Round three of Cafritz Property development public meetings took place last week where design principles were publicized. These principles will be used to draft concept plans. The completed concept plans will be presented in a fourth round of public meetings in September before the Cafritz’s apply for rezoning. Identical meetings for the concept plans will be SATURDAY, September 15th (10am-12pm), and TUESDAY, September 18th (7-9pm).
Here is a representative list of the design principles…
Transportation & Connections – No vehicle connection to Calvert Hills, but instead pedestrian and bike connection is possible. Connect to Riverdale Town Center with streets, paths and trails, and connect to the existing surrounding trail system overall. Buffer sidewalks with trees and lamp posts. Connect for cars, bikes, and/or pedestrians over the CSX tracks to River Road. Make a Rt.1 intersection with no University Park access to discourage cut-through traffic in UP.
Organize streets in a grid pattern with parallel parking. Implement “right-size” parking that at most meets but does not exceed zone requirements; get a variance for that if necessary.
Business & Retail – The retail broker on the development team reports that there are no negotiations between East Campus and Whole Foods. This further strengthens the possibility of the grocer being on the Cafritz Property. Images of short retail fronted by wide recreational and pedestrian areas were posted as representative of what the developer has in mind.
Placemaking – Locate tall buildings (4-8 stories) in the south-center of site, and stagger shorter buildings from there to the sides. Back parking garages against the post office buildings to the south to minimize their presence. Make a main public green on Rt. 1 that sets back about 156′ and retains natural topography and trees. Scatter other green areas throughout. Place public art throughout.
Livability – Make residential primarily home-owned rather than rented. Minimize single-story retail by building residential above ground-level retail.
Environment – A pilot LEED rating system called LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) is being pursued. The pilot rating system integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design. The Cafritz Property is not part of the pilot program but is pursuing LEED ND nonetheless with help from a consulting firm hired for that specific purpose.
The future of the WMATA site bordering the north of the property is still very up in the air. This is probably why the pedestrian/biker connection to Calvert Hills was only identified as a possibility at this point.
We are happy to report that the development team addressed their reasoning for mixed-use development over other possibilities. This was something that was not done in previous meetings, as discussed in a previous article. **Check back soon for a more in-depth discussion about this.**