Greater Greater Washington

Pepco Benning Road site is perfect for the NFL or FBI

The FBI is looking to move its headquarters, and some DC leaders are trying to woo the Redskins back to the District. The soon-to-be-shuttered Pepco power plant would make an ideal site for either one.


The Pepco plant. Image by the author from Google Maps base layer.

The FBI requires 55 acres surrounded by a large security "moat," which makes it impossible to locate downtown and undesirable in most any DC neighborhood. Prince George's and Fairfax counties are both vying to make one of their Metro stations the future home for the FBI.

As the map above shows, Pepco's main parcel (outlined in black) covers approximately 80 acres. There is plenty of space here for a new FBI headquarters. This could be an option if DC truly wanted to fight to keep the FBI here.

There would be other obstacles, though. A Senate committee required that the GSA place the FBI within 2½ miles of the Beltway, and within 2 miles of a Metro station. The Pepco site is less than ½ mile from the Minnesota Avenue Metro, but more than 5 miles from the Beltway. It is, however, adjacent to a freeway that directly connects to the Beltway in two places, but Congress would need to amend the requirement to make the Pepco site eligible.

FedEx Field, the current home of the Redskins, and its adjacent parking lots encompass approximately 160 acres. A National Park Service maintenance facility and land used as a trash-transfer station lie immediately north of the power plant. These could be combined with the plant site, creating a 90-acre parcel (outlined in red).

While this is significantly smaller than the area currently used by the Redskins, it's not much smaller than the approximately 95 acres of RFK Stadium and its adjacent parking lots, which the Redskins used for decades (when the team actually won multiple championships). Plus, a new stadium could take up less space by replacing the massive asphalt deserts that surround RFK and FedEx Field with more compact parking decks while still leaving some surface space for tailgating.


The west facade of the power plant. Imagine incorporating this into a new stadium; would you be ready to watch football at "The Powerplant"? Image from Google Maps.

The Pepco plant abuts a freeway, two Metrorail lines, a major street that provides direct access to downtown, and eventually, a streetcar line which will run along that street. Bicycle infrastructure in the form of trails and Capital Bikeshare stations are being added adjacent to the site; the Anacostia River trails are already close by. An infill Metrorail station could be built at the western end of the parcel, serving a stadium or a headquarters building as well as the River Terrace neighborhood to the south.

A serious obstacle with this site is that building anything first requires environmental remediation. While that might delay any construction there, Pepco and the District Department of the Environment have reached a preliminary agreement on site cleanup (more here and here (PDFs)). Planning for an actual use for the site could help make cleanup a higher priority for all parties involved.

A football stadium or FBI headquarters building would not foster good urbanism, but this site is already cut off from the neighborhoods to the east by the freeway, while the highway-like Benning Road and the Metrorail tracks form a formidable barrier to the south. Parkside, the neighborhood to the north, is not yet fully developed, and the Anacostia River lies directly to the west.

Administration officials are actively negotiating with the Redskins about putting a practice facility at Reservation 13, on the western side of the Anacostia. Unlike the Pepco site, this area can directly connect to the adjacent neighborhood if DC extends the street grid, as is planned.

If the District's leadership continues to insist on bringing the Redskins back, the Pepco would make more sense in the long run than Reservation 13. If they believe we shouldn't let the FBI walk away from DC, this could be a location worth looking into. In addition, there could be many other uses for this site, from adaptive reuse of the plant itself, to light industry (perhaps renewable energy generation?), a unique mixed-use neighborhood, or expanded parkland.

The District shouldn't wait to seriously plan for the reuse of this valuable piece of riverfront property, but will city leaders be able to pursue a use that's creative?

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Geoff Hatchard lived in DC's Trinidad neighborhood. The opinions and views expressed in Geoff's writing on this blog are his, and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer. 

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I would vote for the FBI going there. The lack of strong residential and retail surrounding that site mean that the overflow potential of a sports stadium wouldn't be maximized, plus the few historic buildings could be saved. Seems like a Walter Reed parcel or the MacMillan site would be better suited to the ancilary benefits of a sports stadium. Remember what all those sportscasters said about the superbowl's location in Indianapolis?

by Thayer-D on Feb 22, 2012 12:55 pm • linkreport

Putting aside the fact that the Redskins have no reason to move from their current stadium, which they own outright and make a killing off of...

You can't have parking decks at a football stadium. Tailgating is simply too much a part of the entire NFL experience. Plus getting that many cars into and out of garages at the same time is a mess. I don't think a single NFL stadium currently uses garages as part of its main parking system (some nearby private garages may be used).

