More (new to me) Awesome Renderings of the Planned Future McMillan Development


In late October we looked at some cool rendering for the planned future McMillan Development at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site at North Capitol and Michigan Ave, NW. At that time we were told they were hoping to get “shovels in the ground by summer 2014 and deliver the first buildings in 2016.” You can read more about the plans here. In the meantime check out some more renderings I hadn’t seen from Envision McMillan:


“View from a rooftop at Park Place, you can see the the multi-family building, the North Service Court entrance and the pocket park atop preserved Cell 14.”


“Bays on the residential building pay homage to the three sand bins it faces. The building can accommodate a 50,000 SF full service grocery store complete with underground parking. — at North Service Court & North Capitol Street.”


“New buildings on both sides of the Court are set back to give emphasis to the iconic cylindrical Sand Bins. The new healthcare facility brings 3,000 jobs to Ward 5. — at North Service Court & North Capitol Street.”

67 Comment

  • The building on the right in the last picture looks pretty darn similar to the DOE Headquarters building that everyone wants torn down because it’s so ugly…

    • Or like the much-panned J. Edgar Hoover building downtown.
      I’m not a fan of the building on the right (in the last picture) either — both of them look late-1960s/early 1970s, and not in a good way.


  • uh-oh, you complimented the development plans. Wait for the fommers to start screaming and carrying on.

  • Predicted pattern of posts:

    1) This looks great, let’s get the development started right away!

    2) This has always been a park; why can’t it just be a park? Everyone wants a park, no one wants the development. There was a survey.

    3) I want the development.

    4) Where do you live? West of the park, east of the park, blah, blah, blah.

    5) The tax base! DC is changing, get with the program.

    6) Traffic! Transportation! Gridlock!

    7) This was never a park. The park was somewhere else.

    8) Corruption! The process was flawed. We need an international design competition.

    9) Hey, hey, ho, ho, this overdevelopment has got to go! Reston, suburbs, buildings are ugly.

    10) Is it a Whole Foods? I want a Whole Foods.

    11) There is a Whole Foods going into Monroe Market.

    12) No there isn’t, you’re dumb.

    13) You’re dumb. I’ve been in DC for 100 generations.

    14) etc, etc, etc.

  • Some of those buildings look like they’re straight out of the Soviet era.

  • houseintherear

    I wonder if the street lanes are accurate. I like the idea of two lanes for travel in each direction, and then a narrowing down to one lane when it hits Channing St on the south side. All the people going to the development area will turn off and others can drive through to their neighborhood without waiting. But I still maintain that 1st should be signed as “local traffic only” starting south of Channing!

  • I live in this hood so BAP my comments count : )

    1. The buildings are butt ugly, prison like. It CAN’T cost that much extra to give them a nicer skin. Come on.

    2. If there was a need for 3000 jobs in a medical building, why would the hospitals not have already built them on the hospital property? There are several parking lots that could be converted to buildings with parking under neath. Just saying………… sounds fishy.

    3. Something will be built here, and it should. Bloomingdale does not have any large spaces for a grocery or gym, it is needed. That said, this is a once in a life time opportunity to get a park in close walking distance. I vote for balance, half and half. Do away with the town houses (which Bdale has in abundance) and stick with the two office buildings and two residential buildings, that leaves half of the site open as park land. The portion they are saving now is less than 1/3. I would have loved to seen this whole site saved as park land “central park” style, but am open to other needs in the community.

    4. This is going to cause major issues for people who live in Bloomingdale. There is little parking now and getting less every day. The sewer system can’t handle the people we have living there now. With it not being upgraded until 2021 what will adding 10,000 more people to it do? Traffic is already insane on North Capital and First Streets with people zooming through our hood on the way out to MD. How much more of that will it add traffic to our hood from people not living there. There is more to life than greedy money.

    5. Just the obvious desire to mislead from the developer screams this is not on the up and up. Why would 3,000 jobs just pop up out of the blue in the medical field? Why do they try to make the park area look so much bigger than it is in reality in their marketing? They count the grass along the sidewalks and the tree boxes as “park space” , that is where the doggies doo, not where people frolic. Come on………….

