Over the past several months, the District Office of Planning has been working on a vision framework plan for Buzzard Point, a peninsula which has been isolated from the rest of Southwest for several decades and up until now has been dominated by industrial uses. However, that is all about to change. There are several major projects happening in the area over the next few years, from a soccer stadium to a new Frederick Douglass bridge, to a Pepco substation, and with these improvements, there will likely be more interest in the Buzzard Point area. A Draft Urban Design Framework Plan was released back in 2014.
From the current Plan:
The vision for Buzzard Point is to create a lively compact neighborhood, establish a strong public realm, enhance the environment, improve transportation connections, and leverage public investment in the soccer stadium and the South Capitol Street corridor project to serve as catalysts and anchors for additional development.
If the principles from the framework plan are fully implemented over the next 10-15 years, Buzzard Point could yield approximately 11.3 million SF of development, of which 6.6 million SF would be dedicated to residential, or 6,040 housing units. Through inclusionary zoning, 480 of those residential units would be created as affordable housing. Under existing zoning, approximately 16.6 million SF of development is possible, with 9.0 million SF of it dedicated to housing, or 8,170 housing units – 570 of those units would be affordable housing.
|Waterfront Park concept at South Capitol & S streets|
According to the framework plan, the new Buzzard Point will make the Anacostia River the focus of the neighborhood with a series of open spaces and plazas along the water, which would extend the Anacostia Riverfront Trail through the area and portions of it could extend into the river. One of these plazas would be located at South Capitol and S streets and could contain a proposed Maritime Museum on its southern edge. Another plaza would be located at the terminus of 2nd Street, adjacent to James Creek Marina and the Transpoint Building, as well as at the terminus of other north-south streets. Aquatic vegetation can be planted along the river’s edge to help soften the shoreline and clean the river. The planned park within the traffic oval should be programmed with activities and a portion of it could be set aside as a future memorial site. Any commercial buildings planned around the oval should help define the space with entrances facing the oval.
|Oval Park concept|
Potomac Avenue would serve as the grand entrance point to the neighborhood and will be where the majority of soccer fans access the new DC United stadium. Half Street would serve as a tree-lined pedestrian thoroughfare without curb cuts while 1st Street would be a service street. The majority of storm water collection would happen along 2nd Street due to its lower elevation compared to surrounding streets. This street would also serve as a bikeway. Meanwhile, east-west streets would serve as local service streets.
|DC United stadium plaza|
Commercial development would be concentrated near the planned traffic oval (Pepco Park?) on South Capitol Street, while residential development would be located primarily on the northern and southern ends of the peninsula. Meanwhile, retail nodes would be created in different areas, including along Potomac Avenue and at South Capitol and S streets. A buffer zone with less-intensive development is planned to help shield the residential neighborhood to the north of Buzzard Point and orient development to the east toward the rest of the Capitol Riverfront BID area. In addition, building heights would be lower along the riverfront and gradually increase in height further away from the water.
Transportation is key in order to accommodate the thousands of soccer fans and new residents. The framework plan identifies bike routes, pedestrian priority corridors, a Circulator line, and potential streetcar routes through Buzzard Point, but also encourages the flow of cars on several smaller streets instead of relying on a few arterials. No parking lots are planned for the new DC United stadium, but several lots within Buzzard Point and to the north (many already used by Nationals Park patrons) have been identified for use during game days.
For more information about the framework plan, the full document is available here. SWNA is hosting a community meeting tomorrow evening at 1101 4th Street, Second Floor at 7pm where the Office of Planning and other District agencies will be available to answer questions about the plan.
Renderings courtesy of DC Office of Planning and DC United