. But they could be doing a lot more to create access on the edge of the reservoir site where there is a lot of open space (but, in fairness, also a lot of active infrastructure that feeds into the security consideration)

          • no, it’s about water hazard safety.

          • if it’s about water security, i would hope they would do more than a chain link fence fairly near the edge that someone could easily toss something over!! that makes me think the hazard issue might be more at play? but how is this handled in other reservoirs, like Fresh Pond, as mentioned above? there are lots of reservoirs that are open to use – what do they do about the hazard issue?

  • I hope transportation issues will be responsibly assessed. This is like have the City Center development in an area that has no public transportation beyond buses. Maybe the city can revisit the Street Car map to have it pass this development.

    I know Council Member McD is anxious to get this project started.

    • What are you talking about? There are FOUR different metro stations within 5 blocks of CityCenter. People’s concept of “convenience” is so wacko sometimes

    • It’s much smaller than City Center …

      But traffic concerns are the biggest tangible issue here. The FoM should really focus on that as opposed to the hand-wringing over aesthetics and history. The rabid NIMBY voices are drowning out any reasonable discussion over the future of this site. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic and distance yourself from the more extreme rhetoric in order to be taken seriously. Something WILL be built on this land; that ship has sailed. Unless you have a time machine to go back before the DC sold the development rights there is no winning that battle. VMP would sue (and win!) if the city tried to back out now.

      • It should probably be clarified that DC has NOT sold development rights to anything. That is a completely inaccurate statement. The simply awarded an RFP but the actual land rights are still with the District. The city is in the process of trying to declare this land as surplus (meaning it has no public use) in order to then clear it for demolition rights and ultimately then sell the land to VMP. This is part of why the plan continues going before the HPRB.

    • I say look at is an opportunity to get better service to the area. I’ve heard the N Capital Route is terrible. Maybe they need a route that goes along Columbia Rd to CH Metro and then south towards NOMA station or just straight toward Metro Center.

  • This is what I am saying:

    “I hope transportation issues will be responsibly assessed. This is like have the City Center development in an area that has no public transportation beyond buses. Maybe the city can revisit the Street Car map to have it pass this development.”

    • Copy-pasting exactly what you said before is not helpful here.
      If I’m interpreting correctly, what you meant was:
      “I hope transportation issues will be responsibly assessed. This is AS THOUGH WE HAD the City Center development in an area that has no public transportation beyond buses. Maybe the city can revisit the Street Car map to have it pass this development.”
      Another rephrasing:
      “I hope transportation issues will be responsibly assessed. This is PUTTING A CITY CENTER-LIKE DEVELOPMENT in an area that has no public transportation beyond buses. Maybe the city can revisit the Street Car map to have it pass this development.”

  • I know it’s a long shot, but what are the chances they’d ever open up the reservoir for recreational use? If security is the reason for not opening it up, it’s not like the chain link fence is such a real barrier if someone wanted to, say, put something bad in the water supply (and we’re already filtering out all the goose poop anyways… i hope). Other reasons? I feel like they do have reservoirs for recreational use in other places – that would be an AMAZING recreational space, if they’d take down the fence…

  • It would be nice if they included the reservoir in the development. They could create a running/walking/biking path around it.

  • re: transportation

    the 80 bus is the main public transport option there and while the WMATA conducted a study and proposed a plan to improve it with express buses and route improvements, apparently there aren’t the funds to implement it. For folks in the neighborhood upset about public transport options, definitely write your councilmembers. I agree it would be great if FoM would focus on these practical issues, as well as the mid city east recommendations (which are sort of disappointing since they don’t push any big ideas like decking over N. Capitol to build park space).

    • For what it’s worth, I was told that Mid City East itself does not come with any funding and so nothing can actually be done with those recommendations unless the community pools together and lobby Councilmember McDuffie hard.

  • Try growing Red Maples in the city. Try growing any maple in the city. Norwegian or whatever… it doesn’t work. We have had loads of dead maples in DC replaced by DDOT or Casey by other kinds of trees. The Red maples are a flourish that will never happen.

