University Partner Vies For Walter Reed Land
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 02:08
Georgetown University’s partner firm in master planning, Forest City Washington, is on the short list for redevelopment of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Mayor Vincent Gray will choose a developer for the 67-acre tract of land, located in the District’s Ward 4 near the Maryland border, that the District is expected to receive from the Army for redevelopment, though some of the land will be occupied by the State Department. The location has been vacant since Walter Reed closed in 2011.
Georgetown announced its partnership with Forest City on this project in a campus-wide email July 12. Since then, Forest City has presented to D.C. officials, as did other finalists under consideration. Georgetown’s campus at the site would include graduate programs and research facilities, as well as the possibility of collaboration with other institutions, though the exact nature of its programming is still unclear.
The Forest City team’s plan contains four interconnected neighborhood districts and related open space, which will surround a central area. This core would include Georgetown’s innovation center, restaurants, retail shops and a park.
Retailers including Wegmans, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter have been suggested by Forest City developers as possibilities for the space.
The three finalists — Forest City, Roadside Development and Hines-Urban Atlantic-Triden — launched project websites in early August, each detailing specific visions for the area. The three proposals all meet the project team’s requirements that the plans integrate the site with the community through public benefits, provide a variety of possibilities for use by the community, create jobs and revenue for the District and minimize vacancies on the site.
“We are actively engaged in master planning and therefore don’t yet know exactly what programs we would locate off of our current campus,” university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr said. “We’re still in the middle of the [process], which includes evaluating what makes most sense on the main campus, what would make more sense to have in another part of the city. We envision a sort of innovation hub that could really look at partnerships in new ways.”
Roadside’s plan proposes four distinct neighborhoods with an institutional core, like the proposal presented by Forest City. The Roadside proposal, however, specifies two residential areas, a town center and a park, as well as partnerships with Wegmans and the Children’s National Medical Center.
Wegmans, which will be located in the town center area, would pull shoppers from surrounding communities to create new retail opportunities. Roadside co-founder Richard Lake told The Washington Post that if Roadside’s proposal is chosen, he could open Wegmans by 2017.
The Children’s National Medical Center would be located in the institutional core and include a caregiver and first responder museum, which would be dedicated to the memory of people who served at the former Walter Reed hospital.
Hines Urban Atlantic’s proposal, named The Park at Walter Reed, focused on parks and recreational space.
“Our mission is to re-introduce the community to Walter Reed,” Hines Senior Vice President Chuck Waters told The Washington Post.
The institutional core is anchored in the life and health sciences, with partnerships with The George Washington University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Biotrial, a contract research organization for drug development and clinical services. Hines Urban Atlantic also presented two plans for retail space, one for a large format retailer and the other for a smaller specialty grocer.
Comments on the proposals are open until Sept. 25.