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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

ProLogis Development Generates Concerns

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7D met Feb. 13 via Zoom. Commissioners Siraaj Hasan (7D01), Wendell Felder (7D03, chair), Ebony Payne (7D05), Marc Friend (7D06), Brian Alcorn (7D08, vice chair), Ashley Schapitl (7D09), secretary) and Brianne Eby-Stockert (7D10) were in attendance. Commissioners Mike Davis (7D04) and Brett Astmann (7D07, treasurer) were absent. Single Member District 7D02 remains vacant.

Pepco’s sale of 10 decommissioned acres of land to logistics company ProLogis dominated discussion at ANC 7D’s February meeting as representatives briefed commissioners on community engagement and construction plans.

In December of 2023, Pepco sold 10 of the 67 acres of the site of the decommissioned Benning Road Power Plan to ProLogis (www.prologis.com), a company specializing in real estate relating to supply chain logistics, often manifesting as warehouses. Pepco Vice President of External Governmental Affairs and President of Pepco Region Valencia McClure and Head of Government and Community Affairs for ProLogis Steven Hussain briefed the commission on the transaction, which had surprised many commissioners and residents.

In January, the commission wrote to ProLogis and Pepco Holdings to express its concern about the sale, to “stimulate engagement and discussions” with both companies on a community-focused use of the land and to emphasize the importance of the environmental remediation of the property.

Pepco intends to keep and maintain the use of the remaining 57 acres, stated McClure. “We’re not going anywhere,” she added. “We are an active partner within the community and we look forward to be being even a more engaged community partner with this particular area.”

ProLogis intends to break ground in 2026, said Hussain, with construction continuing through 2027. He highlighted the company’s global commitment to sustainability, expressing excitement about the environmental and economic impacts of their new facility.

“I would venture to say there is nobody who is going to build a more sustainable building and have a more sustainable operation than Prologis,” Hussein said, “We are at the forefront of this space.”

Community members are frustrated at sale of the decommissioned land to a private company, reported Chair Felder. “I’m all for sustainability as well as workforce development, however, we want to see whatever the site is transformed to benefit the community, specifically in a manner in which residents can benefit from it,” he said.

Would ProLogis would consider selling half of the land back to the District to be revitalized and developed for community use? asked Felder. The request for a partial land sale is “pretty much impossible” given its size, replied Hussain.

Commissioner Hasan echoed Felder’s concerns, noting the “lack of resources” such as grocery stores in this area of Ward 7 and highlighted the potential for the acreage to be used for public good.

Commissioner Friend raised the issue of increased truck traffic impacting nearby residential streets. ProLogis takes this type of disruption “seriously” but did not anticipate truck traffic having a negative impact on residential streets due to the location of the entry and exit points, replied Hussein.

Hasan disagreed. “Trucks come off of the highway and they tear up folks’ yards, the guardrails and more,” he said. “I will tell you I am more than concerned with this project, even more so than before.”

The commission took no vote or additional action on this matter.

Other Matters

Superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, Tara Morrison, briefed the commission on the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund that would provide nearly $12 million in funding for improvements to National Parks in Southeast DC. The National Park Service (NPS) will host pop ups this winter and spring to talk to neighbors about amenities and priorities as they plan to rehabilitate existing parks and facilities. Visit nps.org to learn more. 

The commission voted to:

• to request the Zoning Commission to reschedule the March 11 design review hearing for Hill East Parcel B of Reservation 13 to allow commissioners to review the relief being requested by the applicant;

• Write to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) in support for an Anacostia River arboretum bridge and request that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) explore a “minimally intrusive” bridge option;

• support funding the extension of the DC Streetcar project.

ANC 7D will meet next on March 12 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more about the commission and register to attend at 7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1.

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