    Architecture in anything other than the park is crap. The Renzo Piano knock off community center is nice though. The pool shown is an olympic….what is proposed is a 25 meter. Again bait and switch?

    What happend to that giant green dumpster (ie the mechanical enclosure) on the top of the community center? It’s not in the rendering but still in the HPRB proposal. Odd.

    My best bet is that half of this isn’t ever going to occur.

    • They aren’t red maples; they are hawthorns, which were part of the original Olmsted design. I recommend you read the HPRB report.

      • Hawthorns don’t have red leaves. Red hawthorns have berries on them (sometimes) that are, but they still don’t look like that. And they don’t grow like trees…they are more like bushes and the don’t provide much shade. And if you look at the up close shots of the rendering, they have put maple leaves on these hawthornes.

        So basically even if they are hawthorns, they won’t look that this. That’s the point.

    • We have some awesome maple trees in the Fairlawn neighborhood (East River). A beauty on 22nd St SE that is at least 35 years old (because it was here when I bought my house on 22nd St SE ).

    • There are red maples all over the city. Check out the Casey Trees maps, they’re everywhere.
      I’m not sure it’s useful to try and identify tree species from these renderings (clearly they are not accurate, just look at the people!), but if you want to go there those are not red maple leaves anyway, they’re sugar or Norway maples. Actually, they look more like sweetgum leaves than like maples.

  • The only way I can possibly understand someone not being for this development, is that you must not live in this neighborhood. I DO live here, and if you did too, you’d easily realize what development of this site would do for this community. Sure, maybe it’ll cause more traffic, make this area more congested, but can you tell me where in DC there isn’t traffic or congestion? It’s called, “city living”!

    Very excited for McMillan to be reborn–full steam ahead!

    • It would be great if you could share what you feel this development will do for the community. I’d suggest that you put forth the effort of persons opposing the site if you have such strong convictions in support of the project. VMP has never been able to show community support for this project so maybe you could help them in that effort. Every survey or petition that has been released shows serious opposition to this project.

      I also DO live in the neighborhood, as do the residents who filled out Mark Mueller’s (ANC rep) survey (which found resounding opposition to the VMP plans) and the 2,000 Ward 5 residents to sign the Friends of McMillan petition in opposition to the park.

  • Take a look at the HPRB submission and you’ll understand why someone (from the community…my house is 4 blocks over) doesn’t want this in their backyard. It’s a freakin office park a la Rosslyn or Pentagon City. Who in their right minds would want to have an office park built in their backyard? It’s not even a very nice one.

    Here they just show you the park side, but they don’t show you the architectural nightmare on the other side of it.

    • I used to work in Rosslyn. That doesn’t look anything like Rosslyn.

      • +1 This is a million times more attractive and inviting than Pentagon City or Rosslyn.

        • gawd. please try to look at the HPRB proposal and not these renderings. They show you the park only. Look at the other 2/3 of the site. It looks not only just like Rosslyn, but probably much worse. I used to work in Rosslyn too.

          • Honestly, we could use a few Rosslyns in DC. It’s so hard to find a job that’s not out in Reston/Herndon/Sterling/Tyson’s. Maybe if there were some office parks outside of the super-expensive core more businesses would move into DC.

          • REALLY? If you want to live in Rosslyn why don’t you go back there. I moved out of the suburbs because i think they look and feel like crap. And i don’t want to spend my life in traffic. Now Rosslyn is moving in next door. Yay.

            BTW, the unemployment rate in DC is lower than any other place in the country. So we don’t need those big companies in the city…let them stay in Rosslyn.

          • “BTW, the unemployment rate in DC is lower than any other place in the country.”

            You would look smarter if you didn’t say things that were demonstrably untrue. DC’s unemployment rate is 8.7%, which is above the national average (google it). Many states have lower unemployment rates.

          • I never said I wanted to live in Rosslyn. I just want an engineering job that doesn’t require me to drive to a far-flung suburb. Yeah, they are a few, but they are really hard to get, especially the junior-level ones. If tech companies want to attract and retain young talent they need to move into the more urban areas.