Also, the NFL fan of today is very different than when RFK was last used. Today's fans are generally very wealthy and nearly all from the suburbs or further outlying areas. If you built a new stadium, this demographic would actually skew further in this direction because of higher ticket prices and seat licenses. These are people who drive and have no interest in taking Metro to the games. The NFL doesn't care at all about public transit access when it comes to site selection (and loaning money for construction). For example, the league has no problem at all with the new 49ers stadium being built in Santa Clara rather than in San Francisco.

I would be curious to see a study of Metro vs parking use by Redskins fans at FedEx field, and similar study in Philly and New York which have stadiums well connected to mass transit. I suspect that transit use may be high among stadium employees, but is very low among fans.

by dcdriver on Feb 22, 2012 12:58 pm • linkreport

Congress would need to amend the requirement to make the Pepco site eligible [for the FBI].

That is unlikely and sufficient reason to drop the proposal entirely.

by WRD on Feb 22, 2012 1:06 pm • linkreport

It's easy to look at a map and find land for something. It's not easy to find locations that match necessary timelines. I have doubts about the location being able to handle traffic for a stadium(Benning Road is highway like?), but more importantly, the land has a current owner and the site would require a long and expensive demolition and cleanup amongst other problems. I think land between the Capitol and the Washington Monument would make more sense although I'm not sure about the width of a stadium on that location. The infrastructure is already there for a FBI building though.

by selxic on Feb 22, 2012 1:07 pm • linkreport

A Pepco official would have to confirm this, but my understanding of this plant's decommissioning is that Pepco offices will remain on site, at least for a portion of the acreage. This would hinder the ability to take hold of the entire site for one sole use. I could be wrong about this though.

I've been inside this facility before, and it looks amazingly like the town built by the Dharma Initiative in Lost. It's very cool, and would be great to see transformed into a light industry/mixed-use community that preserves some of the facades, rather than tearing the whole thing down for a monolithic, heavily securitized building.

by Alison on Feb 22, 2012 1:09 pm • linkreport

Well, I'm obviously biased in my preference for the FBI to come to Prince George's, but I've always believed the "Washington" Redskins belong back in DC. The "Powerplant" might be a good location for a new stadium if RFK can't be better redeveloped.

Still, this parcel would probably be better used for a high-density mixed-use development. Eighty acres is plenty space for a vibrant urban neighborhood -- and the Anacostia River frontage would make a great amenity. The streetcar line will eventually extend there, and if you also had the infill River Terrace Metro stop there, it would really be a hot spot.

by Bradley Heard on Feb 22, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

Congress won't amend the requirement, this site is not an option for the FBI.

As for the Redskins, FedEx field is on around 200 acres and this site has less than half that. I'm just going to throw it out there that Snyder actually prefers millions of extra dollars every year in revenue by staying in Landover over making a few DC residents happy by physically moving the team here...

by Nicoli on Feb 22, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

Due to the environmental problems, the development of the Pepco site won't happen for many years. This is much like the McMillan site, which has been in limbo since 1987. Reservation 13 take precedence, and that has been in play for at least 10 years. Ain't gonna happen.

Personally I think the best use of this site should be a mixed use street grid with a strong residential development, with a new buried Metro station.

by goldfish on Feb 22, 2012 1:36 pm • linkreport

Piggybacking on dcdriver's and Alison's statements I'd say let both the FBI and the Redskins stay out in the suburbs. Cities should be dense places of integrated uses, not island moats of isolated single use. Most FBI workers are going to be living in the burbs as are most Skins fans and would appreciate a transsuburban commute. FBI workers and/or Redskins season ticket holders aren't going to be going to nearby restaurants and watering holes, shopping, or any other amenities around their facilities. FedEx Field didn't exactly resurrect Landover Mall and I haven't seen a whole lot of fans hanging out in the Boulevard at Cap Centre after games either. They're going for their purpose and getting out of Dodge afterwards. Why create large space-killing behemoths that tie up prime, riverside land for decades to come?

by Mike O on Feb 22, 2012 1:38 pm • linkreport

I heard that this site might serve as an underground storage yard for MARC/AMTRAK/METRO trains. That would probably make FBI HQ impossible. But I haven't heard that rumor repeated in a long time.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 1:41 pm • linkreport

Even at the most optimistic estimates, Metro couldn't handle more than half the average-sized crowd at a Redskins game.

Simply put, Metro accessibility isn't a great goal for a new stadium. It should certainly connect to Metro if possible (the siting of the Largo station is just plain stupid), but acres of parking are more or less a necessity.

