Articles from dcist.com and Greater Greater Washingtonblog about Reservation 13 and the Mayor’s Plan for the Redskins.
I will keep everyone posted about development on Reservation 13.
Best, Lisa White- ANC Commissioner SMD 7D01 Kingman Park
Article from dcist.com blog:
When Mayor Vince Gray and Councilmembers Michael Brown (I-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) visited Tampa late last year to take a look at the state-of-the-art training facility used by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it could have seemed like an ongoing exercise in wishful thinking to get the Redskins back to move their Ashburn-based training facility into the District. Maybe not.
On Monday, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins met with a group of ANC commissioners from wards 6 and 7 to discuss stalled plans for Reservation 13, the 67-plot of land where RFK Stadium, the old D.C. General Hospital and the D.C. Jail are currently located. According to Lisa White, a Ward 7 ANC commissioner who attended the meeting, Hoskins told them that longstanding plans for the site’s redevelopment were on hold while Gray continues discussions with team officials over a possible Redskins training facility.
Jose Sousa, Hoskins’ spokesman, confirmed that the discussions were taking place. “There have been ongoing informal conversations between the Mayor and the team for some time,” wrote Sousa in an email.
Much to the chagrin of the commissioners who attended the meeting, though, Hoskins said he had no further information on any potential Redskins training facility or how it might impact existing plans for mixed-use development on the site. The most he could offer was that District would know whether a training facility is in the cards within 30 days.
Neil Glick, a Ward 6 ANC commissioner, said that while he wasn’t averse to the idea of a training facility, he and fellow neighborhood leaders were frustrated with the lack of communication or clarity from the city on how it planned to move forward — training facility or not.
“Reservation 13 is always on hold,” he said. “They just don’t have a plan. What’s something like this going to do for us?”, he asked of the training facility. (Glick’s colleague Brian Flahaven sounded a similarly frustrated tone in a blog post on the meeting.)
Gray’s overtures to Snyder haven’t gone unnoticed by officials in Loudoun County, who in January repeated an offer to build the team a Hall of Fame at the existing training facility. The potential for a bidding war between various jurisdictions over the Redskins’ training facility makes Glick nervous, he admitted.
“D.C. has a really bad history of doing nothing to help small business owners while offering oodles of tax breaks to corporations,” he said. Glick, who’s a realtor and real estate investor, also seemed miffed that the city would be stalling on building housing on a site that’s next to a Metro station and bordering the Anacostia River.
According to Sousa, Hoskins’ staff will be meeting with members of the community “in the next month” to discuss standing plans for Reservation 13, and Gray will follow up with a late-March meeting on whether or not a training facility will be coming to Capitol Hill.
Article from Greater Greater Washington:
Mayor Gray’s office is stalling any progress on a plan to build a new mixed-use neighborhood that has widespread community support, because they’d rather turn over the land to the Washington Redskins for a practice facility that won’t do anything for the community or DC.
7 ANC commissioners met last night with Victor Hoskins, DC’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to discuss “Hill East,” also known as Reservation 13. After a long process with thorough public participation, DC created a plan to build a “vibrant, mixed-use urban waterfront community” on 50 acres of the site.
Based on reports from ANC commissioner Brian Flahaven, it appears that vibrancy and tree-lined public streets are taking a back seat to large empty football field-sized spaces closed to the public:
The Mayor’s Office is continuing to negotiate with Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins to build a training facility at Reservation 13. Until the outcome of the negotiations is determined, any development plans for Reservation 13 remain on hold.
Commissioners strongly pushed back that the community must be involved in the decision about a training facility on the site and expressed frustration that the Mayor is not seeking feedback from residents. Deputy Mayor Hoskins said that his office is not involved in the negotiations. …
The Deputy Mayor said his office should know whether the city will pursue a training facility or continue with the current development plans in 30 days. If plans for a training facility do not move forward, he said that the city would return to development plans approved by the community. … The Deputy Mayor also said that any training facility proposal would have to be consistent with the zoning for the site. …
All 9 Commissioners, representing Wards 6 & 7, agreed that Mayor Gray needs to come out to the community and explain how a potential training facility fits into the master development plan agreed to by residents.
It’s possible to vaguely imagine a way that a practice facility could be part of a mixed-use neighborhood. For example, the Redskins could build practice fields and any necessary parking entirely underground, then put surface streets, parks, and buildings on top of them. Their offices could occupy a building with ground-floor retail that’s open to the public.
Dan Snyder could build all of this entirely with his own money, in this very urban way. But does anyone seriously believe that is possible? This is the guy who tried to charge people just to walk into his stadium instead of paying huge parking fees. Would he actually want to design practice fields that fit into a good neighborhood landscape when he has a perfectly good, entirely private facility in Ashburn?
Maybe if the District built the whole thing and gave it to him for free, he’d accept the deal, but it would be a terrible bargain for taxpayers. If he paid money for it, why would he want to spend extra money just to essentially make the facility invisible and unobtrusive?
Certain city leaders seem to believe that bringing the Redskins to DC is worth virtually any cost simply for the civic pride involved in having an NFL team inside one’s borders. We know Jack Evans has a massive blind spot for organized sports. He abhors spending government money on anything except sports facilities, where the sky’s the limit. We know that Michael Brown doesn’t know any better. We should expect better from Mayor Gray.