        • have any of you actually been in Rosslyn? and it’s not quite the burbs. I live in Turnberry Towers and I guarantee you that McMillan and its vicinity is NOTHING like Rosslyn…let them eat cake

  • Are any of the underground filtration cells being preserved?

    • Who cares?

      • The site – the reservoir and the above and below ground structures – is on the National Register of Historic Places. Obviously, there are many people who care. Throughout history, people have destroyed books, art and monuments, but thankfully, there are people in this world who try to protect our history, our heritage.

        The answer to the other question is – no. Not one cell will be preserved in its original historic state. Image having twenty examples of the Model T. Saving one that has been stripped of its interior, and possible saving a portion of one as a toy, it not historic preservation.

        Not everyone in DC is going to have a grocery store across the street. Neighbors can drive to NoMa or new O Street Giant while we try to come up with a way to incorporate a grocery store, housing and other amenities into a park while preserving the sense of place that has been a part of the neighborhood since its inception.

      • You really should check out the photographs of the underground cells. They are breathtaking. The huge columns, the high ceilings, the light pouring though manhole covers from above, simply stunning.

        • They are pretty amazing — but after years of neglect, I do not think they are structurally sound.

          • If you look at the Mayor’s task force report on the prevention of flooding in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park, Appendix 7 includes the ‘Structural/Geotechnical Engineering Evaluation of McMillan Filter Site’ performed by the DC Department of Housing and Community Development back in 2000 that addresses just this issue.

            Of the 20 cells, it found that 12 were stable or had moderate deterioration while 8 had significant deterioration and were ‘potentially dangerous.’ One of the cells classified as ‘moderate deterioration’ is the one currently being worked on by DCWASA to hold storm water runoff and it’s my understanding that the engineer working in that cell attested to the structural integrity of the cell (if nothing else there is at least a YouTube interview of DCWASA folks working there).

            According to this same report, for a moderately deteriorated cell it will cost $2.02 million to preserve a cell with no buildup (going up to $2.56 million to preserve with build up to four stories). For a stable cell the cost would be $1.79 million and 2.330 million, respectively. It will cost $920K to fill the cells with a four-story buildup (unclear of the cost for a buildup the size of the medical center which exceeds 4 stories), or $1.37 million to demolish the cells and build a four-story structure.

  • I am starting an organization called Save McMillan from Friends of McMillan.

    Friends of McMillan have done an honorable thing and I can’t fault them for it – trying to maximize the benefit of the park to the community. The balance is that this needs to be done without delaying getting this park built. Let’s face it, the addition of a beautiful park, a community center, and a grocery store is greatly needed by this neighborhood and ANYTHING will be better than the eyesore we have now. I say this as somebody that lives a couple blocks away.

    FoM has been making big noise about how many signatures they have gathered. I have seen them try to gather signatures. They will stop anybody and anyone, show them the worst photos they could find of old renderings, and say something like “Can you believe they are trying to build this? Please help us stop this atrocity”. Since people are not even familiar with the project and they are showed the worst possible light of the project, they say “oh yeah that’s ugly”. They sign the petition without much argument. 80% of those signatures are uninformed people and those petitions are not to be taken seriously.

    It’s time to move on, build the park, and let us enjoy our neighborhood. It’s time the city do something to make use of this land.

    Friends of McMillan: The neighborhood needs you to stand back now.

    • How are you Anonymous with an avatar?

    • This is one of the highest points of land in Ward 5. Of course we want 12 story office building towering over our neighborhood. I hear that the residents near Rock Creek Park have been trying to get these office buildings built in Rock Creek Park maybe near Klingle Road, but Bloomingdale won out, so it’s like our own little Rosslyn for us to enjoy. It’s odd they aren’t focusing more on the beauty of the buildings, cause I think the Historical panel described them as mausoleum like!

      • wow, that’s productive snark, guessing you’re a FOMmer

      • You’re really equating the aesthetics of N. Cap. and Michigan Ave. with that of Rock Creek Park?

