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“NoMa Is Getting Land for Yet Another Park”

by Prince Of Petworth May 4, 2016 at 3:00 pm 27 Comments

NoMa Green with Option

From a press release:

“The NoMa Parks Foundation, an affiliate of the NoMa Business Improvement District, announced today that it will acquire its third parcel, an approximately half acre site at the intersection of R Street, NE, and the popular Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT). This acquisition has been accomplished through a collaboration with Foulger-Pratt Development and with strong support from Pepco from whom the parcel was acquired. No funds from the Foundation’s original $50 million NoMa Parks grant will be required to close on this important parcel. Instead, Foulger-Pratt will donate the parcel and will also provide the NoMa Parks Foundation with certain design consultation rights as well as other community benefits. Ultimately, the new park will be transferred to the District of Columbia Government.

This acquisition of additional land to improve the MBT and provide additional park space was first envisioned in a joint study of the MBT executed by the NoMa BID, the Metropolitan Police Department and the District Department of Transportation in 2015. That study recommended straightening the “Z-turn” at R Street as an important public safety measure, among other things. “Adding this new land is so important to improving the MBT and assuring another fabulous park experience for the residents of the NoMa neighborhood and all of Northeast. We look forward to partnering with the community to plan this new green space,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, president of the NoMa Parks Foundation.

Foulger-Pratt will be developing a residential and retail project on the balance of the property bounded by the Foundation’s previously-acquired 2-acre park to the south, Harry Thomas Way on the west, and R Street to the north.

“The retail in our project will be a terrific amenity for the park and the community,” said Michael Abrams, Senior Vice President for Acquisitions at Foulger-Pratt, “And having a project adjacent to a wonderful park, the MBT and all the great things going on in Eckington is a tremendous opportunity for us.”

Sandy Wilkes, Chairman of the NoMa Parks Foundation noted: “Once again, we have a lot to be thankful for. With a lot of great partners and a healthy dose of creativity, the NoMa Parks Foundation has produced an extraordinary outcome, benefitting all of the District”.

“We were pleased to partner with the NoMa Parks Foundation and invest in the health and well-being of our community,” said Pepco Region President Donna Cooper. “In addition, the improvement in public safety that will come with realignment of the MBT and the provision of better access, will be important benefits to the District of Columbia and the communities served in this fast-growing area.”

Acquisition of this parcel is just the latest installment in the remarkable story of the NoMa Parks Foundation’s success in persuading private property owners to partner in creating unique and wonderful public spaces. Despite the scarcity of public land in NoMa, the Parks Foundation will deliver more than 3 acres of public spaces, including the NoMa Meander, a three-block long retail, pedestrian promenade. In the near future, the full complement of terrific new parks will be part of the list of wonderful amenities that NoMa offers as the premier neighborhood in which to work and live in the District.”

  • icompleteme

    Obligatory mention that this is not NoMa, rather the part of Eckington where the BID goes in to. I’ll happily take their parks, just not their name.

  • Trinidaddy

    Glad to see they are realigning the terrible robbery-central s-curve!!!

  • Philippe Lecheval

    They’re trying mightily to make this neighborhood more livable. And I don’t know what it is, but nothing’s working. It’s a big challenge, considering the really long blocks, seas of asphalt in the form of parking lots/wide highways, and a general lack of cohesiveness.

    • Bdylan89

      Between R Street and Rhodes Island is very livable, lots of families live in the area. South of R is more asphalt big buildings and and less cohesion of community. Also the condo building right next to the park was renamed The Gale at Eckington so yes this area is definitely Eckington.

      • Truxtoner

        I think if there was ever a time where the Wendy’s and The People’s Building were razed and more NOMA-esque buildings put down on that side of NY/Florida Avenues, it would absolutely be called NOMA. I don’t think of anything south of Florida as Eckington. And if that happened, I think people would probably naturally view this area on the other side of Florida as NOMA as well. Right now it just seems to be a no man’s land between NOMA and Eckington.