    6. What is so bad about a half and half deal, half buildings half open park?

    • jim_ed

      Ah yes, there’s definitely too many townhouses in Bloomingdale as is, in fact I hear they’re practically giving them away. Absolutely no appetite for more.

      • Raise your thinking to a higher level. Townhouses we have in excess, park land we have in deficit. If one had to add more of one or the other, park land would be the one to add.

        • I have a question for you, and it is not meant to be snarky.
          How long have you lived in Bloomingdale? and did you know that the McMillan site was going to be redeveloped before you chose that neighborhood. I think you have some right to want park space, but if park space was indeed important to you above other things, there were many neighborhoods to choose from.

          • No one is arguing that this needs to be Bloomingdale’s park. We’re talking about a world-class park for use by all of NE and the rest of the city. People come from all over the city to use Meridian Hill park; why shouldn’t the other quadrants have similar facilities?

          • The poster above was arguing from a bloomingdale-centric point of view. That being said, I agree with your world class park for all of DC wishes. Some bloomingdalians should articulate the greater dc good, rather than the what will this mean for my personal inconvenience and property value arguments. I personally wanted a sports complex there, but nobody ever listens to me.

          • People go to Meridian Hill Park if they live nearby or are in the area for something else, but I don’t think people from other neighborhoods make a special trip out there normally (except for the drum circle). Even the award-winning Yards Park is mostly just used by local residents unless there’s a special event going on.

          • i go to meridian hill park and to yards park and i live in bloomingdale. big nice parks are for everyone.

  • They’re talking about their own Park Place, not the Park Place that’s on top of the Georgia Ave. Metro, right?

  • Forget the medical office buildings which can be located literally anywhere else as well as the grocery store Bloomingdale no long really needs – I want large, unplanned, public-managed (you all DO realize VMP has every intention of managing even the “park” space, right? They’ve said so publicly on multiple occasions) open park space for Ward 5, NE, and the larger DC community to use. We need a Meridian Hill park for this side of the city – not more phone-it-in developments such as these.

    • Why do you believe Bloomingdale “no longer really needs” a grocery store?
      To put that comment in perspective: LeDroit, Bloomingdale and Eckington, combined, have about the population that Olney does. Olney has four supermarkets serving that many people. LeDroit, Bloomingdale, and Eckington have zero.

      • The Giant at O Street has become an easy destination for much of Bloomingdale. There are MULTIPLE groceries going in near Howard that Le Droit has access too. And Eckington is bounded by both a Giant and a Harris Teeter. Additionally, there’s no reason a small market (think Yes! or similar) couldn’t go into an underground cell. I just reject the idea that we HAVE to have a grocery store in this specific capacity.

        • So what’s wrong with having a supermarket in this location? Don’t you want more choice in groceries, and have them be closer to where you live?

        • There are no full-service grocery stores that are convenient (read: walkable) to Stronghold. So yes, we need a grocery store in this “specific capacity.”

          • Exactly. As a resident of the neighborhood, I haven’t had a car since I’ve moved to DC. So having the prospect of a grocery store that is within walking distance that is close enough that I don’t have to actually plan a trip to the store (read: oh shit I forgot I need baking soda for this recipe and the corner store near me definitely doesn’t have that), has been a huge selling point for me on the development. Plus add the fact that I’ll ALSO actually have a close park on top of that, that (IMHO) will be pretty sizable, is amazing. I assume that if I was someone with a car, my feelings might be slightly different – but I don’t, so they aren’t, and that’s OK, because they are my opinions.

    • The current plan includes an 8 acre park. That’s smaller than 12-acre Meridian Hill, but it’s still a fairly large area. I’m not sure why it matters who cuts the grass or whatever. Is there a reason you don’t want VMP to manage it?

      • And Meridian Hill Park is packed in the fair weather months. We’ve got the space to do something great and VMP and the Mayor are trying to convince us that a corporate-managed “park” is something we should be thanking THEM for.

        And yeah, I’ve listened to VMP representatives assure a young white couple in very coded language that the park would be “well-managed” by VMP and not be the kind of place where “trouble” could happen. Anyone who isn’t concerned about corporations managing our park space has never been poor or black in the city. Sorry. It’s very easy to read between the lines here.

        • So, no park at all is better than a park run by someone other than the DC government? I’ve lived near other DC parks, that are a pain in the ass to get someone to fix something, so being near one that is run by people with a financial reason to make sure they keep things updated doesn’t sound like such a bad thing to me.