      • I’m pretty sure ten-story+ office and residential buildings back right up against the borders of Rock Creek Park at many locations, particularly in areas that are in the midst of densely settled neighborhoods fairly close to the city center. I certainly hope the buildings are attractive and well-designed, but the scale complaint seems a little odd. There are two major/multistory hospital buildings right across Michigan Ave!

  • I live in Bloomingdale (1st and V), and I am so excited to see this project finally moving ahead. The few people that opposes the project should give up on their delaying tactics and engage positively with the community to ensure that this project moves forward and is developed with minimal disruption to the neighborhood. The majority of residents in Bloomingdale are very excited to see this development coming to our neighborhood, and we are tired of the so called “Friends” of McMillan using our name to voice their unrealistic demands.

    • the truth is that their “demands” made the designs better and gave us more park space.

    • This is something that bothers me as someone in opposition to the current project partly on the ground of the extreme lack of transparency in the process. What evidence is there that the ‘majority’ of folks in the neighborhood are in support of this project? I can tell you that there are over 1,000 people who signed the Friend of McMillan petition in ANC 5E alone. Say what you will about the petition and the process of obtaining signatures but that is at least some evidence of opposition to the project. I know of no effort on the part of VMP or the city to gauge the level of community support either for or against the project. The only surveys/petitions that I am aware of are 1) ANC 5E08 commissioner survey which showed opposition to the current plan on the basis of the type of development people would like to see – this survey was conducted in good faith with support from the ANC and MAG and addressed the immediate neighbors of the park. It showed conclusively that residents are AGAINST the current VMP plan, 2) Friends of McMillan petition – which has been signed by over 5,000 people and over 4,000 in DC (approximately 2,000 in Ward 5), and 3) a Vision McMillan Partners online survey which I unfortunately cannot seem to find on their website for specifics. I believe it included around 100 folks of which maybe 95% were for some form of development. It’s unclear where the individuals who filled out the online survey were located. If you know where the results are posted please respond with that link.

      If you genuinely believe that more individuals impacted by this development are in support of the VMP master plan as it is, I would suggest lobbying Vision McMillan Partners to support and help conduct an honest survey of the local residents. I think that might help to clear the air on exactly who is and is not in support of this project and why. The ANC 5E has suggested conducting its own sponsored survey but that was back when VMP last came before them. VMP has not yet returned to garner support for the master plan.

      • So 60% of the people who signed the petition don’t even live in the area, and 20% of them live outside of the city? WTF?

        • That is one way to look at those figures, yes. Keep in mind that signatures are captured through a handful of people physically going to locations in their free time to talk with people about this issue. These are simply volunteers with no budget and who have a job and life of their own. I agree that a government or Vision McMillan Partners funded survey would likely reach more folks but that has not happened and is unlikely to happen.

          Personally, I find the gathering of that many signatures by walking to various locations in the city impressive but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I would ask again though, what is the number of persons that are in favor of the project?

          • This is why petitions are not representative of neighborhood sentiment, because they only collect the “pro” signatures — and yet people use them without fail as a barometer of public support. I personally have refused to sign this petition on numerous times, but no one is keeping track of my name.

          • Matt, you seem like a thoughtful person, so I am sure you can see the problem that people who support the VMP plan and who also live in very close proximity to the site have with activists claiming that 95% of the community is against it by citing the FOM petition. If you live near the site (I can see it from my living room window) then you have seen the folks gathering signatures: they have selected what they perceive to be the most egregious design flaws from numerous iterations of the many plans that have been floated over the past two years, then they write in huge script “save the park!” I have personally witnessed people simply walking down to BB to get coffee see the “save the park” and just sign the petition in a daze.

            The fact is that many people who support the development, including folks that have lived in Bloomingdale or Stronghold for generations, support the plan, they are just not the kinds of people who hang around in front of the cafe getting people to sign petitions, yell and scream at community meetings, post screeds on every blog that the development is racist or engage in similar hyperbolic nonsense… they just want a grocery store that they can walk to.

