For Hill East redevelopment proposals, deadline nears

Developers interested in overhauling two District-owned sites near the Capitol Hill neighborhood and RFK Stadium are facing a Jan. 17 deadline to submit their proposals to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Gray (D) and his deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Victor L. Hoskins, are attempting to redevelop the 67-acre Hill East area along the Anacostia River after canceling a previous solicitation that languished during the economic collapse and the 2010 election that made Gray mayor.

They are beginning with two vacant lots along 19th Street SE immediately next to the Stadium-Armory Metro station totaling 114,000 square feet. The city issued a solicitation for private partners to develop the sites in October and officials envision a mi

x of housing, offices, retail and institutional uses. Eventually the District expects to broaden Capitol Hill’s street grid to the banks of the Anacostia River, including the extension of Massachusetts Avenue as a central corridor.

“Responses are expected to have a signature design, which complements the neighborhood character, and creates a pedestrian friendly environment,” officials wrote in the solicitation.

Outside of the two vacant sites, however, the 67-acre area remains home to some of the city’s most critical social service, correctional and medical facilities, facilities that have proven difficult to relocate. The area includes 20 buildings of around 1.3 million square feet, including a drug treatment facility and the D.C. Jail.

Once those complexes are relocated, the Hill East area has been considered a candidate for any number of major future uses. Gray and members of the D.C. Council considered building a training facility for the Washington Redskins on the property and it is one of the only sites in the city large enough to accommodate a future consolidated headquarters campus for the FBI, which is itching to leave the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Development of two initial Hill East parcels is expected to kick start the area and the project is likely to attract private sector interest given its proximity to Metro and the wealthy and gentrifying neighborhoods of Capitol Hill. After Fenty sought private partners for the site, two development teams were named finalists, one led by developer Franklin L. Haney and the other by District-based William C. Smith & Co.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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