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The McMillan Filtration Site

by Prince Of Petworth July 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm 35 Comments

A reader writes simply: “we made a short film starring The McMillan Reservoir.”

Not sure how they got in but this is really a beautiful video. On Friday when we talked about neighborhood names, a reader asked what neighborhood McMillan Reservoir (Filtration Site) would be referred as when it gets developed? I still think it’ll be called Bloomingdale.

McMillan Filtration Site is located at Michigan Avenue, North Capitol Street, NW.

Over/under on when construction will start?

  • Andy

    Valiant attempt, but their pause-pan-pause camera work over and over again got really obnoxious half way through.

    • oneal

      Try 15 seconds through!!! It makes the close up shots near nausiating… Very cool place though.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I think there are lots of petty things we could say about the video, but in the end it is pretty cool so let’s collectively leave it at that if possible.

    I’ll be happy if it gets people thinking about this site and it’s future.

    Has anyone seen renderings of the proposed development? If so could you post a link? I am really curious — it has SO MUCH potential.

    • CA

      There have been so many different plans/renderings and I’m sure many more. This story hase a few of them:


      The city just took over the pre-development of the site last month from the selected Developers, which rarely happens, and will return plots of land back to them for work to begin as they become ready.

      My guess is this might get done around 2016-17.

      • Bloomingdalian

        This is EXACTLY why the neighborhood is against the development. The city has stepped in and decided IT will pay for the infrastructure needed by the developer of the site. That’s bullshit and the last thing a city in a supposed budget crisis should be doing.

        We are finally getting more organized as a community and want there to be smart growth for the site. We want to pay hommage to Olmstead’s park while facing the reality that we can’t keep the entire thing as parkland. In order to do this we have to undo the shady deals that went on behind our backs which led to developer’s obtaining the land for next to nothing.

        Bottom line – why should the city pay for what the average developer normally has to pay for out of pocket? It’s part of the costs of development and they need to assume the liability and responsibility of the mega-project with the oversight of the agencies (namely DCRA) that oversee development.

        We can’t let this one go guys…sorry.

        • Anon

          bullshit. the people who are fighting this dont want ANYTHING to happen at mcmillan. it has nothing to do with budget deficits or paying hommage to olmstead.. its about being obstructionists because you dont want more traffic or affordable housing quotas. THE END.

          • Anonymous

            that’s a mischaracterization.

          • Developer

            Anon – You should do your homework on how this site was acquired before you cry bullshit.

  • elcal

    I know this is a first cut and all, but HOLD STILL DAMMIT!!!

  • Terry Fuchs

    Very nice. What kind of hardware did you use?

  • P. Viewwy

    I’m fine with the pans. Who chose the sad music? barf, puke. It’s summertime. Cheer up!

    • amethystdeceiver

      dude, i think you mean “awful” not “sad.”

      other than the sountrack though, awesome looking video! definitely makes me want to go check this place out, hopefully getting in isnt too difficult. as for the hardware, i’m willing to bet a 5d was involved…

  • MB

    OMG, you people are too much. If you didn’t like it you didn’t have to watch it….. just so you could make snide remarks. Thanks OP, I thought it was lovely.

  • elcal

    Actually, you’d probably retort that we shouldn’t be criticizing something we didn’t watch fully. I watched it fully because I wanted to see what all it had to offer. It actually gets better when the camera starts to focus on the water later on in the video. They should ditch the unusable pop music for a good voiceover on the reservoir’s history or it’s future, retool it and submit to a local media outlet. Hell, even sell it to the developer for a little PR bump.

  • amethystdeceiver

    i volunteer to compose a soundtrack. 100% serious.

    • LocoViking

      very generous offer–how do I contact you?

  • Kristian

    There’s some gorgeous photography in here. Really lovely. As an editor, I might have varied the pace/camera moves etc differently, but I think some of the previous posters were overreacting. The compositions, light, color, texture — good stuff.

    Either way – I walk past this space a few times a week. You brought it to life, and the peek inside was really something.

    Take amethystdeceiver up on his/her offer to score this. The current soundtrack doesn’t seem to advance the cause.

  • Veronika

    school project?

