HPRB Update

11x17 Rendered Plan w MF Courtyard

On January 29th, Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) appeared before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for review of two applications. In the first request, subdivision of the sand filtration site into six parcels, HPRB reconfirmed their October 2013 finding that VMP’s master plan was crafted via a collaborative engagement process starting in the fall of 2007, with the collective design, preservation and architectural elements mitigating the site’s redevelopment. Stated in earlier findings by the HPRB, “the master plan and the proposed site organization as reflected by the subdivision parcels has been developed to retain significant character-defining features of the landmark sufficient to convey its historic character and in a manner that will result in an architecturally cohesive, high-quality and site-specific series of projects that relate to the character of the landmark.”  Following the standard of procedure set in the District’s Historic Preservation Act, HPRB found the subdivision incompatible with the historic landmark, thereby allowing the application to advance before the Mayor’s Agent in an upcoming hearing in March or April.


HPRB Update



In VMP’s second presentation, concept review of JAIR LYNCH’s Parcel 2 mixed-use building, HPRB provided feedback on the proposed design. As anticipated, board members offered praise for some elements and constructive criticism on other components. Over the past few weeks, the design team reviewed alternative concepts with the Historic Preservation Office and continues to improve the proposed building. We look forward to sharing our revised design concept with the community and HPRB at a future hearing in the next few weeks. 



McMillan Surplus and Disposition Resolution Receives Final Approval

Capping off a series of recent approvals by the Zoning Commission and DC Council’s Government Operations and Economic Development Committees, the four resolutions granting the surplus and disposition of McMillan received unanimous passage during the December 2nd Legislative Meeting.  The first resolution, The McMillan Surplus Declaration and Approval Resolution of 2014 (PR20-1081), declares the McMillan Sand Filtration Site surplus property pursuant to DC Official Code §10-801, thereby allowing the sale of a portion of the site.  In separate actions, the Council unanimously passed Resolutions PR20-1082, PR20-1083 and PR20-1084 granting the sale at fair market value to VMP partners – EYA, JAIR LYNCH Development Partners and Trammell Crow Company.


Decommissioned in 1985 following construction of a modernized chemical filtration plant on the adjacent reservoir site, the District purchased the 25-acre site from the federal government in 1987 for redevelopment.  In the ensuing years, the District issued several unsuccessful solicitations with no viable proposals materializing due to the complexity of the site.  In March 2006, the District transferred jurisdiction of the property to the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (“NCRC”) and after a year-long solicitation and rigorous vetting process, NCRC selected Vision McMillan Partners (“VMP”) in July 2007 to develop the McMillan site.


Since 2007, over 200 meetings took place to engage the community on redevelopment plans for the site, including building designs, traffic management, storm water management, preservation and public amenities.  During this period, the master plan constantly evolved fulfilling community priorities and to accommodate DC Water’s Clean River Project.  Today’s development plan is the culmination of years of extraordinary engagement between the District, development team and community, brought to life by the design vision of talented planners and architects.  For more information on the history of the project, see our recently published timeline.


In the coming year, VMP will focus on final schematic design and permitting in anticipation of breaking ground in early 2016.  When complete, McMillan will lead the area’s transformation from a crossroads of diverse and unrelated land uses to a walkable mixed-use community supporting and enhancing the fabric of existing neighborhoods.  Balancing an architecturally cohesive and distinct new construction element with a carefully considered preservation program and adaptive re-use strategy, McMillan is the next great community in our city.




