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NoMa BID Buys Land From Douglas For Another Park

The Third and L streets NE intersection, with the new park site labeled as Swampoodle Park II.

Northeast D.C's fast-developing NoMa neighborhood has opened its first two public green spaces in the last two years, and it has just bought the land for a third. 

The NoMa Parks Foundation, an affiliate of the NoMa Business Improvement District, announced Wednesday it paid $3.4M to acquire the vacant lot at 1100 Third St. NE from an affiliate of Douglas Development Corp. 

The 5,800 SF site sits at the intersection of Third and L streets NE. The site is directly across the street from Swampoodle Park, the first park NoMa opened in November 2018 featuring a dog park and children's play structure.

The foundation acquired the Swampoodle Park parcel in October 2015, and it had looked at buying the second site at the same time, but it wasn't able to come to an agreement with the owner, NoMa Parks Foundation President Robin-Eve Jasper told Bisnow

"We tried to buy it from Douglas in 2015 when we first bought Swampoodle, and the price tag on it was considerably higher than we ultimately paid now in 2020," Jasper said. 

She declined to share the exact price Douglas asked for the site in 2015, but said it was "extremely high." She said it was more than the foundation was able to pay and indicated to her that the developer wasn't interested in selling it at the time. Douglas didn't respond to requests for comment. 

This summer, the NoMa Parks Foundation opened the 2-acre Tanner Park, featuring a lawn, playground, dog park and multiple plaza areas along the Metropolitan Branch Trail

The projects were funded through a D.C. Council bill in 2014 that provided the foundation with $50M to acquire land for public parks. The foundation has also delivered two artistic light installations under the bridges on M and L streets. 

The foundation plans to work with the community to design the new park and come up with a name, but Jasper said it has a vision for the elements it will include. She said it will have more seating areas and open green space to complement the dog and children's areas across the street. 

"It will have active space as well as passive space for people to sit and enjoy the outdoors and have a picnic, things people can do at Tanner but couldn't do at Swampoodle," Jasper said. 

Jasper earlier this month announced she was stepping down from her role as president of the NoMa BID, but she plans to continue leading the NoMa Parks Foundation. She said she expects to stay in her role at the BID through the end of the year as the board looks for her replacement. 

"My brain and business attention is really project-oriented, and it felt to me like this is a project, that my role at the BID from starting it up to seeing the neighborhood almost 75% built out was enough time," Jasper said. "I would personally be interested in doing something new, but also I think that a fresh perspective is always good."