Wednesday, September 01, 2010

potential implications on the McMillan Sand Filtration site development if Vince Gray wins

More discussion about the development of Bloomingdale's McMillan Sand Filtration site.

These two messages were posted at the HistoricWashington list at Yahoogroups.

The first post is from Bloomingdale resident Mehdi Mansouri:

McMillan Sand Filtration May be saved if Gray Wins
Posted by: ``peoplescouncil`` peoplescouncil
Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:30 pm (PDT)

After talking with some active community members it seems the majority think, as Mayor, Gray is likely to change the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, who is said to be a major force behind the plan for demolition of the McMillan Sand Filtration (just so that EYA and other contractors can take over its land and continue receiving money and tax incentives from the City). However, even with a new Deputy, nothing may change, b
ecause another person solidly in EYA`s pocket (and trying fiercely to get McMillan given away to EYA) is CM Harry Thomas, seemingly on very good terms with Gray. There is obviously no guarantee the new Deputy would be any different than the current one. Still, a change of Deputies would delay the process, which would give us a chance to see if we can save McMillan.

One indication that a potential mayoral change could be in McMillan`s favor, is that the current ``Manager`` of this project (Mr. Clint Jackson, from the office of ``Economic Development (for corrupt businesses, of course and not for people)``) is now pushing very hard to get the McMillan development plan approved in September and the contracts finished in October. It would be helpful if we could get a commitment from Gray that, should he become the Mayor, he will stop the McMillan Project to allow for a new one to start that would be run by concerned citizens (unlike the current process that is being run by puppets of EYA and other businesses dressed as Deputies and Managers in the DC Government). I hope we can form a group for saving McMillan and discuss how to proceed.

Mehdi Mansouri
(202)657- 6457

1b. Re: McMillan Sand Filtration May be saved if Gray Wins
Posted by: ``Paul Sieczkowski``
Wed Sep 1, 2010 5:51 am (PDT)

Saved? The development may move slower if Gray wins but what does saved mean? Its a neglected site. How does prolonged neglect equate to saving it?

There are definitely citizens that feel development of the site is warranted and that the current plans on the table are reasonable. All the EYA projects I`ve seen in the city are successful. This includes projects in Capitol Hill, the U Street area (two blocks behind Ben`s chili bowl) and townhomes being erected a few blocks from the Nationals stadium.

This idea of what`s best for the people is not shared by everyone.

Paul Sieczkowski


JohnDC said...

My home is a few blocks away from the site and I fully back the development. I'm not sure what exactly is being "saved" by holding back.

Allison said...

I agree with both sides, actually, but it's important to note that the person trying to delay is not looking to prevent development, but to prevent DEMOLITION of an historic and fascinating architecturaly history. Anyone who has walked or driven by the site can imagine those stacks being a wonderful attraction, but the current plan tears most of them down.

So, don't stop the project, but put it on pause for a few months, publish clear plans, allow feedback and try to save the historic architecture that could be so lovely in the context of a renovated site!

Todd said...

I've worked for years in Cultural preservation and i for one will not cry to see McMillian go...yes, you can keep a tower or two, but c''s not doing any good as it is now.

That said, the piece of land on which it sits is a truly unique opportunity. We have the opportunity to really create something great for the community there... or we can let developers just grub their way to big profits.
I think the way Colombia Heights has been developed is a total outdoor big box mall that has jammed up traffic. I would hate to see something like that at McMillian. I would on the other hand love to see something like Chicago's Millenium Park or an Eastern Market type development....something to make our side of the city truly great. Not just another Home Depot/ Giant type of parking lot development...what a disaster.

TheCommiss said...

@ Paul---I agree EYA has done some great work in the city and at other historical sites in the metro area. The main reason they were chosen and confirmed by MAG during the RFP was for their great work and their attention to details when dealing with sites such as McMillan.

