The National Park Service wants a conservation easement on the West Heating Plant property to prevent a future owner from building anything on certain portions of the land.
The General Services Administration is auctioning off the West Heating Plant federal property at 1051 29th St. NW, though there have been no bids in the week and a half since bidding opened on Jan. 18.
The easement, for a section of land outside the high stone wall that runs adjacent to Rock Creek and the C&O Canal, would prohibit development of anything on the land east of the high retaining wall adjacent to Rock Creek or on the land north of the stone wall that is adjacent to the C&O Canal. It would also maintain public access to Rock Creek and the C&O Canal from the eastern and northern edges of the West Heating Plant site.
The NPS has already requested access to the site by the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, "for performing inspection, maintenance, or repairs to the stone retaining wall that borders the extreme northern portion of the site."
The conservation easement is an additional request that NPS wanted included in the bid documents so any future owner would be aware of the agency's hopes for that land.
“We want to let whoever the bidder is know it is something that we are interested in," Doug Jacobs, the NPS deputy associate regional director for land, planning and design, told Patch.
GSA does not have the authority to include the easement in the deed, Jacobs explained. But he said he believes the strong language of the note will put developers on notice. Jacobs said NPS hopes the easement may be made possible through the local development review process as a public benefit.
Monday Jones Lang Lasalle, GSA's brokerage firm for the project, notified interested parties that a post transfer advisory had been added to the Invitation for Bid, which explains the property and the auction process.
The note in its entirety states:
"By this notice, GSA informs bidders that following GSA's transfer of the property to the grantee, the National Park Service (NPS) is encouraging the grantee to convey to NPS a conservation easement covering the areas outside the high wall adjacent to Rock Creek and the C&O Canal for purposes of maintaining open space and providing public access to Rock Creek and the C&O Canal. A conservation easement may be consistent with the outcome of the local land use review process (see pg 7-9) and provide certain tax advantages to the grantee; bidders are advised to conduct independent due diligence in this regard. Bidders are encouraged to contact NPS for more information related to such an easement. The point of contact for NPS is Brian Woodbury, Regional Chief of Lands (202.619.7034)."
The auction closes at 5 p.m. Feb. 19, though GSA reserves the right to a possible auction extension.
Read more about the West Heating Plant on Patch:
- West Heating Plant Auction Begins Today
- OP Joins Push for West Heating Plant Green Space