|A rendering of the Parks at Walter Reed, covering more than 60 acres of the former hospital.|
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Walter Reed Hospital Redevelopment
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is named after the physician who linked mosquitoes to yellow fever at the turn of the 20th century. The 110-acre site that has been dormant since September 2011 after 102 years in operation will not remain so.
Local officials in Washington named a master development team headed by Hines, a national firm based in Houston, with two local companies, Urban Atlantic and Triden. Plans call for 3.1 million square feet of development, costing $1 billion, over perhaps 20 years of construction — including 2,097 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail space, 90,000 square feet of offices, a science center, restaurants, a Hyatt hotel and conference center, and 20 acres of open space.
The plan says that historic buildings are to be preserved. Some housing will be at lower than market rates, including units for the elderly and the homeless. And there may be an upscale grocery, possibly a Wegmans or a Whole Foods. The Hines team has also recruited Weingarten Realty Investors, a national shopping center developer, and Toll Brothers, a luxury home builder.
The development is projected to create 4,500 construction jobs and 2,900 permanent jobs, with annual local tax revenues of $37 million.
The new project, to be known as the Parks at Walter Reed, will encompass 66.7 acres. The State Department is to take over 43.5 acres on the site’s northwestern side for a “foreign missions center” to accommodate 20 to 30 chanceries.
The Army hospital merged with nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital in 2011 to become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The change was part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closing Act that trimmed the number of bases nationwide as part of defense budget reductions.
Now that a master developer has been chosen, the next step is for local Washington officials to negotiate a purchase price with the Army and then convey the land to Hines. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development must also approve the plan. (NYT, 11/19/2013)