Friday, February 25, 2011

Tregoning on how GSA's spurning of Walter Reed land is a game-changer

DC Office of Planning director Harriet Tregoning was on Kojo Nnamdi's show yesterday, and she had some interesting things to say about how the land that the General Services Administration rescinded could impact Walter Reed's future redevelopment. If the city manages to acquire all of the Georgia Avenue frontage, the plan could be significantly altered to include a "major employment center," said Tregoning.

Tregoning: Well, I wish I could be a lot more specific about Walter Reed. But the federal government has not yet told us exactly how they want to dispose of the sites, so we were well along in the planning process that kind of divided the site, I would say roughly east and west. But now, it looks like we might divide it more north and south, where we would get all of the Georgia Avenue frontage potentially. So we're still talking to the army about how that's gonna happen. GSA is apparently no longer interested in any part of the site, so it's really the state department, the army and us, talking about this.

Nnamdi: General Services Administration being GSA. So all of those discussions that my neighbors and I went to were in vain?

Tregoning: No. Because we're gonna still get most of the site that we did the planning around, but it does change the picture a bit, you know, if we're able to get the entire Georgia Avenue frontage. And we might put roads in different places. We -- and then we might even look at some other, perhaps more ambitious uses, if we have a large site that could potentially be a major employment center and the ability to accommodate the transportation that would be coming to and from.

Wal-Mart was also discussed at another point during the show. Tregoning answered a question about why Wal-Mart is being "forced" on Ward 4: "Well, that's also a good question in terms of forcing it on places. I mean, basically, I wish I could say that we dictate exactly what and where things get located. We zone, and if it's a permissible use by the zoning, it really depends on whether there's a market for it." Unfortunately she didn't touch on the traffic issues that a development of its stature will bring to the Georgia/Missouri Avenue NW node; a discussion that will come up once the Large Tract Review is released.

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