Establishing a Balance of Community Interests and District Needs
According to the summary of recommendations for site revitalization issued jointly by the District Office of Planning (OP) and Department of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) in February 2002, between 1989 and 2002, 10 community forums about revitalizing McMillan occurred. Five (5) were held in conjunction with OP’s recent series of community workshops (July 2000-January 2001). A technical advisory group (TAG) was voluntarily established to assist in reporting the concerns of their constituents and in crafting content of the community meetings.
Based on these meetings, a series of community revitalization goals were established for the site such as ‘be creative,’ ‘preserve and adapatively reuse the site features,’ ‘be responsive to community needs and concerns,’ and ‘make it feasible.’ Based on input into each goal, five scenarios were proposed, all to exclude items such as high rise office or residential, hospital/medical facilities and big box retail: open space (100%), low intensity (25% low density development), medium intensity (37% development between retail and housing), residential/retail medium intensity (56% development between retail and housing), and high intensity (82% development with office, retail and housing). Based on these scenarios, the report arose at a series of conclusions for the site:
— A minimum of 50% (approximately 12.5 Acres) of the McMillan site should be revitalized as publicly accessible open space.
— The remainder of the site should be developed with low and moderate intensity uses to offset the cost of site stabilization and to provide ongoing revenue from which the publicly funded components on the site (open space, gardens, libraries, etc.) are maintained.
— McMillan should be zoned to accommodate the following mix of uses at moderate density: publicly accessible open space, a cultural destination (museum and/or memorial), neighborhood serving and destination enhancing retail, and housing.
— It is more likely that the TYPE I and II Cells will need to be considered for revenue generating uses that help defray ongoing site maintenance costs.
— The two (2) courts that cross the site are key plan elements that once linked the Sand Filtration Site with the adjacent McMillan Reservoir. These courts should be preserve and adaptively re-used.
— Vistas from the site are significant and should be preserved in conjunction with development of public open space on the site particularly over the stable TYPE III cells where views are possible to surrounding institutions as well as the reservoir.
Based upon those conclusions, the report recommended that:
— RFP related to development of McMillan should not be issued at this time.
— DHCD received stewardship of the site for disposition purposes, but it does not appear now that revitalization of the site will occur in the short term. Given this, the site should be returned to the Office of Property Management which should assume the cost for maintaining the site until such a time as it is transferred for revitalization.
— The site requires a public-private partnership development strategy. Transfer the long-term stewardship and management of the revitalization process for McMillan from District Government to a public development entity.
— By the end of December 2002, the District should accept proposals from potential public development entities. Proposals should respond to these recommendations and present strategies for how the potential entity might managing the revitalization process for this site.
— The District should retain ownership of the historic site. Development on McMillan should be through a long-term grounds lease structure that allows the District to regain some revenue that is then used to maintain and upgrade public components of the site and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
— Establish a Coalition of McMillan Revitalization Partners (CMRP), an advisory group to work with the public development entity. The Coalition should include: District Government, NCRC, area universities and hospitals, Soldiers and Airmen’s Home, Army Corp of Engineers, WMATA, National Capital Planning Commission, National Park Service, Federal Department of Transportation and McMillan Park Committee.
Transferring Ownership Rights to NCRC
Prior to the transfer of ownership, an unsolicited proposal for the site was submitted by Greenvest (see Greevest Proposal – Mcmillan MEWS)
In November 2004, NCRC agreed to a land swap with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation that would allow NCRC to develop the McMillan Reservoir Sand Filtration site (see Washington Business Journal article on land swap). The formal transfer of the site was not reconciled until February 2007 whereupon NCRC conceded 47 acres of Waterfront land in exchange for the 25 acre McMillan Sand Filtration site and an additional $24.5 million in District properties.
Issuing a Solicitation for a Land Development Partner
In 2006, NCRC issued a Phase I – Land Development: Solicitation for Land Development Partner whereby it saught a highly-qualified Land Development Partner to jointly implement the first phase of redeveloping the historic McMillan Sand Filtration Site. This first phase of redevelopment was to include pre-development, site assessment, land use
planning, and land development activities designed to deliver ready-tobuild pad and super-pad sites for a mixed-use, master-planned project. Subsequent phases of the project were to include vertical building on completed pad sites, as well as ongoing operations and
management of facilities and public spaces. This is referred to as vertical development.
The solicitation stated that NCRC intended to act as Master Developer of the McMillan Project and venture into the project both with a highly-qualified Land Development Partner and Vertical Development Partners (to be solicited in subsequent phases). After a Land Development Partner is selected, a full complement of contractors and fee consultants were to be solicited to join the team. The solicitation contained detailed information on the McMillan Project, Development Guidelines, NCRC’s Development Approach and Strategy and the Land Development Partner Selection Process. As part of this solicitation, NCRC required that Local, Small, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (LSDBE) (now Certified Business Enterprises (CBE)) maintain a minimum of 20% equity ownership and management control of the selected Land Development and required LSDBE contractors to perform at least 35% of the work (in terms of total development costs) for Phase I – Land Development. 20% of those new jobs were to be designated for residents in the ward in which the work is being performed
This solicitation sought to incorporate community goals along with conceptual land uses. Specifically, NCRC and its selected Land Development Partner were to use the goals laid out in the DC Office of Planning report (see the earlier text regarding community interests) as guiding principles in crafting the Master Plan and the pad development program for the Site. However, actual delivery of some key aspects of the development program may be the responsibility of building developers during subsequent (vertical development) phases of the project. This solicitation envisioned Phase I Land Development to run from the 2nd quarter of 2006 through the end of fiscal year 2012. Phase II Vertical Development was to run in parallel from 3rd quarter 2009 through the end of the third quarter 2015.
