Friday, June 17, 2011

ANC4B Large Tract Review committee releases recommendations for the development of Square 2986

Here is the final report from ANC4B's Large Tract Review committee. The committee (of which I am a member) has been tasked with reading and responding to the Large Tract Review for Square 2986 (aka the Curtis Chevrolet site), which developer Foulger-Pratt submitted to the DC Office of Planning, a necessary step in their current plans to build a 102,000 square foot Walmart on the site. The report contains recommendations from the committee. Note that because this is a matter of right project, the committee refrained from critiquing the planned tenant, as this is something the ANC (or the city, for that matter) has no control over.

The full report:

LTR Report Final 2011-5-23

And the summary:

LTR Report Summary Recommendations 2011-5-23

Here's a summary-of-the-summary, in case you don't feel like poring over the PDF (but at the same time I must tell you that it's well worth at least skimming the report, particularly to see the images used to illustrate our points).

  • The project should be mixed-use, but the current plans call for single-use. Foulger-Pratt isn’t entertaining the idea of making it mixed-use, despite repeated urging from planners and the Upper Georgia Avenue Great Streets Redevelopment Plan, and despite the fact that Walmart has demonstrated with their proposals for their stores in Ward 6 and in Tysons Corner that they are more than willing to locate their stores within mixed-use projects. The single-use nature of the plan is not the result of Walmart insisting on it, it’s the result of Foulger-Pratt’s reluctance to build mixed-use.

    Therefore, a phased mixed-use development that would allow for the addition of upper-story housing at a later date should be explored. If Foulger-Pratt is not willing to agree to a phased project, the committee asserts that the proposed 75 year lease for this project is not in the public interest, and that a shorter lease term is more appropriate.

  • The transportation impacts of the project are significant. Considering plans for streetcar service on Georgia Avenue, as well as the future redevelopment of Walter Reed, the failing intersection of Georgia and Missouri Avenues should be reconstructed in order to increase capacity and relieve congestion. Doing so would be a major undertaking, however it’s an important long-term investment for the growth of Georgia Avenue. At the same time, none of the land surrounding the intersection is city-owned, which gives DDOT few opportunities to reconfigure the streets there.

    Construction of the Georgia Avenue streetcar line should be prioritized before this project commences, in order to reduce traffic that would occur as a result of Georgia Avenue’s limited public transportation options.

  • The city should do an economic impact analysis of the store and prepare a mitigation strategy.

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