          But, I’m completely willing to check my privilege, and say, no I’ve never been black here. So, with that said, I hope that more “young white couples,” or anyone willing to attend a meeting or hearing or gathering on the matter, would be willing to speak up and say that we don’t want the “speaking between the lines” here. If it’s going to be a park for everybody, it should be a park that is open and safe for for EVERYBODY.

  • Saving McMillan Park ties right in to real change in DC. A system of trails, woods, hiking paths envisioned in 1904 by Sen. McMillan. This should be just a start for an Eco-campus of historic preservation and Glen Echo style 365 days a year activities. The DC govt. wasted this Central Park in utter contempt and racial discrimination for 27 years. The way to correct this theft of recreation value is to open the park, a park we can all walk to. A model of community process, environmental projects, youth and family activities, music and art festivals, and especially adaptive re-use of 20 acres of existing magical underground galleries. VMP plan will demolish these mystical Sand Filtration caverns, ready to adapt to a City Bazaar and Torpedo Factory style art residences. Preserve the beautiful sunsets, grow urban agriculture, a “healing garden” and an urban beach, and much, much more.
    The illegitimately elected Mayor Gray has his hypocritical “Sustainable DC” plan for “2035” a farce. Even though every word in his “plan” would call for preserving and opening McMillan Park, he is “surplussing”, literally giving away McMillan to big developers, giving them decades of tax beaks, and a $319 million subsidy at taxpayer expense! To build on our land,, not his, a “National Harbor” of 50 ugly buildings, an artificial neighborhood constructed on the Park’s demolition.
    McMillan is Central to real democracy in DC. Let’s move into a real representative democracy and prepare for statehood by forming the Assembly Neighborhood Congress, a voting legislature, and get rid of the tainted, corrupt city council and Patriarchal mayor, GOOD RIDDENS!. End the miserable, dictatorship of the 13, whose priorities are for 6 Walmarts, devastation to DC small businesses, they green light every development put on the table, made a mess of travel in DC, and are filling up all the remaining open space, instead of furthering the L’Enfant/ McMillan Plan. The legacy that can still make DC a gracious living environment. We need a govt. for the environment, we are the Capitol of the country, so let’s lead and save mccMillan. Lead in more than traffic congestion, most development selling us out, and city officials under federal prosecution and swinging unethical deal after deal for the Corporate developer’s profits. VMP is just such a “exclusive rights agreement”, unethical hand out to corporate developers. The same construction mega-corporations, and DC’s wonderful small tradesman can train the youth and under-employed, working on helping seniors and low income residents to save the existing housing stock, insulating, and upgrading homes, for good careers, at McMillan Park, while we restore our park and legacy.
    VMP is designing an architectural atrocity, with a lawn. See how real parks look in upper NW. The Office of Miserable Planning should be flushed out with all the money they waste.

    • Honestly man, if your end goal is for people to support your vision, then you should try to communicate it in a more coherent way that includes less invective.

    • TLDNR

    • There is no McMillan Park to Save. You should call your cause “Create McMillan Park” if you want to be truthful.

      • JCM +1:

        Saying “Save McMillan Park” is like saying “Save McMillan Space Flight Center,” or “Save McMillan Wildlife Refuge,” or anything else that you want the former McMillan Sand Filtration industrial site to become. Recent literature put out by Fearful of Modernity is particularly specious, in that it clearly shows the McMillan reservoir, which is not the site in question, with the slogan “Save The Park.” Uncool.

        • jim_ed

          They’re going to close the McMillan Space Flight Center?!?!?!?11? THOSE MONSTERS!

        • lol “save mcmillan space flight center” i love this.

        • Stronghold Resident: Your reference to “Modernity” is so quaint! I bet you, like the Prince of Petworth, think VMP’s building designs–a pastiche of misunderstood 1920s International Style translated through The Jetsons–are modern!

          “Modern” no longer means urban renewal. It means authentic, environmental, respectful of history, visionary. We aspire to be world city. Great cities of the world are replete with parks, monumental and intimate. The park VMP proposes is an office park that would be at home on Rte 66. While VMP claims they are “creating” park, they are in fact erasing park. The five of twenty-five acres that they propose to devote to green space looks like an exurban lawn demarcated by shrubbery.

