April Walter Reed Community Advisory Meeting Notes

The Walter Reed Community Advisory Committee held its April meeting on Monday night at the DC International School on Aspen Street NW.  There were four stories that I think would be of interest to the general public. WR CAC Meeting

Development News

Caroline Kinney from Urban Atlantic led the portion of the meeting that discussed upcoming projects on the 66-acre Walter Reed campus.  After several years of preparation, demolition, and infrastructure work, we will soon begin to see the fruits of that labor.  Several new construction projects are ready to leave the architect’s plans and move to reality.

The Brooks Condominiums

Groundbreaking at the Vrooks
Mayor Bowser, CM Todd and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton lead dignitaries in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Brooks and Value buildings Credit: @DMPEDDC via Twitter

The Brooks and Vale mixed-use project had a groundbreaking ceremony late last week.  This large building at the corner of Aspen Street and Georgia Avenue NW will have apartments, retail spaces and condominiums.  Last night, the developers provided the first details about The Brooks, the condominium portion of the project.

There will be a mix of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom for sale units. Prices will start in the low $400s and climb up to the low $900s.  Unit area will range from 500 to 1300 square feet.

There will be several affordably priced homes; seven will be marked for families under 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 1 will be for a family under 50% AMI.

The team will renovate one of the historic generals’ quarters home to use as a sales center.  This office will open in May of 2019.

To learn more, visit TheBrooksDC.com.

Senior Housing Application Process

Just as exciting, the affordable senior living apartments at the former Abrams Hall have been under renovation and are nearly ready for market.  The 64 one-bedroom units are in high demand, so rental applications will be processed via a lottery system.

There will be two ways for residents to register their desire for one of these homes.

  1. Beginning on April 15th, AbramsHallDC.com will open for two weeks to accept applications online.
  2. There will be an in-person registration events on back-to-back days at Emery Heights Recreation Center. This event will take place on April 17th and 18th from 1:30 – 3:00 pm

These apartments are age, income and asset restricted. Please visit AbramsHallDC.com for more details.

Aspen Street Shed Update

There was a revival of discussion about the Aspen Street NW widening project on our local neighborhood message boards this week. You can read a full account of that issue here. Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) chairman Randall Clarke stepped up to address these concerns.

After providing a detailed background on the history of these sheds and their relationship to the overall project, Mr. Clarke brought the audience up to date on the Department of Transportation’s current thinking on the matter. DDOT does plan a community engagement event for the Aspen Street plan within the next 60 days. This Aspen Street widening project is also being considered in coordination with the ongoing Rock Creek East 2 Livability Study for Upper Ward 4.

Depending on the results of those engagements, the LRA may return to an administrative legal process to request that the sheds no longer be protected by historic designation, but time will tell.

During the Q&A period, a resident asked if it was possible for the sheds to be moved to another area on the site.  Mr. Clarke stated that the sheds are in such fragile condition that they would be unlikely to survive such a move without a significant investment of tax dollars.

Mysterious Smell Update

Finally, Kelli Crawford, a branch chief from the District’s Department of Energy and the Environment was present to provide an update on the mysterious chemical smell that plagued the neighborhood in late January.

In short, after two weeks of overnight inspections, interviews with business owners and monitoring a community hotline, the city still does not know for sure what caused the strange outbreak. The inspectors did have develop some suspicions that an “unseated vent cap” at a local gas station may have been a culprit, but they are working with the owner to determine more.

If you experience the chemical/diesel smell in the future, call 311 right away or notify the neighborhood hotline at (202) 345-7140.

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