DC picks planner for Walter Reed site

By Jonathan O'Connell
Monday, April 26, 2010

Perkins and Will, the Chicago-based architecture and design firm, will serve as master planner for the 62 acres of Walter Reed Army Medical Center that D.C. is preparing to acquire from the Department of Defense when the hospital relocates next year.

D.C Mayor Adrian Fenty picked the company from 15 competing for the work -- a sign of a competitive market for municipal planning work.

The company's experience planning re-use of another military facility, the Presidio of San Francisco, played heavily into its selection, according to Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan. "We saw a lot of commonalities in their work for the Presidio Trust and the work that we'd like to see them do here," he said.

The two properties are similar in that they feature urban military hospitals surrounded by communities eager for economic development, according to James Wood, Perkins and Will principal. He said residents in upper neighborhoods of Northwest have been anticipating new amenities and open space at Walter Reed for years, even as the city just begins to prepare a plan to present to the Army in the coming year.

"The District feels like this is a start and the community feels like we're halfway around the track already," he said.

The planning work will be funded in part by a $1.4 million Department of Defense grant, according to the city.

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