WMATA begins master planning process for Huntington station

WMATA announced Thursday that it’s seeking proposals from developers to master plan land at the Huntington Metro station site for future redevelopment.

The RFP sheds light on what WMATA has in mind for the future of the station, and the plan is likely to dramatically alter the landscape on both sides of Huntington station. WMATA wants to partner with a developer or developers to construct two or more mixed-use properties on the site. The south garage will be demolished, while the north garage will likely be replaced with a parking structure that has a smaller footprint.

Map of station showing location of parcels
Click to enlarge

WMATA included design guidelines in the RFP for the two parcels (see image at right for locations), which are a total of 12 acres. The agency says the developments should be consistent with transit-oriented development, “maintain and enhance transit facilities,” increase ridership, and provide revenue for Metro.

“Concept plans should emphasize the principles of Transit-Oriented Development: higher density, mixed
use, and walkable and attractive communities around transit service,” the RFP says. “In any Joint Development, pedestrian and bicycle connections to the Metrorail stations and the surrounding area are essential and must be emphasized.”

The North Kings Highway side development will include the replacement of the south garage, which has been closed since August 2018 because of safety concerns. The garage will not be torn down until 2021, however, and whatever takes its place will be much different.

“WMATA believes that Metro and/or private parking could be constructed in a new garage which could house the bus loop on its “roof”, which plan would consolidate transit infrastructure into a single area and leave more available land for private development,” the RPF says.

Illustration of one possible site plan for parcels
An illustrative concept site plan. Click to enlarge. (WMATA image)

WMATA also says both the Huntington Avenue side parcel and the North Kings Highway side parcel could be subdivided for multiple developments. The agency says the new developments should front those roads.

Similar agreements

WMATA has entered into 18 joint developments at properties throughout their system since 2002, including a previous agreement at Huntington. In 2002, WMATA sold 28 acres around the station to developer Stout & Teague, who built 50 townhouses and the Courts at Huntington Station apartments. Mount Eagle Park was also built as part of the purchase.

Stout & Teague also owns a 3.4- acre piece of vacant land next to the Huntington Station’s south garage. A high-rise apartment and office building had been planned for that site, but Stout & Teague shelved the project.

WMATA’s RFP says the agency wants to lease the land in this case, but would be open to a sale if the developer’s proposal shows a sale is “more advantageous to Metro than a long-term ground lease.”

Schedule

WMATA has an aggressive timeline for approval of the joint development agreement. But after that, the redevelopment process will need to go through a number of approvals and other milestones before construction will hopefully begin in July 2022.

Developers have until June 9 to submit their proposals. WMATA’s Board of Directors will make their final approval in September and master plan preparation will start in October. Following that, this is WMATA’s estimated timeline:

Project timeline from WMATA
(From WMATA’s RFP)

Additional development

WMATA notes in the RFP that other large redevelopment projects near the station are already in motion. The most significant of these is the Huntington Club redevelopment, which will turn an aging townhouse community into a high-density development currently planned for 533 multifamily units, 1,014 condominiums and 67 townhouses, as well as nearly 450,000 square feet of offices, 18,000 square feet of retail and 120,000 square feet of hotel.

Additionally, a 126-unit affordable housing complex called The Arden has been approved for the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive, a 62-unit town home development called Huntington Crossing has been approved for the other side of Huntington Avenue, and a hotel and office building have been approved as Phase II and Phase III of The Parker, a 360-unit apartment building finished in 2015.

WMATA’s press release on the RFP touts Huntington’s proximity to the future Amazon HQ site in Arlington, as well as the station’s future role as the northern terminus of the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

“Joint development is part of Metro’s strategy for increasing transit ridership,” Metro Vice President of Real Estate and Parking, Nina Albert said in the press release. “It is also a win for the community because it is an opportunity to improve the station and better connect it to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as increase housing, retail and public space opportunities.”

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