          The McMillan Park naysayers in this Comments section would have made the same condescending noises to Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and his sons; Robert Hammond (see; Daniel Bierderman (see; and other urban park creators and revivers.

        • Stronghold Resident: Your use of the term “Modernity” is so quaint! I suppose you, like the Prince, must believe that VMP’s misunderstood 1920s International Style drawn with the design sense possessed by he Jetsons passes for modern. But “modern” no longer means urban renewal. Modern means valuing authenticity, history, nature, eclecticism, public spaces. D.C. aspires to be a world city, but world cities are replete with parks, grand and intimate. Our elected and appointed leaders can only see as far as the next tax dollar, and if handing off the family jewels to developers means another ca-ching in the cash register today, they can’t divest the citizens’ assets fast enough. And who in hell is VMP, anyway? Did they win a design competition to erase an Olmsted Park? Their vision is an office park, where 25 acres of green space is reduced to 5 acres of exurban lawn.

    • “Prepare for statehood”?


    • Friends of McMillan: gibberish like THIS is why people don’t take you seriously. I live adjacent to the property. If you want to claim level-headed analysis of possible plans for the future for the site, you need to shut this sh*t down. Otherwise people will just ignore anything coming out of your corner. Sorry.

      • saf

        Much like my regular statements of “not all DC residents are Marion Barry,” and “not all Christians agree with Jerry Falwell,” I feel compelled to say that not all FOM are Daniel Wolkoff.

        • Anybody who reads beyond the headlines and catchy blurbs knows that all of FOM are not like that. But that’s the problem. Everybody else looks at rants like this and thinks “Whatever”, or worse, “Holy shit, I want exactly the opposite of what THAT guy wants!”
          Some of the marquee statements for the conversion of McMillan to parkland can be charitably described as unhinged. It’s very hard to walk that back in the eye of public perception. Sadly, FOM may have lost that battle completely before they had the chance to organize a cogent plan of action.

  • The vast majority of those “mystical Sand Filtration caverns, ready to adapt to a City Bazaar and Torpedo Factory style art residences” are not structurally stable. And even if they were, where would one find the funding to adapt and reuse them? You don’t just stick a few folding tables down there and call it a city bazaar. Blowing hot air on a neighborhood blog, especially with your facts wrong, will not lead to advocacy for a park that hasn’t even BEEN a park since WWII. If anything, protesting this development (with no real grounding in reality) will just serve to delay progress for Bloomingdale and keep the McMillian site a fenced off eyesore for longer.

    • Actually, past studies have found them to be remarkably sound. And DC Water planned to put in several hundred thousand dollars in repairs (if I recall correctly) to the cell they’ve been using for their work on N Capitol and found they needed almost none of it, the cell was in such fantastic shape. Try again.

      • You are correct that DCWater has planned to invest several hundred thousand dollars in repairs to the vaults that they are using (which is currently going on), but they are building a facility to hold water, not people. The vaults don’t come close to meeting assembly or accessibility code, have no steel reinforcement, and ARE largely unstable. The cells that DCWater is using were chosen, in part, because they are the most stable. I would love to see these “past studies” you refer to that say the vaults are sound. The structural report that VMP commissioned says otherwise.

        Try again.

  • brookland_rez

    Those stairs, handrails, and ledges look like a sweet place to ride my skateboard.

  • If I got to make the decisions around here, I would turn the whole site into a model sustainable farm. The farm would be run by a non-profit, and people could visit it to learn about sustainable agriculture. It would be a new living monument for the city. People from the community could volunteer there. children could go there on fieldtrips to learn about plants and nutrition. The items grown there could be sold at a market on site that also sells other food items from local farms and ranches. I could also get money by getting grants to conduct research on sustainable farming techniques, and work with local universities.

    As far as reality goes. I strongly dislike the look of these buildings. I would like more park space. I would like a grocery store, and maybe some local retail/restaurants/bars, but see no need for more medical facilities. Hospital center to the north could certainly accommodate more buildings if there were a need for them.

  • Why are they keeping those stupid sand bins? They’re not “iconic,” they are an eyesore, and will look even worse next to new buildings. Otherwise, looks good.

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