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Redevelopment Of 80-Acre Armed Forces Retirement Home Campus Takes Step Forward

A rendering of the Armed Forces Retirement Home development showing the Basilica in the background

Nine months after selecting a development team for an 80-acre portion of its Northwest D.C. campus, the Armed Forces Retirement Home has inked a deal with the District to move the project forward.

The AFRH, an independent federal agency, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Capital Planning Commission and the D.C. Office of Planning that outlines the process for zoning and moving forward with the development, the three parties announced Wednesday.

The AFRH in November selected Madison Marquette and Urban Atlantic to build 4.3M SF of mixed-use development on an underutilized, 80-acre portion of the campus. 

The overall 272-acre campus, which opened in 1852, has more than 100 existing buildings and still has the capacity to house nearly 600 retired veterans. It sits directly to the north of the Washington Hospital Center near the intersection of North Capitol and Irving streets. 

Being a federal campus in the center of the District makes the project's zoning regulations more complex than a standard mixed-use development on private land, and the MOU agreement sets the process through which the redevelopment will receive entitlements and begin construction. 

Under the agreement, the D.C. Office of Planning will recommend zoning for the site that is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the 2018 master plan for the AFRH campus, and its recommendations will guide the Zoning Commission's approval process. The NCPC will review any amendments to the campus master plan.

AFRH said it is working on minor changes to the master plan and expects to submit them to NCPC in the fall. It expects the zoning process outlined in the agreement will be completed next year, at which point it will sign a ground lease with the developers and move forward with construction.

Initial plans for the project called for 2.3M SF of residential development, 1.2M SF of office, 290K SF of medical space, 214K SF of retail, 214K SF of assisted living and a 126K SF hotel around a 20-acre central park, according to documents AFRH shared with Bisnow in November

"We are excited to take this next step forward in bringing this long-anticipated project to fruition,” AFRH Chief Operating Officer James M. Branham said in a release. “More than helping the Home financially, the development will provide many new amenities that our residents and neighbors will be able to enjoy, as well as expand housing, jobs, and revenues throughout our community.”