Washington, DC’s The Parks at Walter Reed Makes Headway
- May 29, 2020
The former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, now known as The Parks at Walter Reed, is adding a new development. A partnership of Hines, Urban Atlantic and Triden Development Group recently closed on a 1.5-acre site for the construction of The Hartley, a 323-unit luxury community. The team has two other communities underway: The Brooks, an 89-unit condominium building, and the 301-unit The Vale. All these projects are set to add much-needed supply to the upper northwest part of Washington, D.C., which has seen limited multifamily construction in the past decades.
Katie Wiacek, managing director with Hines, shared details about the upcoming residential projects and revealed the company’s plans within the $1 billion master development. Wiacek expects the live-work-play destination to add a total of more than 2,000 affordable, market-rate and luxury units, as well as senior housing apartments.
How will The Hartley differ from the other two residential developments that are currently underway at The Parks at Walter Reed?
Wiacek: The Hartley will differentiate from The Vale when it comes to its location within the Parks, design, as well as scale. The Hartley is situated within the retail center and active plaza at the north end of the site, while The Vale is adjacent to the bucolic Great Lawn and the historic Arts Park district. Both projects offer high-quality unit finishes and great building amenity packages, but with different interior design aesthetics. The Hartley has more of a nature-inspired, modern look, while The Vale has an artistic, contemporary vibe.
The Hartley is expected to include 58,000 square feet of retail space, whereas The Vale will have only 18,000 square feet. Moreover, units at The Hartley will be slightly larger. The other residential development, The Brooks, encompasses 89 condominiums with a different unit mix, unit sizing and amenity package.
What features set The Hartley apart from other multifamily projects?
Wiacek: The Hartley will have a Whole Foods store on the ground floor. At the same time, the project is designed to feature an indoor-outdoor connection, something that is also at the heart of the master plan. The ground-floor lobby connects through a staircase to the second-floor amenity space, which includes a double-height club room with views to the Parks plaza, and a coworking lounge and game lounge with access to two courtyards. These include a pool, an outdoor fitness area, grilling and dining areas, as well as a Zen garden. A gym and fitness studio space connects directly to the courtyard’s outdoor fitness zone. The penthouse level includes a more intimate party lounge and roof deck.
How will sustainability and technology be integrated in The Hartley?
Wiacek: Sustainability and energy efficiency are very important to The Parks project. The Hartley is designed to a LEED Silver standard and will include elements like a green roof, energy-efficient HVAC system, lighting and appliances. The site is an infill development, being constructed atop an existing ground-level parking garage, much of which will be reused.
The project is a short walk to the metro station as well as several bus routes, and multiple bike share stations will be added within The Parks. The technology part will include features such as smart thermostats, an intercom entry system and a package management system.
The Parks at Walter Reed will also include ambulatory care. Tell us a bit more about how your project is approaching resident health and wellness.
Wiacek: Access to health care will be found on the site, with a planned ambulatory care facility by Howard University. Children’s National Medical Center is constructing a pediatric research and innovation campus within the historic Walter Reed site, anchored by its Center for Genetic Medicine Research and Rare Disease Institute, as well as Johnson & Johnson JLABS @ Washington, D.C., Virginia Tech and The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. A clinic will house comprehensive primary-care services that will provide more convenient access to expert care for new and existing patients in northwest Washington, D.C.
We are fortunate to build on the legacy of the historic Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which was a place of healing for over a century. That legacy will be physically represented via the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and open spaces as we recognize that the built and natural environments have a tremendous impact on human health and wellness.
Plans for the development also include the creation of outdoor spaces, ranging from the historic Great Lawn and rose garden to a new playground and the retail-oriented central plaza. The site offers recreational opportunities for an active lifestyle, linking directly to Rock Creek Park and to healthy dining in the retail offerings. What’s also great about The Parks’ outdoor amenities is that they will be open to the wider community.
What can you share about financing the development?
Wiacek: Each project at The Parks at Walter Reed was separately financed. The Hartley project was financed with equity from a qualified opportunity fund through Bridge Investment Group and development partners Hines, Urban Atlantic and Triden Development Group. Santander Bank and EagleBank provided a construction loan.
What is the timeline for these projects?
Wiacek: Three projects are currently underway, including The Brooks, The Vale and The Hartley. The Brooks and The Vale are currently scheduled to open by the end of 2020 and early 2021, respectively.
What is the status of the other components of The Parks at Walter Reed?
Wiacek: We are in design now for two mixed-use, residential-over-retail projects. These projects will both be built above an existing parking garage that is being renovated under The Hartley contract. Our goal is to get these new projects underway by spring 2021, to align with The Hartley.
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What impact do you expect The Parks at Walter Reed to have on D.C.’s real estate market?
Wiacek: We think The Parks’ beautiful green spaces, unique historic buildings and walk-to retail opportunities will make it the District’s next mixed-use, live-work-play destination.
What about the impact on D.C.’s multifamily sector in particular?
Wiacek: The District has a significant amount of multifamily in the pipeline. However, upper northwest D.C., where The Parks is located, has had limited new construction in the past decades. This project will provide an opportunity for new and existing residents to live and stay within this well-established area of northwest D.C., with great access to downtown and Maryland. The Parks offers an ideal blend of urban, walkable retail and amenities, with significant parks and open space.
Do you think the demand for luxury units in Washington, D.C., will shift in upcoming quarters, considering the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic?
Wiacek: COVID-19’s resulting job losses may affect apartment demand in the D.C. area, though it is too early to forecast the exact impacts and duration. D.C.’s economy has historically been bolstered by the stability of the federal government, which, in the wake of COVID-19, may add jobs that help offset job losses in the hospitality and service industries.