The Armed Forces Retirement Home will soon begin a project on its Northwest DC Campus that is now ten years in the making. On Monday, March 19th, the AFRH issued a solicitation to developers. Paying its operating costs from a trust fund rather than federal appropriations, the AFRH has had difficulty making ends meet over the years, but thanks to some creative thinking and congressional approval, a portion of the 272-acre campus has been allocated for private development. This will create a new revenue stream from which the fund can be topped off.
Though various ups and downs have halted the forward progress of this project, the delays may have been a blessing. Petworth, the neighborhood that shares the AFRH’s northwest border, has undergone a fabulous transformation and further change for the better is eminent. The increased popularity of Petworth real estate is sure to have an impact on the success of the proposed development on the retirement home’s campus.
The AFRH has set aside 80 acres for mixed-use development, which will likely include condos, rental apartments, and all manner of dining and retail. The original master plan was was approved in 2008, but like so many of 2008’s best laid plans--well, you get the idea. Finally, a decade later, the National Capital Planning Commission has endorsed the new development plan. The new plan is similar to the old, but with a few exciting amendments. A multi-building heating plant and the massive LaGarde building (healthcare & assisted living) have both fallen out of use by the AFRH and have been included in the new development plan.
The impressive project, weighing in at nearly 4.4 million square feet, will be situated along Rock Creek Church Rd NW, which intersects conveniently with Georgia Ave NW at the site of the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro Station on the Green and Yellow lines. Those who take advantage of residential options in the new development will have easy access to Petworth’s existing dining and retail options and those already dwelling in Petworth condos and the neighborhood’s iconic rowhomes will have a whole new commercial outpost to explore.
As dining and shopping crowds intensify in downtown DC, new developments like this give residents the option to save time and stay close to home. This is a win, not only for the Armed Foreces Retirement Home, but for the ever-prospering neighborhood of Petworth as well.