          • Hey Anon 10:40 AM (sorry, won’t let me respond to your comment directly for some reason), just wanted to address this. I get your point and that’s completely valid. I would like for them to capture signatures for those opposed as well if feasible. The issue for me personally is that the notion that folks are in support of the plan ends up more rhetoric rather than something people can point to (most of it online or in a posting where god knows who is posting). I’d just love to see those people who are for the plan be organized and represent themselves so there’s something tangible to support what you’re saying.

            My general concern with the idea of community representation is that the McMillan Advisory Group is supposed to be representing the community. However, there is never anything public to come from the meetings, no outreach on the part of representatives for at least my area (Bloomingdale), nor any open discussion with the community on the project. Instead, I’m left hearing from one or two people who say that the ‘majority’ of residents are in support of the plan. I hope you can appreciate my own frustration with such a statement being made without any basis other than trust that these people have actually talked with everyone in the neighborhood. And without either the developer or representatives to actively engage the community other than when decisions have already been made (ANC presentation, open house they recently had and will hold in November, etc.).

            To your other point about the petition only reflecting those that oppose the plan, I think Commissioner Mueller’s survey is probably the best representation of what people want. It takes into account only those persons immediately in the area and legitimately tried to canvass everyone. That survey also came out in overwhelming opposition to the plan. It was NOT targeting just those who oppose the plan but everyone in the neighborhood (Bloomingdale, Stronghold, etc. etc.). It’s unclear to me when his survey seems to be so discounted in discussions of community thoughts on the plan.

  • i dont think many of you understand how neighbors are able to fight developers to get a better plan.
    if no one opposes it, the developers will do whatever the hell they want. everyone in ward 5 should know better than that. we got the brentwood giant, and the costco. abysmal developments.

    so in order to fight it, you have to take an extreme stance. it’s the ONLY way to get compromise ( please take note POTUS).

    maybe some on FOM are insane nutjobs. so what? the plans are now far superior to what we had before. because of opposition.

    • I agree. It’s only through an ideal vision for what the project should be that we are going to get sort of legitimate compromise that tries to incorporate all parties’ vision. I still think the main crime in this development is the exclusive rights that VMP were given. I hope pressure from potential mayoral candidates can influence this before it’s too late.

  • The city govt has shown it’s contempt for the community health for 27 years. Really pathetic to hear lemmings accept this abuse. Friends Of McMillan and sincere residents, who care about their homes and places for the kids to grow up healthy aren’t delusional about damage to the world by endless construction and how the environment needs our help.The city govt caused the flooding and didn’t care when it was lower income african american homes being destroyed. There would have been a Olmsted designed park restored had this site been in upper NW, don’t reward institutional RACISM, get real.
    . If this crowding of mediocre architecture over McMillan, the last “great public space” , is such a great idea, then let the hacks in the mayors office get a section of Rock Creek Park ceded to DC by the Feds. And build this miserable excuse for urban planning over there.
    Your hacks on the City Council are giving Billions of our dollars to these developers when this is OUR land, our open space, a needed community eco-campus, a Glen Echo for our families. The DC subsidy to these 10 developers is $319 million, they will be feeding at this pig trough for decades. We must stop the”surplussing” by corrupt officials to these failing developers. The people’s land , they have no right to give it away!
    They have given upper NW all the park space, real parks formed by geology, streams and cultural heritage, not a lawn skirted by saplings.We can do all the park related use in adaptive re-use of existing structures. We don’t need to be DESTRUCTIVE of our cultural heritage.
    These renderings are a distortion, but some love to be deluded. Read the Nomination to the National Parks Registry of Historic Places to see just what is being destroyed. POP, You could have a discussion of what is really needed for our community, not just cheer leading an atrocious wrong affront, try putting your thinking cap on!

    • does insulting people usually get people to see things your way?

    • Seriously – your tone is incredibly off-putting, and I happen to agree with the content of what you said. For the sake of Friend of McMillan, I hope you’re not their primary spokesperson. Your tone is not helping your cause – AT ALL.

    • As a resident who can see both sides of the issue, this is why I am not a Friend. You guys lost me in that town hall where you compared this to Gezi park…c’mon.