@ Allison---Once again misinformation most likely coming from Mr. Mansouri and the Our McMillan group. The fact is that almost all of the silos and pump houses will be saved under the current plan.

@Todd---I agree with you. Currently McMillan has been costing the city about $200k a years in maintenance, security, etc. And the city gets nothing in return. We have seen over the past 30 years various groups stop development for this site. We finally have something started again only to have these radical groups from outside the area again attempting to stop the project. So you know, a park, restoration of the McMillan water fountain, recreational fields, amphitheater, place to use for a farmer’s market, and more are all items on the current plan. I can assure you that this is not a money grab for the developer either. It’s is an opportunity for everyone, and we need to take that opportunity while we can. Many plans have been thwarted by these groups.

All in all…listen to half of what you see and none of what you hear! There will be upcoming public meetings with the developer over this month and the next few so that everyone can see the plans and ask questions. In essence it’s being proposed that 1/3 be public/open/green space 1/3 housing and 1/3 office/retail/commercial.

Rene said...

Less is better. I live two blocks away, and just a small development on the end of our street (putting an abandoned warehouse back in service) has caused a major increase in noise, litter, etc. The influx of workers to that end of the block had definately changed the feel of that little bit of DC.

I went on the EYA site to see what the development would look like and the proposal is very different from what the neighborhood is like now -- packed with apartments and the cement filtration sites are strangley placed between rows of apartment buildings.

I have no idea how the local roads would handle the traffic. My street is a cut-through street and so we would be bear a lot of weight. I admit though that I love the target and other stores in Columbia Heights and shop there all the time.

I have lived around here for twenty years and people have been talking about this the whole time. At first I took it seriously. Anybody remember Andy Altman and the endless weekends we all spent talking about this in the past and the reams of documents that were handed out and the thousands spent on studies and consultants? I was sitting next to an older lady and she told me, "by the time they do something on that land, I will be dead." It won't be long before I can say that.

Maybe, in the meantime, the city could open the "safe" end (where it isn't crumbling underground) as a temporary park so we can use the space while the discussions continue. One day, the fence was open and I got the opportunity to walk around and it was very mysterious and wonderful.

TheCommiss said...

@Rene--Sorry to hear about the noise issue at 300 Bryant St. We have worked with DPW to get trucks to enter from the west side and not 2nd street, and to reduce the noise from workers. However, to your credit, you have pointed out the warehouse and it was/is a commercial space for many years. Something was always going to happen there, and it’s much better to have something than nothing. A presence in the building and workers coming and going will help with crime too. As for the McMillan site, plans are still changing and I understand some of the density has been reduced and will be reflected in the plan presented that at the next public meeting. As for the “the safe end”, there is no safe end. There are many dangers on the site and the site was never ever open to the public. The site had a walkway around it but was closed off due to the manholes and other dangers presented by the industrial use of the site. What McMillan is in essence is an industrial site that has grass planted and prickly bushes put around it so that it appears more pleasing to the eye. IT WAS NEVER A PARK OR OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. This misconception is just another ploy by the McMillan Park Committee, Our McMillan and Mr. Mansouri to stop all development at the site. An opportunity we can not let pass us by for the 4th time over the past 30 years.

As for Vince Gray stopping the development, I highly doubt that! If anything Gray will most likely be looking for opportunities to expand the tax base. Frankly the current analysis is that DC stands to gain over $570 million dollars in economic benefit by this project. That’s our entire summer jobs program budget for the next 30 years! Let’s not forget the jobs, affordable housing and senior living benefits.

QoS said...

What arrogance for us to assume the decision to demolish a piece of history falls to us, the people who live in DC now, in 2014! If previous generations thought like this, Rome would have no Coliseum, Athens would have no Parthenon, etc. Buy into "we are living in the end times" if you want, but the rest of us are betting that civilization will continue, at least for a few more generations. Are we really going to tell our children, "Sure, it was special, but not as special as having a 7-11 within walking distance!"