*(If a fully-empty 8-car train arrived at the stadium every 4 minutes, you could shuttle approximately 20,000 people out of the stadium per hour in each direction. If you had two fully-separated Metro lines converging at the stadium, stations that could handle the load, and could guarantee that a reasonable portion of the crowd would be travelling East, you might be able to accommodate about 2/3 of the crowd. You'd also be wasting a heck of a lot of infrastructure on a building that only gets used a dozen times a year. The economic benefits of a football stadium just don't add up.

by andrew on Feb 22, 2012 2:17 pm • linkreport

andrew, that doesn't sound that bad. That's 40,000 in one hour, without even counting people who will walk, bike and take metro buses to the stadium. Plus the handful who will be able to drive. Not everybody comes at the same time, and for most games, not everyone leaves at the same time. You could absolutely handle the football crowd with limited parking.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 2:21 pm • linkreport

While I don't think this is likely for the Redskins I do think it is doable.

As to the tailgating question in garages, I was at a game at the University of Tenessee and they had multiple multi level garages that had people tailgating. The other thing to consider is some of the people who tailgate, while they like the grilling etc, woudl be just as happy at something equivlent to the bullpen for the Nats, where they could get burgers and drink beer.

Of course as someone pointed out the big issue here is why do the redskins want to move? They are one of the most valuable franchise int he NFL despite being awful principally becuase of the setup they have with FedEx field

by nathaniel on Feb 22, 2012 3:02 pm • linkreport

This was hinted at in a few comments already, but how about we put a city in place of this. A dense, walkable neighborhood would be perfect. It would have the added bonus of actually giving the city more funds, since the FBI land will likely be untaxable and the stadium would be open perhaps 20 times a year including football games.

by Cassidy on Feb 22, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

Keep the DC football team in PG County and let the FBI go to the suburbs. I appreciate that this is a fantastic alternative to Reservation 13, but I still think both uses should be way out in the suburbs. Bradley, is there anywhere by National Harbor that could be used? Make it like a mini-Meadowlands (or maybe mega-Meadowlands) with sports, gambling, entertainment and CARS, roads and fumes!!

And then use the Pepco site for a new stadium for DC United that could be used by the residents of DC (through concerts, exhibits, etc) more than 10 times a year.

by Shipsa01 on Feb 22, 2012 3:21 pm • linkreport

@ Shipsa01:

This would be the perfect location for the Redskins' practice field. ;-) And, of course, you've likely seen my recommended site for the FBI HQ.

by Bradley Heard on Feb 22, 2012 3:29 pm • linkreport

@Bradley - I'll support both your points!

As an aside - in that first map you linked to, there is a Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex (looks like a bubble field and open-air field) just north of Fedex Field. A) What is that? And B) Couldn't the professional football team use that for practice?

by Shipsa01 on Feb 22, 2012 3:32 pm • linkreport

The Sports and Learning Complex is basically a huge recreation center with meeting space and the track and field. It's owned and operated by M-NCPPC. I heard the facility was actually built by the Redskins owners as part of a community benefits package, but I'm not certain.

by Bradley Heard on Feb 22, 2012 3:42 pm • linkreport

As for the pie-in-the-sky visions of the ideal urbanist utopia for this parcel...don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There's a reasonable chance that nothing happens with this very problematic parcel for decades (see McMillan Filtration site). And, even then, it's quite possible that the ideal mixed-use development never materializes given the location and history of the land. I would say the priority should be to get this parcel cleaned up as quickly as possible and put to productive use. Any reasonable plan should be implemented ASAP.

by Falls Church on Feb 22, 2012 4:16 pm • linkreport

Leave the Washington football team where it is and build the new United stadium and field complex on the site

by John on Feb 22, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

The Sports and Learning Complex was built by Jack Kent Cooke as part of his deal with PG County for the stadium.

An NFL team is not your office flag football team. It needs a full-time practice complex with locker rooms, dedicated weight rooms, meeting rooms, sports medicine rooms, media facilities, etc. Plus you need office space for all of the "non-football" employees that make the multi-million dollar organization run.

As for other uses of the practice fields during off hours, as has been suggested multiple times on this and other forums, each NFL player is a multi-million dollar investment. A piece of equipment in the giant factory that produces wins and revenue. Just like you can't go play with the stamping machine at the GM plant, you can't go play soccer with your friends on an NFL practice field. That divot that you caused? Funny when your friend trips over it. Not so funny when the first round draft choice's knee is blown out. In high school every local team and club used our fields, and I remember diving for a few fumbles and finding broken glass, dog waste, and other assorted gifts left behind. But that wasn't the NFL.

by dcdriver on Feb 22, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

When we here about the high cost of residential property, I can't help but wonder why we keep hearing about making a vast area, near a river, transit, and parks turn into yet another governmental fort or a football stadium that draws 100,000 people 8 times a year.

