Q1: Why is the Navy pursuing negotiations to acquire land next to the Navy Yard?
A1: The Navy is having discussions with a developer regarding the acquisition of approximately six acres of land at the Southeast Federal Center adjacent to the northwest area of the WNY. Acquiring the land would enable the Navy to address security vulnerabilities and help protect Navy facilities from encroachment and development incompatible with the Navy’s mission.
Q2: What are the security vulnerabilities/concerns? Why is preventing incompatible development so important to the Navy?
A2: The proposed high-rise residential development could subject critical Navy facilities to eavesdropping. Moreover, Tingey Street is a publicly accessible road along the Navy Yard perimeter, and vehicular and pedestrian traffic would increase as development progresses.
Q3: Is the Navy acquiring this land because of anti-terrorism/force protection matters?
A3: Yes, the Navy is negotiating to acquire the development rights to improve the existing FP posture of the WNY and help protect Navy facilities from encroachment and development that is incompatible with the Navy’s mission.
Q4: Why wasn't security a problem up until now?
A4: Security concerns have evolved over time and the Navy has become more aware of the cyber threat and the potential for electronic surveillance/espionage. Acquisition of the land would allow the Navy to control potential future reuse of the land, thus mitigating security concerns. Current developer plans are for a high-rise residential development that poses a significant security risk.
Q5: Other buildings in the vicinity have sightlines and visibility into the Navy Yard. Do they also have the potential for visual/electronic surveillance? Is this acquisition the first of a larger Navy land grab?
A5: The safety and security of our workforce and infrastructure are always our top priorities. Since the land is available and underdeveloped, acquiring the “E” parcels will address specific security concerns. A land exchange (which is one option the Navy is considering) would allow the Navy to leverage the value of underutilized property by exchanging it for parcels that will enhance security at the WNY.
Q6: Is the Navy also considering acquiring parcels west of the power plant (bldg. 116 and 118)?
A6: No, these facilities are not critically vulnerable to eavesdropping or surveillance.
Q7: Why can’t the Navy forgo acquiring land and just restrict cars from using Tingey Street?
A7: The Navy does not own Tingey Street. Tingey Street, a publicly accessible street, is the only street that connects The Yards into the “E” parcel area. Only restricting vehicles on Tingey Street will not solve the encroachment concerns that would exist if a developer constructs high-rise residential buildings.
Q8: Didn’t the Navy own the property a number of years ago? If so, why did they give it up?
A8: Yes, at one time, the Navy owned this particular property. In 1963, the Navy ceded approximately 60 acres (the western portion of the WNY), which was considered excess land at the time, to the General Services Administration (GSA). In accordance with the Southeast Federal Center (SEFC) Public-Private Development Act of 2000, GSA sold development rights to a private developer.
Q9: If the Federal Government already owns this property, why isn't it transferred to the Navy? Does the SEFC Development Act restrict the Navy from acquiring this property?
A9: GSA owns the property; however, GSA sold the development rights to a developer and entered into a development agreement and therefore cannot transfer the property to the Navy unless the developer is compensated for the development rights.
Q10: How much will this cost the Navy?
A10: In accordance with the ongoing NEPA process, we are currently exploring options to acquire the property, either through a land exchange or acquisition of development rights. A land exchange would minimize out-of-pocket costs for the Navy. A final decision will be contingent upon the completion of NEPA and associated regulatory consultations.
Q11: Could the Navy consider eminent domain?
A11: The Navy cannot currently use this approach because the Federal Government already owns the property (held by GSA). If the developer were to obtain ownership of the land, the Federal Government would be able to consider exercising eminent domain; however, the Navy would still have to compensate the developer for the fair market value of the property.
Q12: Is the Navy planning to use this property for additional parking?
A12: Parking is not intended to be the primary use. However, some parking may be associated with the eventual development of the property. Impacts of any proposed parking will be identified and analyzed in the NEPA process.
Q13: Is the Navy planning to use this property to build a new National Museum of the U.S. Navy?
A13: A new museum is one option the Navy is exploring for the land’s use; however, any development option is contingent upon completion of NEPA and associated regulatory consultations.
Q14: The argument for land acquisition is for security, but yet if the Navy proposes building a Museum, that allows public access. Why is that not a security concern?
A14: The orientation and massing of a museum or any Navy construction project can be done in a manner that provides the Navy the required buffer and setback to mitigate security concerns. Additionally, the Navy would maintain an interest in the museum (ownership of the land), allowing restrictive control and limited access to vulnerable areas. At a minimum, a proposed museum would apply the security design and procedures similar to those of the Smithsonian museums.
Q15: If the Navy were to acquire the land and control Tingey Street, how will people access a Museum and Building 202/parcel E1?
A15: A Museum would be outside the Navy Yard fence line to ensure public accessibility. The Navy would work with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the National Capital Planning Commission, The District Department of Transportation, and other regulators to facilitate public access.
Q16: Would a museum fulfill the intent of the SEFC Public-Private Development Act of 2000?
A16: The Department of the Navy and the GSA agree that it would meet the intention of the Southeast Federal Center (SEFC) Public-Private Development Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-407). The Act provided GSA the authority to enter into public-private partnerships to transform the SEFC into a vibrant hub of mixed-use development.
Q17: If negotiations aren't complete how does the Navy have confidence that it can acquire the land?
A17: We remain optimistic. The Navy is in early conversations with the developer. They expressed a willingness to continue a dialogue to strike a deal. The Navy will not sign any legally binding agreements before the completion of NEPA and associated regulatory consultations.
Q18: Is Building 74 listed on the National Register of Historic Places?
A18: Building 74 represents the industrial architecture that populated the former Navy Yard and contributes to the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, which is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) provides resources eligible for NRHP listing with the same protections as those listed on the NRHP. The Navy will include Building 74 in the NHPA Section 106 Consultation being conducted in concert with the WNY land acquisition NEPA analysis.
Q19: If a land swap occurs, wouldn’t this create a security concern at the SE corner of the Navy Yard?
A19: The Navy does not intend to solve one security concern by creating another. Reviewing and improving the AT/FP posture of the WNY is an ongoing effort that requires consistent re-evaluation and prioritization. - We are working with all Washington Navy Yard tenants to ensure their security requirements will be met if a land swap occurs.
Q20: What is the value of the SEFC parcels?
A20: Navy is not authorized to share the value of appraisals because it is considered sensitive procurement information.