    • You had me at racism.

    • Anacostia Park is huge. Any with natural features as you discussed. Maybe we start there with creating your new Glen Echo?

  • This looks gorgeous! Too bad we’re only seeing a small part. Of the 25 acres, only 25% of this historic public land will be turned into the park you’re looking at here. In the background, behind the cookie-cutter condos, is a line of 13-story office buildings that don’t go so well with the Victorian row houses down the street. Frankly I’m not convinced that park won’t become the semi-private backyard of the townhouse dwellers. And hey, is that pool public or private?

    Folks, it looks nice, but don’t let selective Kodachrome images fool you. As it stands now, this site is one of the last open expanses of green space in DC, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr (who’s dad designed Central Park). It’s a National Historic Place. Once we pave it over and demolish the vaulted-arch caverns, we can’t get it back. The site was designed to work in conjunction with the plan of L’Enfant and the National Mall–it’s part of the Emerald Necklace, a ring of parks encircling the city.

    The city has been holding the land hostage for decades, and we ALL want it opened and used well. The city is running the clock on this, hoping we’ll get fed up and take whatever they give us. But giving public land away to a developer (there was no open bidding) doesn’t serve our city or our people.

    This site has so much potential to harness and adapt–and a lot more than 6 acres to be used for a park.

    Look at these awesome reuse plans of former industrial sites in other cities. They all show a lot more vision.

    Parting thought: North Capitol St. + Rhode Island has lots of unused retail space and potential to develop affordable housing–why not develop already developed land and turn this into an awesome park for everyone?

    • Everyone keeps forgetting that those 13 story office buildings are supposed to provide medical offices to go with the architecture of the Washington Hospital Center on Michigan– medical offices that will provide services and specialties for the local community. The Victorian row houses “down the street” are on 1st street and Channing, which is a good three blocks south.

      • The park on the south end of the McMillan site sits a solid 20-30 feet above the street. As such, you’d be hard-pressed to see the highrises on the far north end from the street.

  • your so forgiving of DC officials who fenced off this park, and could care less about the health and recreation of this city. The council members who brought you this deal are criminals and in prison. They have already wasted twice the millions it cost to restore the park, flushed 10′s of millions down the sewer. Which they are turning the site into, a sewer! We need more parks, trails, woods. Get off your computer chair someday and take a walk, have a picnic, send your kids down with their bikes. What has made you forget what a gracious city is about? Any community in the world would have restored this park, and you’d have enjoyed it all these years. Some kind of distortion of city life is going on here. SAD!

    • we need more trails and woods? really? in the city?

      the park at ledroit is a magnet for crime and mischief.

      • umm, a magnet for crime and mischief? yes, black people use it, if that’s what you mean. and they’d be hanging out on the street if the park wasn’t there. it’s a great addition to the neighborhood. i use it all the time–and hell yeah, i’d like to see more trails/woods/parks in this part of the city.

      • “the park at ledroit is a magnet for crime and mischief.”

        not really.

    • Please stop posting as yourself if you can’t keep your tone under control. I’m rooting for FoM, and you are doing more to damage than to help.

    • This coming from a grown man who yelled curse words in front of children threatened people at the “friends” meeting this past Summer to the point where police had to intervene. With friends like these who needs enemies?

  • Well, it seems that yesterday’s hearing went well for those people who support this plan. This is from an email I got this morning (so, yes, they are communicating with people):

    “Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to accept the Historic Preservation Office’s staff report, which recommended accepting the Master Plan and building design concepts. This decision was a huge step in this journey, allowing us to move forward in the process. … We will still need additional approvals from the Mayor’s Agent and the Zoning Commission.”

    They’ve also got an animation of the designs (http://vimeo.com/75443595) – it still focuses on the park and community center a lot, but I don’t think the townhouses look terrible (they will definitely have a lot of light). And there’s going to be an open house where you can check out the updated plans and let them know your opinion on the morning of the 16th. Just thought I’d pass the info along for those folks who want it.

  • Do this. Do this now!

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