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.
7 responses to “Deputy Mayor Hoskins Says Hill East is a “Weak Market””
What a joke–it’s one of the hotter-selling zipcodes in DC, several analyses have shown. That may not equal development potential but we all suspect the only delay is the city has no good plan to replace the homeless shelter, jail, etc so it’s moving slowly here.
There’s a difference between a ‘hot selling zip code’ and open, unused, unplanned and lord-knows-what federal/local restrictions and/or environmental issues an untested commercial parcel holds.
Thank goodness! Maybe we have a few more years until Ward 6 is so gentrified as to be an affront to democracy…. Those who don’t like a diverse and vibrant neighborhood can move right across the river — I think there are even some luxury condos located directly in shopping malls over there.
That’s a laugh. Gentrification in Ward 6 started over a decade ago. Missed the luxury condos, hipster restaurants, and overabundance of bars all over the ward, did ja? Haven’t been paying attention much I see?
And exactly how is a ward “gentrifying” an affront to democracy?
And if Hill East is in a “weak market” now, I’d like to see it when it’s really smokin’! Houses all around me are being bought up, renovated, some split into tiny condos, and the hipsters have taken over H Street NE. Yeah, really weak. Maybe if they’d actually have carried out the master plan for Res 13, building more houses, affordable housing, and retail space, maybe the area wouldn’t be so “weak.”
I’ve never had much faith in our latest probably corrupt mayor and his staff. This just shows me they’re out of touch with what’s really happening under their watch. Time to vote for a mayoral candidate that hasn’t sat on the City Council for decades. Time to break the cycle.
There is more to the story than Hoskins is revealing. There is a movement to have DC bid for the 2024 Olympics, and the Mayor is involved in pushing this. What isn’t clear to most is what that means for various city controlled parcels. The obvious Olympic stadium is a redevelopment of RFK, which a lot of people outside of the area want as a means to bring the ‘Skins back in 2026 when their FedEx lease runs out. That means we also need a place for the athlete’s village, and that is, in my estimation, why there has been so much resistance from the Gray admin to do anything with Res. 13, it’s an ideal spot for athlete housing, and they don’t want to mess up that opportunity by having any residents in that parcel to complain.
I will say, on the bright side, that would almost certainly mean a relocation of the jail and redevelopment of DC General into something other than a homeless shelter. Once the athlete’s village has served its purpose, it could be turned into market rate or subsidized housing, maybe a combination of the two.
Other parcels that could get redeveloped: the Anacostia waterfront between Mass and Pennsylvania, the Benning Road powerplant (stadium site), and any other large parcel that’s languished in development purgatory.
I certainly have mixed feelings on it, but if it can bring the new metro lines and redevelopment of some of these sites sooner, I am more for it than against it.