Thursday, July 24, 2014

Buzzard Point Draft Urban Design Framework Released

Due to the proposed DC United soccer stadium and a new Frederick Douglass Bridge, an Urban Design Framework has been developed by the Office of Planning for Buzzard Point over the past few months and the draft summary has been released this week. The framework plan will inform and guide public and private development decisions for the next 10 years. It is broken into several sections, including: public realm, environment, housing and community development, and transportation. Below are summaries of each: 
  • Public Realm: The urban design concept, as envisioned, would transform Buzzard Point into a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. The neighborhood would be centered around a series of open spaces along the Anacostia River, as well as the traffic oval planned at the foot of the new Douglass Bridge and near the proposed soccer stadium. These open spaces would connect with Yards Park and other destinations on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. 
  • Environment: The urban design concept calls for improved environmental conditions, both through the public realm and private development. Over 1,000 new trees could be planted in Buzzard Point along with drought tolerant plantings, rain gardens, green roofs, and other green elements. Environmental remediation would also be done to clean up any potentially contaminated soil in the area. 
  • Housing and Community Development: The urban design concept seeks to protect the existing public housing within the study area (which includes 80 out of 239 units at James Creek that are located south of P Street) and create additional residential opportunities. The current capacity for development in the Buzzard Point area under current zoning would allow up to 11.9 million SF of development with 5,480 residential units (370 affordable units). If the urban design plan is adopted and a stadium is built, the total potential development would decrease to 10.2 million SF, but it would be more concentrated, so up to 6,200 residential units could be built with 400 of those set aside as affordable units under inclusionary zoning. 
  • Transportation: In the near term, the South Capitol Street bridge and soccer stadium improvements will improve access to major regional connections and enhance pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. An esplanade along the Anacostia River will be created that will facilitate the movement of pedestrians across the new Douglass Bridge. Patrons of the proposed soccer stadium who arrive by car would be encouraged to use the parking lots used by Nationals attendees. Streetcar lines are planned to potentially terminate in Buzzard Point, but those lines won’t be built for several years. 
Open space concept on Half Street

The draft urban design framework mentions that there may be a Maritime Museum planned for Buzzard Point and that was also mentioned by City Administrator Allen Lew during the first DC United stadium hearing back on June 26. It appears from the design framework document that this proposed Maritime Museum would be located along the Anacostia River roughly at Water and T streets, just to the east of where Ziegfeld’s/Secrets is located (the building is for sale). 

A copy of the Buzzard Point Urban Design Framework is available here

Images courtesy of the Office of Planning

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