    • anon

      If you look up the YouTube user you’ll see this is from a professional cameraman.

  • JMC

    Nice imagery for sure but yeah learn the serene art of the lock-down shot.

  • badger22

    Does anyone know what’s up with the munitions igloos in this area? or do they just look like munitions igloos, but are not? I’ve been wondering this for awhile but have never researched it.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve always been told they were part of the water purification system – I guess they had sand or something in them. No munitions!

  • Rosto

    I wish the city would turn it into a large park area. Where we could veg out, enjoy the afternoon and relax. ahhhhh

  • Anon

    It appears to me that 3 ANC commissioners are hell bent on preventing any sort of development of the site whatsoever. Look at this rant:


    Aside from the fact that he writes in an extremely arrogant manner and pretends to speak for the entire community, all of the shit he spews is basically saying “we need to keep this from ever happening”.

    I’m frustrated by this nimbyism. I live in the neighborhood and I dont agree with their approach at all.

    • Bloomingdalian

      Come to the meetings and get involved. We need people to give different opinions but the main reason we are fighting the current project is because of the cronyism which gave the developer the land in the first place. Now the city is going to front the bill for what every developer normally pays for themselves ? Why?

      Anyways, we are NOT anti-development. But we are against what’s blatantly shady.

      • Anon

        Its tough to do that when every meeting in the neighborhood, no matter whether its about mcmillan, crime, or dog parks, are carefully tailored so that it excludes “outsiders” and small groups of people know abuot them far enough ahead of time that they know about the timing of the meeting whereas the rest of us find out a couple days in advance.

        This has repeatedly frustrated me about community groups in my neighborhood, nothing personal to the mcmillan people.

        • Developer

          I agree with you on that. They are totally disorganized which is what needs to change in order to make change. We need more people at those meetings (though they are starting to get crowded!) and much more awareness on WHY we are against the current plan. Because at the end of the day, we do want there to be development at the site, we just:

          a) DON’T want the city to pay for it on the behalf of a developer who stands to gain a lot from it.
          b) Want a comprehensive traffic plan so that it can actually be supported (ie, creating new through streets, possibly widening Michigan Ave, etc)
          c) There needs to be a serious updating of Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park’s Sewer lines BEFORE this thing goes in. We already flood and can’t support that much more runoff and sewage from a huge developement without solid planning.

          And after that, it’s a matter of how much green space do you keep. That’s just gravy in my opinion, but this is a historic landmark and we could keep some of the cisterns and create a little park/museum with the Bloomingdale fountain back on the grounds for the public to once again enjoy!

  • Ed

    The area this development will be in is directly north of Ledroit Park. Why would someone associate it with Bloomingdale?

    • Anonymous

      it’s directly north of bloomingdale. look at a map. it’s not the reservoir, but the old sand filtration site.

  • Anonymous

    Note, this is not the reservoir, but is the sand filtration site. The title needs to be changed to reflect this.

  • LocoViking

    hi all,
    thanks for watching and for taking the time to comment. I appreciate all comments, negative and positive. I’ll try to respond to those that are constructive.
    The constant pans and tilts were chosen specifically in order to give you a quick, dynamic peek inside the chain link fence. The following video, due out by the beginning of next week, will be “normal”. I WILL HOLD STILL!…;-)
    Anon, you are incorrect. We all want something to happen to the McMillan site, but we want to have a say. And we want to know the details of the developer’s plans. Transparency is key to allow this project to move forward.
    Hardware: Canon 5D2 and Zeiss glass, tripod by Sachtler.
    @amethystdeceiver: thanks. My goal with this first video was exactly that: for you to get up and go check it out yourself. Everyone drives by in a hurry without bothering to take the time to check it out carefully. How do I contact you for the soundtrack work? Much appreciated offer!

    • elcal

      That’s an unfortunate handle you’ve got there.

      Good luck with the video.

      • Anonymous

        What’s unfortunate about my handle?

  • Locoviking

    What’s unfortunate about my handle?

  • Heights

    Does anyone know who is currently in control of the reservoir? I know some different dc gov groups use some different parts for various things, but who has say on the whole area and lands?


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