Monday, October 28, 2013

WBJ: "DC's proposed McMillan redevelopment winning over planners"

See this post from Washington Business Journal reporter Michael Neibauer:
D.C.'s proposed McMillan redevelopment winning over planners
Michael Neibauer, Staff Reporter- Washington Business Journal
Oct 28, 2013, 5:46pm EDT
The team behind D.C.`s 25-acre McMillan redevelopment is finally winning over the District`s Historic Preservation Office.
``For the first time, it looks like a destination you would want to seek out to experience its distinct sense of place; one that includes equally interesting historic and new features balanced and blended compatibly together,`` HPO staff wrote of the latest plan from Vision McMillan Partners, in advance of the Historic Preservation Review Board`s Oct. 31 meeting.

The proposed McMillan redevelopment includes a community center and park, the resurrection of the looping Olmstead Walk, 161 rowhouses from EYA, a grocery store-anchored mixed-use building from Jair Lynch Development Partners and two medical office buildings from Trammell Crow Co. The decommissioned water treatment plant, bounded by Michigan Avenue, North Capitol, Channing and First Streets, was designated a historic landmark in the early 1990s.

The design revisions are a ``significant improvement over previous versions and now retains the significant above-grade topographical, architectural and engineering features that were identified by the Board as the most important,`` staff wrote in the report.

Those would include sand bins, regulator houses, sand washers, some service court walls and two below-grade cells that will be retained and reused in the new development. The revised master plan, staff writes, ``would retain significant character-defining features of the landmark sufficient to convey its historic character.``

More good news for Vision McMillan from the report:. The revised development plan concept is ``dramatically improved, reflecting the high level of quality, cohesiveness and distinctiveness that have been sought by the Board`` and represent an ``architecturally cohesive, high-quality and site specific series of projects that relate to the character of the landmark.``

Opponents of the McMillan project, of which there are many, will no doubt disagree.


Todd said...

This report was produced by a single reviewer...Steve Callicot. How does that represent the entire HPRB?

Steve's report is technically does respond technically to all of the HPRB's comments...unfortunately it does so in the least creative, least distinctive and most creatively sterile way that could ever be imagined. God, just read shows the calibre of the depth of creativity that this city has. One is more inclined just believe that the entire thing has been very sophisticated way....from VMP...who have a whole bevy of jet set developers on board. Gawd, there is no way anyone with any objective eye can call this design either remotely inspiring or distinctive or reflective of anything other than their absolute willingness to shove this thing down our throats. The city is totally in bed with these guys and it's sickening to see it in such a ribald fashion.

Anna J said...

No, no, sanitorium chic is all the rage for 2013!

As one community member said, the design "Looks like Brutalism collided with a Chipotle." If we could just get some concrete playground equipment near the on-ramps to the Olmstead one of the young professionals who is planning to start a family in Bloomingdale, I think green space and good design are highly overrated.

Steve Calcott of the Preservation Review Board ( agrees!

North Capitol Home Owner said...

For what it's worth, Mr. Neibauer wrote a previous article in support of the VMP plan in which he glossed over the other side of the matter entirely (see For example, in this current article he has chosen to gloss over the fact that HPO also recommends that the HPRB "find that the proposal will result in substantial demolition, as defined in the preservation regulations, and therefore inconsistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act."

It should also be clarified that Steve Calcott is a government employee with the Historic Preservation Office and filed these recommendations. The Historic Preservation Review Board in comprised of volunteers and their opinions are not represented by Mr. Calcott or HPO.