The State Department’s request to redraw the boundaries for splitting the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center between it and the District of Columbia in response to an effort by a Washington, D.C.-based pediatric hospital to obtain a parcel on the campus threatens the city’s redevelopment plans, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said last week.
The Children’s National Medical Center obtained language in the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill permitting the Army to convey 13.2 acres to the hospital at no cost for a biomedical research institute. The tract would come out of the 43.5-acre parcel slated to be conveyed to the State Department for a foreign missions center, prompting agency officials to ask lawmakers for an offset of between 8 and 13 acres of the 66.7-acre parcel the District government is redeveloping, reports the Washington Business Journal.
But the department’s request would bifurcate the city’s parcel and jeopardize its reuse plans, according to District officials.
“Such a change would drastically shrink the land area the District would receive and would have a devastating impact on the District’s ability to deliver on the priorities the Congress, the Army, and our residents have expressed,” Gray wrote Thursday to Army Secretary John McHugh.
Gray added that going ahead with the State Department’s plan would halt the nearly complete negotiations between the city and the Army over transferring the site, eliminate projects to provide housing for homeless veterans and disrupt the ongoing negotiations between the District and its master developer.
The mayor concludes the letter by asking the Army to “keep the BRAC process on track” and transfer the tract allotted to the city. And if the Army cannot come to an agreement with the State Department, it should “analyze whether the remaining 30 acres of the site would be put to more productive use by awarding them to the District.”