VMP Publishes FINAL Historic Preservation Report

Pages from McMillan Park Report - FINAL 9.15.2014


EHT Traceries  was retained by VMP to provide research and historic preservation consulting services in pursuit of our approval for a PUD for the McMillan Site.  As part of their efforts, EHT authored a historic preservation report designed as a resource for discussions with the city and community about the appropriate treatment of historic resources, as well as the design of new construction on the site.  The report is a record of the information and guidance provided during this consultation period and is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  • PROVIDE A GUIDE to the extensive primary and secondary documentation that exists for the site through an extensive bibliography and appendices.
  • EXPLAIN THE HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE of the McMillan Site. The report does not include a re-evaluation of the property’s significance, but instead relies on the evaluation of significance provided in 1989 landmark nomination form that was completed for the McMillan Park Reservoir Historic Landmark. The reports offers a framework for the evaluation of the historic integrity of the McMillan Site and the development of preservation recommendations for the McMillan Redevelopment Project based on the
    identified significance.
  • EVALUATE THE HISTORIC INTEGRITY of the McMillan Site. The historic integrity of the Landmark was evaluated as part of its local landmark nomination in 1989.  An updated evaluation of the integrity of the McMillan Site, as a distinct component of the Landmark, is necessary for the development of preservation recommendations for the McMillan Redevelopment Project.
  • PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRESERVATION of the McMillan Site within the context of redevelopment. The recommendations are specific to the McMillan Site and are intended to inform a successful preservation strategy for a McMillan Redevelopment Project within the general parameters set by the city and VMP. The recommendations take into consideration the site’s significance and integrity and are based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. General recommendations and resource-specific recommendations are included and will be incorporated into the site plan for the redevelopment as appropriate.
  • PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRESERVATION MITIGATION for the McMillan Redevelopment Project. EHT Traceries is conscious of the various interests of the numerous stakeholders in the McMillan Redevelopment Project. To facilitate the future discussion of preservation within the context of other stakeholder interests, this report provides additional recommendations for the mitigation of the loss of historic fabric and integrity that may occur with development at the McMillan Site. These recommendations are intended to be taken into consideration by VMP and DCHPO and can be directly incorporated into the amenities package for the PUD and Mayor’s Agent submissions as appropriate.
  • GUIDE THE PRESERVATION-RELATED APPROVAL PROCESSES for the McMillan Redevelopment Project. Because the McMillan Site is part of the lager McMillan Park Reservoir Historic Landmark, any construction or demolition on the site is subject to a variety of preservation-related reviews on the federal and local level. This report seeks to outline these reviews to clarify the approval process for the project.

The full report is available for download here.

WaPo Architecture Critic Roger K. Lewis recommends VMP Plan for the #NewMcMillan

McMillan plan combines preservation, urban design and inventive architecture

VMP Plan for the New McMillan“The fate of the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant has been the subject of heated controversy ever since the federal government closed the water purification facility in 1986 and sold the 25-acre site to the District of Columbia. During the years, dramatically differing opinions and ideas for transforming McMillan have led to multiple contrasting plans for the site.

But next month the destiny of the historically landmarked McMillan site may be determined and the disputes rendered moot. The D.C. Zoning Commission is reviewing the latest plan (, a well-conceived, pragmatic work of urban design and architecture.”

Read full article here.