Please, this area should be zone for mixed use residential and commercial buildings. RFK, God Bless her, should be blown to kingdom come to make room for a multi-used field, ice rink, velodrome, soccer stadium, farmer's market.

Honestly, we can have a new city's worth of people to truly broaden the tax base and bring serious redevelopment to an area that hasn't seen any in 50 years.

by Randall M. on Feb 22, 2012 4:40 pm • linkreport

Or, we could turn the whole thing into an awesome municipal parking lot. It would be beautiful.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 4:54 pm • linkreport

If you want to bring the Redskins back to DC (a somewhat dubious undertaking, but let's go with it), don't reinvent the wheel. You'd tear down RFK and build where the infrastructure is already in place.

That said, it makes no sense to do so. The Redskins have large site already that they could rebuild on if they want a new stadium. That is what the NY Giants and Jets did, same with the Patriots, same with the Eagles...

The FBI is a more intriguing option, but I think there would be too many schedule risks for them to pick this site over other available sites.

by Alex B. on Feb 22, 2012 4:59 pm • linkreport

Seriously, I'd like to see the main power plant building set aside for a future museum a.la. Tate Modern. The land between it and the river should be added to parkland (as well as the NPS maintenance and the trash transfer sites. And then the most of the rest of it developed for residences, offices etc...with good buildings modified where possible.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 5:15 pm • linkreport

Could we build the Giants a stadium here. I like winners.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 5:24 pm • linkreport

Good point, David C.

I realize after readingmy own comment that I wasn't entirely clear. The Giants/Jets just built a new stadium in the parking lot of their old stadium, which is in a similar location to FedEx. The Patriots did the same thing at Foxboro. The Eagles built a new stadium in the old parking lot of the Vet, which is probably as close to an RFK analogue as you will find in terms of location, infrastructure, site context, etc.

by Alex B. on Feb 22, 2012 5:32 pm • linkreport

Alex B, I knew what you were saying. I was just getting a dig in on the R******.

by David C on Feb 22, 2012 5:46 pm • linkreport

1 How much would it take to clean up the site to build anything ?

2 What placed there could recoup the cleanup cost ?

3 How would a Stadium vs FBI vs Office/Residental effect the area for residents (Metrorail, Metrobus, Roads and Congestion)

The area to the south is not really disconnect from the site you just cross Benning Road

If there is development there you could really connect the site to Parkside and River Terrace there is nothing physically blocking it however Kenilworth Ave and 295 are problems

If Benning Road is Highway like than New York Ave, South Capitol, Penn Ave are Highways

If your going to building a whole community there (stadium or office) with a metro station why not build a spur that runs into Parkside; that way you get a station for a stadium but with out effecting other riders on the line (Blue and Orange Lines could bypass the station)

by kk on Feb 22, 2012 8:26 pm • linkreport

The FBI concept does make sense--it would bring a lot of foot traffic to the station, which I'd guess is a bit underused. The FBI probably wouldn't stimulate much commercial development given the security requirements, but the FBI's involvement would speedup the brownfield work.

The main argument against a stadium is that football stadiums get very little use, so that the economic impact is limited. The world has not changed that much since the Deadskins moved to the suburbs and a lot of people would opt for Metro if it's next door--lots of people used Metro to get to RFK. But the a football stadium would not contribute much otherwise and I'm sure the Deadskins management will want to ding the taxpayers in some way.

The site really isn't big enough to support robust mixed use development and its isolation from nearby, established neighborhoods (because of the tracks) wouldn't enable much spillover, while Parkside would be, in the short run, an unattractive neighbor to buyers.

by Rich on Feb 22, 2012 8:26 pm • linkreport

Could someone tell me what's wrong with the Ashburn facility in the first place?

by Steve on Feb 22, 2012 9:46 pm • linkreport

@dcdriver

"You can't have parking decks at a football stadium. Tailgating is simply too much a part of the entire NFL experience."

See Ford Field in Detroit, which uses a combination of parking decks and surface lots. If I can think of one stadium with parking decks off the top of my head, I'd be surprised if there weren't others.

by Peter on Feb 22, 2012 9:51 pm • linkreport

That's 40,000 in one hour, without even counting people who will walk, bike and take metro buses to the stadium.

