Town center proposed at old Walter Reed Medical Center

There is talk of some new life for the old Walter Reed Medical Center. District officials are reviewing plans for a possible town center on the site.

The patients left the hospital building for Bethesda a year ago, yet the utility plant still runs to maintain the massive mothballed complex as neighbors wait to see what happens next.

Some residents are opposed to a shopping center, fearing it will bring more traffic and congestion. But that’s one of the things city officials are planning for the 66-acre complex: a D.C. town center to also include housing and offices.

“Million-plus square feet of office space for example,” says Victor Hoskins, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “That generates traffic to feed and help retailers in the area and it also rounds out the community in terms of services.”

The local advisory neighborhood commissions seem to be mostly on board with the idea.

“Most everybody’s looking forward to it and wondering what it is and some with some trepidation,” says Faith Wheeler.

Gone will be the $2.6 million square-foot concrete hospital to make way for new construction. The city will keep the 1,000-car underground parking garage the government built for Walter Reed.

Yet some longtime residents hate the idea.

“People who live in Georgetown can’t park in front of their houses,” says Deborah Hawkins. “They got to park three or four blocks away. I don’t want Georgetown on Georgia Avenue.”