First, everything was happening on Reservation 13, the 67-acre piece of land located just south of RFK Stadium on the Anacostia River.
Then very little was happening.
Finally, nothing: Mayor Vince Gray seemed to have decided as recently as March that the project was a lost cause in this development cycle, unless a Redskins training facility tell out of the sky onto the site.
Now, Gray has decided to move forward with the two most shovel-ready "pads," closest to the surrounding homes and the Stadium-Armory Metro stop. They're hoping that a first phase will catalyze development of the rest of it, and also help finance the $100 million in infrastructure other pieces (right now, there's no funding or plan to move the mega-homeless shelter and other social services currently on the site).
To do so, they're scrapping the last two developers' offers entirely, and issuing an entirely new request for expressions of interest in the fall.
That means another two or three years at least before ground gets broken, and naturally, folks who've been involved in the process for more than a decade are loath to see their work simply trashed.
But Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins told Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B Tuesday night that sticking with the current developers would leave the District wide open for lawsuits from teams that weren't picked, potentially causing yet another delay -- so tough cookies.
"I know you don't like the answer, but I'm not here for what you like," Hoskins said. "I'm here to get the job done."
Still, the agency promised to abide by the nine-year-old master plan, which calls for residential and retail on the parcels in question. As for the whole Redskins idea: Sounds like we can forget about it. For now at least.
"There is no facility on the table. That was all discussions," Hoskins insisted. "I think people exaggerate the situation, and that exaggeration leads to these speculations. And so, honestly, no, it's not on the table. It was never on the table. That's what I'm saying."
District Moving Forward -- Again -- With Bite-Sized Piece of Hill East was originally published by Washington City Paper on May 15, 2012.