No. That's 40,000 per hour, plus however many people are traveling east toward Largo and New Carrolton, assuming that we fully separate the Blue Line. The current Blue/Orange route can only handle 20,000 per hour. I'm guessing that the number of people traveling east would be fairly minimal...

Yes. We could theoretically handle the football crowd, but it would be a tremendous undertaking for a relatively small gain.

Also, RFK certainly does not have the infrastructure to handle a modern NFL stadium. That's why the site was abandoned in the first place. There's simply not enough room to bring in 80-100,000 people, and no infrastructure to safely and efficiently bring them there. NFL stadiums need to be huge, because NFL teams can only play a dozen games a season before they risk actually killing their players.

by andrew on Feb 22, 2012 11:07 pm • linkreport

Build a new armory open the Pepco site. Put the new stadium where the current armory sits. Done.

by TGEoA on Feb 22, 2012 11:13 pm • linkreport

It seems like the Pepco site could support mix-use development if a business improvement district (BID) or some similar funding mechanism was put in place to pay for the street grid, parks, new metro station, etc. needed to create a "self-sustaining" community. By "self-sustaining" I mean a large enough population to support a grocery store and some essential shops (pharmacy, dry cleaners, etc.) and restaurants so residents don't have to leave the neighborhood for their every daily needs.

At 80 acres and 200 residents/acre (equivalent of six-story buildings plus street grid covering the lot) that's 16,000 potential residents which would seem to be enough potential customers to support commercial services in the community.

by Michael H on Feb 22, 2012 11:38 pm • linkreport

It seems like the Pepco site could support mix-use development if a business improvement district (BID) or some similar funding mechanism was put in place to pay for the street grid, parks, new metro station, etc. needed to create a "self-sustaining" community. By "self-sustaining" I mean a large enough population to support a grocery store and some essential shops (pharmacy, dry cleaners, etc.) and restaurants so residents don't have to leave the neighborhood for their daily needs.

At 80 acres and 200 residents/acre (equivalent of six-story buildings plus street grid covering the lot) that's 16,000 potential residents which would seem to be enough potential customers to support commercial services in the community.

by Michael H on Feb 22, 2012 11:42 pm • linkreport

I don't buy the argument that this site is too small for Mixed-use development. If properly developed, it can create a link between the Parkside neighborhood to the north and the River Terrace neighborhood to the South. A new Metro Station on the western side of the site would afford direct Blue/Orange line access to downtown, the Benning Road Streetcar will soon connect the site to the Atlas District, and the Minnesota Avenue metro station and streetcar are not far away and can be made accessible with the right connections. It's also right next to the river and the Anacostia trail network. The parcel is much better suited to a neighborhood than either a walled fortress for the FBI or a stadium that gets used 8 times a year.
The Pepco building itself is an asset worth preserving, either as a museum akin to the Tate Modern, as an incubator space for tech start ups and artists, or as light industrial space given the road and rail connections already present. Even another heavy industrial/manufacturing use at the site could provide good jobs and might require somewhat less environmental remediation if a lot of the existing infrastructure is reused and the soil is capped instead of scooped up and hauled away.

by Merarch on Feb 23, 2012 1:17 am • linkreport

The idea that you'd get 16,000 people to live in a location that most middle class folks would consider "out of the way", near a very troubled housing project is just ludicrous. If lucky, it might attract the kind of townhouse developments that have gone up near Fort Totten, which would equal a much lower density. Buyers would be wary of of schools, even if an elementary school was part of the bargain and brownfields are particularly unattractive to families with small children. A chain grocer would want a bigger population and probably a more affluent hinterland than this could deliver.

A better place for mixed use actually would be RFK (speaking of the NFL). Capitol Hill's slow, sure pace of gentrification keeps creeping closer, it has a Metro stop and the huge treeless expanse would be easy to convert into a variety of uses.

A chian grocery would want a larger and economically more promising

by Rich on Feb 23, 2012 8:36 am • linkreport

Also, RFK certainly does not have the infrastructure to handle a modern NFL stadium. That's why the site was abandoned in the first place.

