D.C. officials break ground on The Parks at Walter Reed

WASHINGTON (ABC7) — After years of negotiation and planning, D.C. officials broke ground Monday on The Parks at Walter Reed, a 10-15 year redevelopment project to turn the grounds of the old Walter Reed Army hospital into public use.

The project is expected to create 3.1 million square-feet of residential, office, and retail space in the area that was abandoned when the Army moved its operations out to Bethesda in the newly named Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, formerly known as the National Naval Medical Center and often referred to as the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Plans for the conversion began in 2009 and has included more than 100 public meetings. The District of Columbia acquired 66 acres of the former Walter Reed site from the Army in October 2016, with an agreement to pay about $22 million for the property.

“Big city projects take a long time and it takes a lot of people to stay persistent and committed to getting them done,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in October when she signed the paperwork formally transferring control over the property.

The mayor started working on the idea in 2007 when she was a local ANC commissioner, then continued as Ward 4 Councilmember, and then as mayor.

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, the project will create 6,000 jobs, and 2,100 units of housing, including 432 “affordable” units, and will generate nearly one billion dollars in revenue over 30 years.

Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and representatives from the master development team Hines, Urban Atlantic, and Triden, joined the mayor at the ground breaking.

The statement from the mayor says The Parks at Walter Reed will be phased in over a 10-15 year period and will include:

  • More than 2,100 units of rental and for-sale housing, including 432 affordable units of affordable housing;
  • 150,000-250,000 square-feet of grocery-anchored retail;
  • 185,000 square-feet of office space;
  • a 200-key hotel and conference center;
  • 30,000 square-feet of arts and cultural space;
  • 116,000 square-feet of ambulatory medical care provided by Howard University Hospital;
  • the District of Columbia International School (middle-high school) and the Latin American Montessori Bilingual School (elementary school);
  • and nearly 20 acres of open space, community parks, and plazas.

The DC International School is already renovating one of the old, historic buildings for their new school, which is scheduled to open for the 2017-18 academic year. With more than 700 students, the non-profit school was selected by the District to be part of the project.

In 2015, officials broke ground on the old Walter Reed campus for a new $12 million state-of-the-art fire station, the new Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Engine Company 22.