Tuesday, February 26, 2013

revised McMillan site plan -- note that the entire bottom of the tripartite is park space

This past Thursday evening, 02-21-2013, a McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) meeting was held at All Nations Baptist Church.  The Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) team provided an updated concept for the site, now that DC Water is pursuing its infrastructure project and using some cells in the southwest corner and northeast corner of the site.

You can see the concept drawing below.

Note that the entire bottom of the tripartite is park space.  VMP would spend time with the MAG planning the actual final park layout and amenities.  

Some other strategic changes of note (not comprehensive!):
  • Once DC Water vacates the site, a one-acre park will be created in the northeast corner of the site at Cell 14
  • The rowhouses, previously located along the southern border of the site, are * north * of the southern silo/regulator corridor.  So no rowhouses along Channing Street as in the prior renderings.
  • More vehicular connectivity/permeability - less public space, but wider sidewalks in North Service Court
  • More open space, larger Central Park - no flexibility on density and heights
  • More preservation of the elevated Olmstead Walk -- less setback along North Capitol Street 
  • Five floors of housing would be constructed over the grocery.
  • The grocery would be a * premium * grocery [place your bets now]
  • Integrated affordable housing throughout -- no dedicated affordable Senior Housing
VMP will attend/present at ANC 5E, 5A and 1B at commission chairs' discretion.

Mark your calendars for a Community Meeting on Preliminary Building Designs on Saturday, April 20, 2013, 10 am to 12 noon.

Here is a concept drawing for the big park space on the southern end of the site -- the bottom of the tripartite. Again, just a concept for now!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Scott!

    Did they have a power point that might be available soon? Hope they will present at the next 5E meeting.

  2. To my eye, this plan makes so much more sense than the previous one. What i like: Increased green space....this is the same size as Lafayette park and the raised portion of Meridian Hill (Malcom X) park....so it is very sizable. That would make it one of the largest parks in the city (excluding Rock Creek and the Mall of course). The design of the park i think needs additional thought ... i still don't love the idea of locating the amphitheatre along N. Capitol... not until they make major changes to the road...it's just not that nice to sit along an inner city highway. Unsure that they will ever really revamp N. Capitol..so for now its a noisy, unpleasant reality to deal with and not something you want to lounge next to.

    Also, this is plan much more residential than commercial...i think this makes sense because 1) I didn't want to see big box stores move in and create another Columbia Heights fiasco; 2) I didn't want to put our fledgling neighborhood businesses and restaurants out of business. Having more residential activates the public space, creates additional biz for local businesses and reduces the "national" competition (ie big box stores) for local business.

    Premium Grocery Store...sign me up.

    Things i think could be improved: Still don't love the use of the south service court as a road...it doesn't seem that necessary.......the housing already has access to both N. Capitol and 1st street). it should at most be a gravel road (like those on the Mall) that is used to service the Community Center only). This would make it feel more like part of the park than a part of the pavement.

    I still think we need an area for our rapidly expanding farmers market that will soon outgrow R street. That could be worked into the park.

    I like the idea of a playground for kids in the park somewhere..spray park idea was great.

    I like the idea of an outside beer garden and concert space (Not on N. Capitol!) that could be just next to the Community Center...a place to sit and drink and talk and people watch...perhaps with some restaurant there or something.

    I liked the idea of the pool (in the Community Center??).

    I really like clever architecture put forward by the Catholic Univ. team for the community center... very innovative and cutting edge. That may need some private foundation financing to occur, but i like it very much and it marries well with the utility of the site as a water storage/filtering site.

    Ok bravo...this is starting to win me over. (I was a staunch opponent of the last plan).

  3. Can someone explain to me why the MAG is considered as the authority or official spokes group for the neighborhood? The MAG does not solicit opinions from neighbors or even allow participation in their meetings.

  4. Urban Turf has some new drawings.


  5. Thanks for the update, Scott! Now, for the love of God, let's make this thing happen already.

  6. I think this looks great. I know we will never make everyone happy but can we at least admit that this plan will make 51% happy and move on and get this done already. Sick of talking this to death.

  7. McMillan Park is 25 acres on Michigan and North Capitol,,,which DC govt. has wasted, fenced off and allowed to deteriorate for over 25 years. A complete waste of over $14 million, including $250,000 spent on a polluting lawn mowing debacle. An insult to every resident in this city! We have an Olmstead park which every urban planning professional in the world would die to restore. How a govt. so destructive to the public good has the arrogance today, to waste millions of dollars more, on a grudging process to over build the site with cookie-cutter developemnt while we suffer with one fifth the recreation and park space of our richer prefferred residents to the NW. A plan so mundane,, and eliminate it's potential as park "A Great Place", not the remainder left unbuilt. We need an art, cultural, and performance sustainable peoples park with job training to help these young people to stop killing each other and mugging us.
    One contributing factor to our youth crime problem is such great opportunities to benefit young people are over ruled by an all consuming city govt., with one land use model, it imposes on every available space... The diversity of opportunity we see in Glen Echo Park, so beneficial to area young people is not offered to us,,WHY? WHY is Glen Echo, in West Bethesda, a fantastic educational , art and cultural historic recreation area a priority for Montgomery County and the district does not offer this to us?
    A coalition of Maryland Parks, National Park Service, Montgomery County and an operational Glen Echo Consortium cooperates to bring 365 days a year of multiple activities to young people and adults alike. WHY don't we have the same benefits? What is it with our govt. that they do not feel we deserve the same healthy services enoyed in Bethesda?
    On Thursday, July 12, 2012, the Washington, D.C., Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) met to address the District of Columbia`s development proposal for McMillan Park submitted by Vision McMillan Partners with a Master Plan by EEK and Associates.
    There is concern the Vision McMillan proposal would result in the destruction of the site`s historic significance. Among those who have submitted letters to the HPRB objecting to such destruction are D.C. City Council Member Phil Mendelson, the Sierra Club, Howard University, and the National Association for Olmsted Parks.Hopw exactly do you turn a registered historic landmark with pending application for National Landmark status INTO A SEWER?
    An alternative plan was presented by Collage City Studio on behalf of McMillan Park Committee and Friends of McMillan Park, who oppose the District of Columbia`s development proposal for the historic water filtration site. Points of contention with the Vision McMillan Partners` plan include its lack of compliance with the District of Columbia`s Historic Preservation Regulations and its destruction of much of the landscape`s historic fabric, which the plan replaces with 2.2 million square feet of conventional mixed-use development.

  8. Thanks for the info, Scott. Do you have any idea of the location for the April community meeting?

  9. Ian: I suspect that Vision McMillan Partners may still be working on a location for the Saturday, April 20, 2013 meeting. We will be sure to advise the community accordingly. Stay tuned.

  10. Same unimaginative crap. Thanks for your idea to turn this Olmstead park into another Shirlington.

    Keep spending our money, EYA!

  11. Hey guys, I agree that this current rendering isn't so impressive as to really inspire... all i mean is that i think that this layout has the "bones" to be a good plan. The basic layout is much more amenable to it. Course, the actual park itself can be greatly improved upon. The reality is that this is a 6.3 acre park... it's a good deal for us. I would love for the entire thing to be a park, but i don't think it's going to happen. DC sees the place as a revenue generator. this is more of a compromise...but I'm afraid that compromise is what's in order now. Just to get this park is sort of miracle...it took a whole series of neighborhood floods to happen. Otherwise, we really would have a Shirlington or Columbia Heights on our hands. This is think could be something different....maybe a Shirlington on the far side, but I think that, with some foundation dollars, the Park could be turned into something world class that will make your forget the other side.