Huh? The Redskins left RFK because the stadium was economically obsolete. It didn't have the luxury seating or other revenue-generating amenities. In fact, Jack Kent Cooke almost had an agreement with DC to build what became FedEx in the RFK parking lot.

by Alex B. on Feb 23, 2012 8:56 am • linkreport

This whole post strikes me as bizarre. Why would an idea that has been shot down as terrible (a R******* stadium or practice facility) in one place all of a sudden be a great idea, or even a reasonable one, when we move it across the river and up a quarter mile? It's still an awful idea economically and for the future of the city regardless of where it is. Changing virtually no variables certainly doesn't make it a good idea.

by Joe on Feb 23, 2012 9:08 am • linkreport

Any public official who wants to do business with Daniel M. Snyder should either be investigated or have his head examined.

Snyder's criminal record - from the cutting down of trees on public land to enhance the view from his home to the "slamming" conviction that the telecommunications company he owned received - should be red flags enough. No one should do business with a guy whose firm forged the signatures of ordinary citizens so that they would be switched to Snyder's phone company without their knowledge or consent.

His litigiousness - most famously his lawsuit against City Paper but there's plenty more - makes him a must to avoid.

When John Riggins says Snyder has a heart of darkness and is an evil man, it is time to listen to Riggo.

The R******* have a practice field in Virginia and a stadium in Ward 9. That's perfect! It means the DC taxpayers aren't on the hook for anything, and the chances are that taxypayer funds won't be used to pursue or defend lawsuits involving Snyder.

It ain't broke (even though the R******* are). So don't fix it.

by Mike S. on Feb 23, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

thanks to mr hatchard for the post. he has elicited a full range of opinion - from this site being itself prime for TOD and too valuable for the FBI OR a stadium, to the opinion that its not suitable for anythign anytime soon, and some support for the position that its not suitable for dense TOD but might be for a stadium or high security HQ. Without taking a position on that, its been an illuminating discussion of an interesting parcel.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 23, 2012 9:59 am • linkreport

I agree with AWalkerInTheCity. This has been a great discussion in response to a great article written by Geoff.

To those who say 80 acres isn't big enough to develop a viable new urban neighborhood, I'd say take a look at the 28-acre Glenwood Park brownfield redevelopment in Atlanta. It shows what can be done with the right vision and the right will. I think Peter Calthorpe, Andres Duany, and the rest of the new urban pioneers say that 20 acres is plenty space for a new mixed-use development or a revitalization project.

by Bradley Heard on Feb 23, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

You all are wrong. Walter Reed Hospital is for the FBI

The new FBI building should be located on the Walter Reed Army Hospital grounds.

1) To preserve the green space that always been associated with that tranquil area of N.W.

2) FBI presence will surely reduce the amount of crime that has suddenly overridden the neighbor. Uniform police of the FBI will patrol the perimeter of the Walter Reed grounds and that include the Takoma Metro that is less than four blocks away.

3) Most importantly, the 2,000 or so employees will bring and expand retail commerce on Georgia Avenue, N.W. That would mean jobs and a new retail face of stores, shops and restaurants.

This is a win-win for Ward 4…and I am pushing this campaign. Calvin Gurley

by Calvin H. Gurley on Feb 23, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

1. Don't care about that. Whatever we get out of any new development will be better than what we had before (fences and no public space_

2. Crime that has suddenly overrun the neighborhood? Huh? If you want more police patrols, lets get more patrols. I don't see how the FBI headquarters will do anything to prevent crime outside of a 1 block area surrounding the building, and maybe the Takoma Park metro M-F during commutting hours.

3. The FBI headquarters will very likely include a cafeteria, daycare, dry cleaners etc. Meaning little to NO influence on area retail. FBI headquarters here will just mean an extra 2000 cars driving in at 8:30, and 2000 more cars leaving at 5:30.

Surely we can do better, get mixed use development on this great plot of land that is begging for a better choice than the FBI headquarters.

by Kyle W on Feb 23, 2012 1:05 pm • linkreport

Kyle W. stated;

"...The FBI headquarters will very likely include a cafeteria, daycare, dry cleaners..."

Stop speculating...I am a federal employee and the Federal Government is not in the daycare, dry cleaners business.

The existing hospital has a caferteria. But employees did venture out to the limited retail on Georgia Avenue. FBI will be opened and running 24 hours...that means the cafeteria will be closed after lunch hours.

Ledo's Pizza is crying now about the Georgia Avenue Gate being closed which is choking business- as the hospital still have staff working on the campus.

Retail will provide a happy hour and entertainment for employees in the evening. Some specialty shops will offer goods for employees to purchase before they go home or for birthday and other office celebrations.

Mr. K...mixed use will bring more crime into the area...especially when the new wave of families park their cars. More car break-ins, more muggings of residents walking from Takoma Metro to their high-end housing on the new development on Walter Reed.

