D.C. Council Tackles McMillan, Initial Comments Favorable

If the vocal opposition to the 25-acre McMillan Sand Filtration Plant redevelopment counted on the D.C. Council to halt the massive project, then they were likely disappointed by the earliest moments of Wednesday’s council hearing on the disposition of the site.

I’ll have my eye on what is expected to be an all-day D.C. Council public hearing on the disposition of McMillan to a private development team, Vision McMillan Partners, led by Trammell Crow, EYA and Jair Lynch Development Partners. But the initial comments from key council members, including the District’s mayor-elect, suggest this is a deal that will be approved before the end of the year.

While she wants to ensure the pact is solid, wise and feasible, Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, D-Ward 4, said she is “pleased we are here to move forward.” Bowser is, of course, D.C.’s next mayor, and current chair of the council’s economic development committee.

“I look forward to the fence being removed,” said Councilman Kenyan McDuffie, D-Ward 5, a resident of the Stronghold neighborhood that borders McMillan and a longtime supporter of the McMillan redevelopment.

The $720 million McMillan project, McDuffie said, will “really make use of the 25-acre site which heretofore has really been more of an eyesore.”

Eight years in the making, McMillan is to include 146 townhomes from EYA, 531 apartments in two buildings (one anchored by a supermarket) from Jair Lynch, 1 million square feet of health care-dominated office space from Trammell Crow, an 8-acre central park and a 17,000-square-foot community center.

The D.C. Zoning Commission approved the planned-unit development in late September. A week later, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray submitted the proposed land disposition and surplus declaration to the council, which we broke down here.

The estimated sales price for the land is $30 million, and the District will invest more than $70 million in the development, mainly in infrastructure. Adam Weers, a principal with Trammell Crow, said the project at buildout is expected to generate roughly $1.2 billion for the District over the next 30 years, netting a fiscal impact for the city of $875 million.

“The District’s return on its investment is outstanding,” Weers said.

Opponents, naturally, disagree. The Friends of McMillan organization is well represented at the hearing, having urged its supporters to testify against the “proposed giveaway of public parkland.” The group also has launched a campaign to raise funds for its anticipated legal appeal of the Zoning Commission’s decision. The campaign had raised $9,248 as of Wednesday morning.

View the article on BizJournals.com.