McMillan: Fact Vs. Fiction




Fact v. Fiction


  • VMP’s plan creates three parks, including an expansive 6.25-acre central park with a community center and pool. If you add in the South Service Court and other public gathering places, there will be a total of 12 acres of new, public, open and green space. Specifically, of the 3½ block site, the majority – almost 2 blocks – will be open and green space distributed throughout the site.
  •  World-renowned landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz will design the public green space. They are famous for their work with urban parks, have garnered over 80 national and regional awards and have been featured in many national and international publications. This community will soon have one of the largest and best-designed parks not only in the District, but also in the region and in the country.
  •  While there was once a small park on the federal side of the McMillan site (near the reservoir, on the west side of First Street), the McMillan land that VMP is redeveloping was never a park. Historically, it was a working industrial site with manholes dotting the landscape every few feet, providing access for workers to the underground cells. In order to deliver water to the city, the site was in use all day and night, cleaning and pumping water.
  •  When the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant first opened, Olmsted, Jr. was commissioned to design a walking path around it that would offer residents a view without disturbing the daily work of the site.  This Olmsted Walk is being restored as part of the plan and will surround the entire redevelopment, connecting the parks and open spaces, providing engaging access and offering tremendous views of both the site and surrounding landmarks.  Every step of the walk will be publicly accessible and maintained. Finally, the fences on the site will be down, and there will be a park for residents to use and enjoy.
  • The very foundation of the VMP plan is a $22 million preservation program that will create exemplary design compatible with this historic landmark.
  •  The majority of the above grade structures will be preserved.  Every silo, every regulator house, every washer and every basin will be preserved and the historic courts will be maintained with special pavers.
  •  While the plan includes repurposing of underground cells, it is not feasible to place grocery retail inside the chambers or use the underground cells for foundation. Not only have retailers expressed opposition to the idea of an underground location here from a sales perspective, but the cost of making the cells safe enough for this type of use alone would make rental rates prohibitive for community and retail uses alike.
  •  Two underground cells (each the size of a football field) will be preserved, and the current plan includes repurposing Cell 14 for retail use.  Cell 28 will be preserved to view through the community center, as part of the planned memorialization.   The park will incorporate many features of a “cell with the lid off” as way of further using the unique structures of the site.
  •  The VMP plan incorporates water as a theme related to the history of the site. For example, the historic fountain currently located on the federal site will be relocated to the site. There will be spray grounds for children, a 25-meter pool inside the community center, a bio pond for water management and water features incorporating the historic silos.  There will also be historical memorialization, including community-planned and executed self-tours.
  •  The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), in a unanimous vote found that VMP’s revised master plan “has been developed to retain important character-defining features of the site sufficient to convey its historic characteristics.“
  • Buildings will increase in size to the north west of the site, while eastern and southern sides of the plan will step down to work with the scale of existing neighborhoods.
  •  Two thirds of the total area of the site will be open and green space.  The remaining one third of the site will include local serving retail with a premium grocery store anchor, restaurants, community and cultural space. There will also be housing and offices on site.
  •  VMP’s plan will result in 3,200 new, permanent jobs, 3,000 construction jobs and generate $1.2 billion in new tax revenues. 35% of the local contracting opportunities are required to go to certified local, small and disadvantaged businesses and more than half of all jobs created must be offered to District residents.
  • On October 31st, 2013, the HPRB voted unanimously that VMP’s revised master plan and design concepts satisfied their requirements.  Because they cannot vote on demolition, they referred the project to the Mayor’s Agent.  The project now moves forward to the Mayor’s Agent and Zoning Commission for additional approvals.
  • In 2006, the National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC) issued an RFQ to select a development partner for the McMillan site. The selection process spanned several months and included several community meetings and community votes. The initial process was conducted by former Mayor Fenty, signed off on by MAG leaders and later evaluated and held up by former Mayor Gray.
  •  The eventual five bidders were judged on their land development capabilities, vertical development capabilities and financial capacity.  Community members attended tours of the vertical development projects for all five bidders. In July 2007, Vision McMillan Partners was selected from among the five bidders by the NCRC because of their collective experience with complex redevelopment projects that present a number of overlapping priorities such as historic preservation and open space.

McMillan Park

Approvals Progress on Halloween!

Yesterday the Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to accept the Historic Preservation Office’s staff report, which recommended accepting the Master Plan and building design concepts, which moves the project forward to the Mayor’s Agent and the Zoning Commission.  We’ve been working long and hard on this project, refining the vision to reflect both community wants and desires, and HPRB’s recommendations so that McMillan will be a special place for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you to all of the community members and interested people who came to HPRB to testify today.  Thank you to all of you who have provided input and feedback; we truly appreciate your desire to make McMillan great.

If you haven’t seen it, now is a good time to check out our Vision Video, which made its debut today at HPRB.  And for more detailed information on the building designs, come to our community open house at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, November 16th anytime between 10AM and 1PM.

See you soon,

Tania Jackson

Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator

New HPRB Plans Submitted

Hello McMillan Friends,I would like to share a draft of our latest submission to the Historic Preservation Review Board.  We’ve spent most of the summer addressing the issues raised by the Board in July.  As you may recall, the Board accepted our Master Plan Guidelines for the site, but asked us to address four key issues — the Tripartite organization, the edge conditions, the architectural cohesion and the North Service Court design.

To that end, you’ll see new layouts and building designs, bigger setbacks with a restored Olmsted Walk around the entire site, a reduced color palette and Master Plan that gives a greater sense of cohesion by sticking to one color palette, and coordinated storefront designs to better amplify the Historic Assets in the North Service Court.

We have requested a hearing by HPRB at their October meeting, and will be sharing it in community via the MAG and ANC 5E.  We look forward to seeing you at these meetings and hope you’ll take the time to look at these new designs.

Tania Jackson
Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator
Vision McMillan Partners