Mixed-use [more residents] will bring more crime...its that simple. You never traveled on Capitol Hill or around the Executive Building or FBI buildings downtown. Uniformed police travel more than just one block around those buildings.

Good luck in trying to get the Chief to increase police presence in Ward 4. And, this is the Chief former home ward where she was the Commander of the 4th District.

You want mixed use go to Columbia Heights and the H Street, N.E. corridor.

by Calvin Gurley on Feb 23, 2012 1:23 pm • linkreport

@Calvin

I live in Ward four and have been wondering who I will vote for. That fact that you want to drop the FBI in place at Walter Reed, closing it off from the community and going against the long drawn out community input process that got us to the promising mixed use/open space plan we have now, makes it easy for me to NOT vote for you.

Thanks and good luck with that.

Seriously though, Calvin work to get Microsoft (or some similar company) to go to Walter Reed and you can have 2000 workers and a mixed use development/open space solution. You might also get my vote.

by LeeinDC on Feb 23, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

The PEPCO plant will not be a prime location for the new stadium or the FBI building. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

As a result of 911- that federal building and public stadium will have to be located away from any gas station or fueling station due to a potential terrorist attack.

Should you notice, all of the K Street S.E. and S.W. gasoline stations [and there were several] have been closed down permanently. That is because of the Stadium and the new federal office building on K Street.

Across the street from the PEPCO Benning Road Plant are a gasoline station and President Clinton’s first requested natural gas filling station. Secondly, the PEPCO Benning Road Plant has an expensive environmental problem of toxic waste that must be removed from the plant. Per George Gurley of River Terrace, N.E.

by calvin gurley on Feb 23, 2012 1:43 pm • linkreport

Lee in D.C.

Plans are great; especially since only a select few were put on the planning board- only one selection for Ward 4 by our councilwoman. And, those select few - already had their minds made for them. As for the time and energy in planning, don’t be surprised if the Federal Government needs more beds since the Bethesda Hospital and the Ft. Belvoir facility are already crowded.

Developers had their plans washed, starched and folded long before there were community meetings. High end property where even your college graduate cannot afford to live in is not what I call community. And believe me, if $1,700. [per month] one bedrooms units are to be built above the Ward 4 Wal-Mart on Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue…can you imagine the cost of a one bedroom in your new planned development? Some residents are salivating from the potential increase to their property value with such development – so we all have opinions.

I am a green person and I care for the institution that have been located on that campus and which have served and assisted in providing health services and treated our wounded soldiers and veterans. My Father [retired Navy] was hospitalized there along with other family members; I was rushed to Walter Reed after my first asthma attack as a child – and we lived on Capitol Hill, Ward 6. Therefore, I have an endearment with Walter Reed Hospital and to see it from a serving humanity entity to have developers copy the same mixed use construction found through the city is nothing to take pride in.

Thank you for your time and energy in planning for the community. I am just real, creative and I do not follow the pack. I win some and some are not accepted...that's life.

by Calvin Gurley on Feb 23, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

Dan Snyder can't be happy having the oldest and worst stadium in his division. The mayor doesn't have fist full of NFL tickets to hand out to friends and family. We have never hosted the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Clearly, something has to be done.

Keep FedEx for now. Build the biggest, most expensive and classy stadium on the RFK site (after giving the boot to DC United). We have TWO stadiums to host the Olympics/Super Bowl in 2024 or whatever, then FedEx is torn down so Snyder can INCREASE the value of the land by building a huge development that has reasonable access to Metrorail and the Beltway (subsidized by the government).

The practice facility on the PEPCO site is one piece of the puzzle that HAS to happen.

by josey23 on Feb 23, 2012 4:50 pm • linkreport

@Josey: That's "one piece of the puzzle that HAS to happen."

What puzzle?

by Shipsa01 on Feb 23, 2012 4:59 pm • linkreport

The land under RFK is owned by the federal government and per the agreement between DC and the Feds can only be used as a stadium. The land automatically goes back to the Feds if the stadium goes away.

by SeanM on Feb 23, 2012 5:06 pm • linkreport

Interesting idea. But if you move your proposed Metro station further east it can support those other neighborhoods as well. Or do one on the east of the site and one on the west.

Similarly, yet another station further west would support the redevelopment of RFK.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2011/08/update-bring-back-oklahoma-avenue-metro.html

WRT SeanM's comment, that agreement can always be changed, like the agreement that transferred a number of federal reservations and sites to DC during the G.W. Bush administration.

by Richard Layman on Feb 24, 2012 7:17 am • linkreport

I should have qualified my point. Yes, the site should be reconnected and adaptively reused. Yes adding the NPS facility would be a good thing. Yes mixed use neighborhoods are possible on this site. Yes adding metro connections would be a good thing. Yes it's really important to think long term.

