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After unveiling a draft Environmental Impact Statement back in April that did not name a "preferred alternative" out of any of the five sites studied as a new barracks location, the Marines have now apparently made their choice: .89 acres of land at the existing "MBW Annex" site on L Street SE between 5th and 7th Streets.
Quoting the EIS web site:
"The Draft EIS comment period concluded on May 26, 2015. The Marine Corps received comments from 14 agencies and individuals, most of which indicated a preference for one of the two alternatives that would construct the BEQ Replacement Complex on Department of Defense-owned land (Alternative 4 - Site D at the Washington Navy Yard or Alternative 5 - Site E at the MBW Annex). The Marine Corps identified Alternative 5 as the preferred alternative based on this agency and public input, as well as its proximity to the MBW Main Post and Annex, the elimination of the need for land acquisition, and the mitigatable environmental impacts of locating the replacement BEQ Complex at this site."
As described in the draft EIS, the choice of this location means that the Marines are expecting to build a six- or seven-story building that wraps around the BEQ that opened in 2004. They also expect to retain the underground parking at the 8th and I/Building 20 site they are trying to move out of (though there is already that nice big four-story aboveground garage at the L Street site that neighbors are so fond of). The playing field along Virginia Avenue is expected to be retained, however.
There is no mention of any possible closures of L Street between 5th and 7th, as had been discussed back in 2010 when the Marines were eyeing Square 882, where the Lofts at Capitol Quarter are now being built. And it was in 2012 that the Department of Defense relaxed its Force Protection Requirements, meaning that any new quarters would need only a 66-foot standoff from the street, compared to the 82 feet the original land search had been operating under.
This would seem to bring to an end the long, long road from when the Marines first launched the public process to find a new site back in 2010, which initially focused on various privately owned properties south of the freeway where the Corps though it could perhaps create a "public-private" location that would provide some services or benefits to the public. But as it became clear that businesses, officials, and residents weren't particularly excited about seeing blocks near Lower 8th Street and the Virginia Avenue Park being turned into secure, fenced locations (especially once the phrase "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable" cropped up), the Marines' choices seemed to narrow to the two federally owned sites, and now to the site that they have controlled all along.
The final EIS is expected in the fall, with the Record of Decision in early 2016.
Comments (7)
   
 
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JES says: (7/2/15 5:01 PM)
Excellent news from a land use perspective


rpyxyz says: (7/2/15 5:18 PM)
This sounds like the right pick for all people involved.

That "nice, big, four-story" garage, though, is already over-full. If you've ever noticed Marines guarding the lot under the highway on 7th street on weekday mornings, it's because the garage is already full from the cars owned by Marines who live in the Annex. There are no spaces left for the Marines who live off-post and commute in.


Local says: (7/6/15 3:32 PM)
You write that the playing field is expected to be retained, but the map shows the proposed building taking up a substantial part of the existing field. I believe the Marine Corps had to promise to provide community access to those fields when the city gave (or sold) them the land. I wonder how this will work out?


BillP says: (7/7/15 9:57 AM)
Great news for the neighborhood! Seems like the new building could also include underground parking to replace the parking at 8th and I, especially if they are looking to fully redevelop that site. Underground parking is expensive but they will likely be saving tons of money by not having to acquire additional land.


JD says: (7/8/15 1:28 PM)
For those who don't either follow on Twitter or don't scroll down a smidge on the JDLand home page to look at the Twitter box, Buffalo Wild Wings is now advertising managerial jobs for a new location on M Street in Washington DC:
link



Packinblackandred says: (7/8/15 1:51 PM)
Very cool! Also, Scarlet Oak has taken down most of the paper blocking their windows and put up a "Now Hiring" sign.


JD says: (7/9/15 10:30 AM)
Scarlet Oak also got its permit yesterday for its "real" sign.

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