Just like the perennials that begin popping up in springtime, the process to find a site for a new Marine Barracks has once again reappeared, with a Draft EIS
released late on Friday that provides a deep study of five potential locations but does not identify the usual "preferred alternative."
For those lucky readers who have not been traveling on this path since it began in 2010
(!), the Marines are desperately wishing to move out of the antiquated and not-removed-enough-from-the-streets Building 20 at 8th and I streets, SE. (No, not the historic buildings that run along 8th Street where the Friday night parades are held--this is that lovely midcentury modern monolith on the south side of I Street.)
This draft EIS
identifies five alternatives that meet the requirements that include constructing a 191,405 sf Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) complex that complies with anti-terrorism/force protection setbacks as well as finding spaces for various support facilities currently housed in Building 20. But, in an unusual situation for a draft EIS, no "preferred alternative" has been identified--the Marines apparently don't have a (publicly stated) preference, and "each of the action alternatives involve trade-offs among economig, technical, environmental, and Marine Corps statutory requirements."
As for the five alternatives, they include:
) Taking 3 acres
of privately held land on the two blocks bounded by Virginia, 8th, 9th, and Potomac, which would include acquiring 24 privately held properties, demolishing 14 buildings, and closing a one-block stretch of L Street, to build a five-story building with underground parking;
* (Left center
) Taking two acres of former Southeast Federal Center land within the footprint of The Yards
immediately to the west of Hull Street and the Navy Yard to build an eight-story building with an attached above-ground garage, a move that would necessitate an agreement with both Forest City and the GSA to transfer the land to the Marines and which apparently has already engendered Forest City's "formal opposition" (page 2-21);
* (Right center) Taking 1.67 acres within the walls of the Navy Yard, just south of M Street between 9th/Parsons and 10th, to build a 5- or 6-story building, while demolishing a building currently used by the Marines (Building 169) as well as tennis and basketball courts and a parking lot; and
) Using .89 acres
nestled between the existing BEQ site at 7th and K
and its lovely above-ground parking garage on L Street to build a 6- or 7-story building that would wrap around the existing Building 25, while still keeping the footprint of the large soccer/marching band field untouched. Parking would be in the existing underground garage at the old Building 20 site for both this alternative and the Navy Yard one.
I am of course just scratching the surface of the 300-page document
. If you want to learn more, and/or want to provide comments on any of these plans, there is going to be an open house public meeting on Wednesday, April 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at Tyler Elementary School (1001 G St., SE). Comments can also be submitted until May 26, either through the mail or the EIS web site