Deputy Mayor Hoskins Says Hill East is a “Weak Market”
Development of Rest of Reservation 13 Depends on Stadium-Armory Test Case
by Larry Janezich
Last night, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Victor Hoskins said that because of a “weak market,” development of additional parcels of Reservation depends on the success of the current plan for construction of two mixed use residential/retail buildings adjacent to the Stadium-Armory Metro stop. A final deal with the developer (Donatelli/Blue Skye) is being hammered out and Hoskins hopes to take it to the City Council for approval this summer. He and his team said that additional infrastructure development is needed on other parcels, including streets, water and sewer, demolition, and relocation and repurposing of current uses, but
it was not clear from his testimony whether he would request funds in the FY 2015 budget for this purpose. Reservation 13 is the 67-acre former site of DC General Hospital lying east of 19th Street in Hill East.
Hoskins and his team testified before Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s Economic Development Committee which was conducting its annual oversight hearing of the Deputy Mayor’s Office.
Asked by Bowser why it has taken a year to negotiate the Land Development Agreement with the developers of the first parcel, Hoskins and his team said that market is not as robust as in other areas of the city and the developer need to figure out a financial plan to make the project work.
Bowser followed up, asking Hoskins the overall plan for the rest of the parcels on Reservation 13. Hoskins reiterated that it is a weak market and attracting capital is difficult. He said that the Donatelli/Blue Skye project was a test, and if they get a great response, additional parcels will be developed.
Bowser’s questioning of Hoskins on the subject of Hill East was prompted by the testimony delivered earlier by ANC6B Chair Brian Flahaven. Flahavan pointedly said he wanted DMPED to be asked when will there be final agreement Donatelli/Blue Skye and how much money has the mayor’s FY15 budget allocated to Hill East. In addition, he asked whether DMPED is preparing a plan for other parcels, the timeline for the plan, what parcel would be next, and what’s been done to close DC General.
With respect to the latter, Flahaven urged Mayor Gray and DMPED to take action immediately to develop a plan to close the temporary homeless shelter at DC General and begin transitioning homeless families and individuals into better housing options and to develop a plan for transitioning social services located on the site.