The point that someone made about this area being shi*** is no different than what people said about H St. not all that long ago. Now the tune is completely different. What do you think will happen as H St. builds out? Opportunities will move east...

No getting the Redskins. They need freeway access because as people have pointed out, their audience is suburban.

No probably on getting FBI. We need to do a market study to determine how valuable FBI is to DC. Probably not that much. Plus the road access to this site isn't that great. Although do a zip code analysis of the workers at the FBI hq now, and maybe it's doable as probably many of them come from VA with blue and orange line access.

by Richard Layman on Feb 24, 2012 8:36 am • linkreport

"@Josey: That's "one piece of the puzzle that HAS to happen." What puzzle?

I'm talking about getting the Redskins back into DC; an idea that makes no sense from a taxpayer or planning standpoint.

"The land under RFK is owned by the federal government and per the agreement between DC and the Feds can only be used as a stadium. The land automatically goes back to the Feds if the stadium goes away."

Agreements, smagreements. That's what lawyers are for. If Danny and the Mayor (whoever that is over the next decade) want it to happen, it can happen. Maybe RFK is merely "renovated" like those houses in Bethesda where they just keep a 2x4 from the kitchen wall and replace the rest.

Moving the Redskins back to DC is a dumb idea but the city and Redskins seem to be talking about something. I moved to Maryland where we have our own problems like trying to get the Silver Spring transit center built in less than a decade and for less than 3 times the budget. It all makes daddy's head hurt.

by josey23 on Feb 24, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

In 2007, DC approved a PUD to develop 26 acres of greenspace in the adjacent Parkside neighborhood to be a "mixed-use/mixed-income transit oriented development". That acreage is directly opposite the Minnesota Ave metrorail station and the plan includes a new pedestrian bridge connecting the two--the metro station is so near that it would actually appear on the far right side of the map above. Still, the developers have sought and received a number of variances to the PUD to convert planned mixed-use buildings into office buildings and institutional (medical, educational) developments because there's not sufficient demand for housing in the location.

If a large greenfield site right next to the metro station that is already slated to be a "mixed-use/mixed-income transit oriented development" can't get built, I don't see how designating a less desirable adjacent brownfield site to be a "mixed-use/mixed-income transit oriented development" will produce any results on the ground.

What the neighborhood desperately needs is an economic anchor that will bring people with disposable incomes into the neighborhood. If even a small fraction of the estimated 11,600 FBI employees who will work at the new HQ occasionally spend money in the neighborhood or move to the neighborhood (ideally in the yet-to-be-built Parkside development next door), it would go a long way to realizing the vision laid out in DC's Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue "Great Streets" projects.

A stadium won't do that. Maybe the requirements, timelines, or other constraints make it impossible to relocate the FBI to the Pepco site, but DC needs a plan to bring SOMETHING big to those 77 acres. Given the enormous headache involved in cleaning up a large contaminated brownfield site, this is not a circumstance in which the organic, small-is-beautiful approach to urban development is going to work. This is not H street. If ever there was a place to put a big federal facility in this Federal City, this is it.

by Dan on Feb 24, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

Again, may I state.

The PEPCO plant will not be a prime location for the new stadium or the FBI building.

As a result of 911- any federal building and public stadium will have to be located away from any gas station or fueling station due to a potential terrorist attack.

Should you notice, all of the M Street S.E. and S.W. gasoline stations [and there were several] have been closed down permanently. That is because of the Stadium and the new federal office building located on K Street.

Across the street from the PEPCO Benning Road Plant are a gasoline station and President Clinton’s first requested natural gas filling station. Secondly, the PEPCO Benning Road Plant has an expensive environmental problem of toxic waste that must be removed from the plant. Per George Gurley of River Terrace, N.E.

by Calvin Gurley on Feb 24, 2012 3:00 pm • linkreport

For comparison's sake: Rosslyn is also exactly the same distance from the Capitol dome as the Pepco site, and along the exact same Metro lines. The "Rosslyn Coordinated Redevelopment District," essentially its high-rise core, covers only 65 acres and is zoned with an absolute maximum of 10 FAR (equal to the zoning covering most of Downtown DC). It houses most of the 34,200 jobs in Rosslyn, and is targeted for another 8.5 million square feet of future development.

by Payton on Nov 11, 2012 7:37 pm • linkreport

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