      • smith

        also not ignoring the fact that the Gale sits on the site of the former Eckington rail yards…

    • Truxtoner

      Are there occupancy troubles in the residences being put into Noma? I’m not arguing, just genuinely curious if there is a lack of demand for the housing there. Considering there are like four or five large new buildings going up right now in Noma proper and one going in where this park will be across from Florida/NY Aves in Noma not so proper, I’m not sure it isn’t livable enough. I guess it is all in how one defines livable. I am curious though if these buildings are facing low occupancy rates though. I know for a long time the ones in Mount Vernon did. Not sure if that is still true or not.

      To me the proximity to Metro and a grocery store makes this more than livable. Not everyone cares about having a green space.

      • icompleteme

        Take it for it’s worth but the Elevation (the building on New York and Florida) is changing their second phase from office space to apartments. At a meeting the other night they said their current building is fully leased. Can’t speak on the others thought.

        • Truxtoner

          And honestly that’s to me the least desirable building in NOMA only because it sits on New York Avenue. I didn’t even know there was a second phase for that building. Where is that going to be?

          • Icompleteme

            Will be right on the same lot. The open part of the abuts the MBT. Currently it’s grass and their dog park. Looks nice but it’s unfortunately looking like they are going to got off access to Florida from the MBT unless they change their plans some how.

      • Anonymous

        Uber made this area liveable.

        • Bdylan89

          Please, you can walk to so many places. This area doesn’t need Uber. Bloomingdale is a five minute walk and so are all of the restaurants on North Capital. Union Market is an easy walk and you can walk to Shaw in 20 minutes let alone 2 metros in 10 minutes. That’s like saying Uber made H Street livable. There’s no metro close to H Street. And the street car blows and nobody wants to ride the bus.

    • Caleb

      I agree. I think because it is between four major transit routs: RI Ave, FL Ave, NY Ave. and the train tracks from Union Station. Added to that is the hilly topography that McKinley sits above and dominates over that small neighborhood impeding not only transit routes, but pedestrian walking routes.
      .
      I suppose if the CubeSmart and weird strip office park/mall were eliminated it would help. I think the best hope for Ekington to feel more cohesive is for RI Ave and N. Capital Street to see significant development at the boarders. It still will likely feel different from most of NW DC, but maybe more like a Lower Manhattan busy commuter hub like where Canal hits 7th and Ave. of The Americas….I know DC isn’t NYC, but we can maybe handle a neighborhood with a dense car/bus transit area where people still live.

      • Truxtoner

        Honestly, if they razed The Peoples Building and built on that and the adjacent empty lot, I’d argue that both Eckington and Truxton should share this area along the north side of New York Ave and use it as a business district for those two neighborhoods that generally lack any retail/dining. I’d love to see more development on those empty lots and up and down North Capitol for the Eckington and Truxton hoods. Then NOMA could stick to south of New York Ave.

        • Anon

          I don’t see them razing the People’s building anytime soon. My understanding is that DC gov has been moving more and more offices into that building, and there’s some sort of construction in the parking lot due south. (Anyone know what’s going on there?)

          • Truxtoner

            But the building isn’t owned by the city – just leased. So at some point my guess is the owners will be alright selling that plot of land when NOMA really does jump across NY Avenue. I can’t imagine they won’t make more money selling the building to a developer that would want the rest of the land. It’s kind of absurd to have a surface parking lot in the middle of the city.

            Granted, that might take Douglas Development selling the empty lot on the corner of North Cap and NY Ave adjacent to it first.

        • SWM

          There is something coming in right by that vacant lot. It looks like it will front some of the North Cap street scape. .

          http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2016/02/exclusive-aria-development-makes-big-buy-in-noma.html

  • quincy

    Awesome! Delighted to see that horrible “Z” curve disappear from the Metropolitan Branch Trail in – you guessed it — Eckington!

  • Anon

    Oh no! That barren land is historic and needs to be preserved! And now they want to put in a park instead? THIS IS ABSURD!

  • EckRez

    Woo hoo, another park coming to Eckington (not NoMa)!

  • reality

    Yay park in Eckington – not noma!

    I notice the boundary for “noma” always moves so they can grab the development, but stay away from the old rowhomes that don’t offer them anything to show off.

  • Abby

    Yay! Love the new addition to Eckington.

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