Land Development activities included:
— Site Conditions Assessment
— Land Use Planning
— Financial Analysis
— Site Engineering & Design: 1) Master Planning, 2) Urban Design, 3) Civil/Structural Assessment, 4) Traffic Planning and Engineering
— Approvals: 1) Historic Preservation and Integration, 2) Local Land Use Approvals, 3) Entitlement Process (zoning, subdivision), 4) Environmental Reviews
— Construction: 1) Site Stabilization/Demolition, 2) Backbone Infrastructure Design and Installation, 3) Pad Site Delivery
In order to deliver the site, NCRC would then join with the Land Development partner and Capital Partners to create a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for delivery of the proposed project. The Land Development Partner was to retain an equity stake in the project in return for assuming some financial risk. At that time, the Site was zoned R-5-B, which allows for medium density residential development. The Site was to be rezoned for its ultimate, approved uses through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) or similar entitlement process in cooperation with the Office of Planning and the Zoning
Administrator (today the site is classified as unzoned). Further, at that time 2000 assessment revealed no evidence of environmental conditions impacting the McMillan Sand Filtration Site. 4 cells were deemed stable, 8 cells were moderately deteriorated and 8 cells were significantly deteriorated.
In response to the solicitation, respondents were to: submit five (5) unbound original and fifteen (15) bound copies of their submittals; submit one (1) CD containing a PDF file of the
complete submittal; and the total submittal shall not exceed 55 pages not including appendix items, such as resumes, proposed drawings or site plans or disclosures of potential conflicts of interest. NCRC also reserved the right to disqualify, in its sole discretion, a team, if it determines the existence of a conflict of interest (or appearance thereof). All responses were to be submitted to NCRC by September 28, 2006 at 5:00 PM.
Selection of Vision McMillan Partners, LLC as Land Development Partner and Transition to Master Developer
Although proposals are not publicly available, NCRC announced in October 2006 that five development teams responded to the solicitation : Horning Brothers, Republic Land Development, KSI Services, Inc., EYA and EastBanc, Inc. In an email, Harriet Tregoning laid out the next steps for the project: public presentation of the three finalists (EYA, Repulic and EastBanc) on March 29, 2007; provide site tours to the finalists on March 30, 2007; receive input from the ANC on June 12, 2007; proposal to select EYA on the basis of significant space between proposals on June 19, 2007; and, have NCRC meet and review/approve EYA as the selected developer on June 20, 2007. On July 13, 2007, Mayor Fenty announced the selection of Vision McMillan Partners as the development partner (see DMPED VMP accouncement).
Vision McMillan Partners, LLC was selected as the Land Development Partner for this project (the submittal made by Vision McMillan Partners, LLC in response to the solicitation above is not publicly available, nor are any competing bids). Management of projects under the NCRC portfolio were transferred to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in October 2007 following the selection of Vision McMillan Partners, LLC. With the dissolution of NCRC, the District did not wish to serve in its capacity as Master Developer and subsequently ceded these rights to Vision McMillan Partners, LLC.
Prior to changing the role of Vision McMillan Partners, LLC from Land Development Partner to Master Developer, the District, represented through DMPED, VMP, LLC, and the McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) signed a letter of commitment on December 10, 2007. Then project manager for DMPED, McClinton Jackson III signed on behalf of DMPED, two persons (names illegible) signed on behalf of VMP, LLC, and Tony Norman signed on behalf of the MAG. Among other things, this letter agreed to the change in the role of VMP, LLC were they to abide by a series of activities. One such commitment was to use the Office of Planning’s Summary Recommendations for Site Revitatlization frmo February 2002 (addressed earlier).
Subsequent to signing the letter of commitment, Vision McMillan Partners, LLC, through Leroy Eakin III and Robert Youngentab, and the District of Columbia, through DMPED and Neil O. Albert, signed a summary term sheet on December 20, 2007 (need to add this link). This term sheet identified the transition of VMP, LLC from Land Development Partners to Master Developer along with a number of general terms governing land development, vertical development and other compliance requirements. At this time, VMP was comprised of EYA, LLC; the Jair Lynch Companies/MacFarlane Partners; Smoot Construction; Urban Services System Corporation; the Alexander Company; and, StreetSense. This consortium was to have no less than 20% of the equity capital invested into the project invested by LSDBE firms. These firms were Smoot, USSC and JLC.