Massive Walter Reed Redevelopment to Break Ground Next Year
Ethan Rothstein – Bisnow
Developers of the 66-acre Parks at Walter Reed, the site of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center that’s slated for a massive overhaul, say they expect to break ground before the end of 2016.
Hines Interests and Urban Atlantic, the JV that won DC’s bid for development rights on the site in 2013, are planning on building 250k SF of retail, 2,000 housing units, a Hyatt hotel and conference center, and an “Innovation Core” of offices anchored by George Washington University, MIT and bioscience/pharmaceutical companies. The team has been participating in monthly community advisory committee meetings to get input from neighbors. At last month’s meeting, Urban Atlantic development partner Caroline Kenney said the JV anticipates the first part of the project to begin construction in late 2016.
The DC City Council could approve the transfer of the land from the Army late this year and simultaneously approve a 99-year ground lease to the Hines-Urban Atlantic JV. Caroline said in the meeting, according to a public transcript, that she expects permitting to take six to nine months after the sale closes, after which “we’d want to get started as soon as we can.”
Caroline said the first part of the massive project to be built will likely be the southern portion along Aspen Street NW, since the modern hospital site farther north will take a long time to demolish. Whole Foods has its eyes on anchoring the retail portion of the site—Roadside Development’s failed bid included an exclusive deal with Wegmans—and a developer just paid $7M for a development site across Georgia Avenue from the project. The expansive site stretches from Georgia to 16th Street NW and from Aspen to Fern Street. The 3.1M SF project will come with 20 acres of green space, and Hines and Urban Atlantic have promised $1B in direct investment to the District in exchange for the development rights.