The $700 million Parks at Walter Reed has entered a new phase in 2023 as its master developers focus on the ground-floor experience.

As of this month, 1,030 residential units are either underway or completed at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, more than 70% of the units planned for the 3.1-million-square-foot project. And so, lead development team Hines, Urban Atlantic and Triden Development Group are turning their attention to the 100,000-plus square feet of retail — including the Whole Foods Market scheduled to open this summer — and common spaces that will tie the development together.

Meanwhile, the developers want to sell off the leasehold interest in a couple of properties on the historic campus — the old firehouse and auto shop along Cameron Drive NW, just north of the intersection with Aspen Street NW. They're asking $2.5 million for the former and $1.5 million for the latter, expecting both buildings could make for interesting adaptive reuse projects for retail, arts or creative office.

Brokerage Feldman Ruel is leading the search for buyers.

"They're just really cool, unique buildings," said Caroline Kenney, managing director of public private ventures for Urban Atlantic, adding it has always been the plan to see some parcels like this sold off to others once roads and infrastructure were built out to support them. "They're at a good point in terms of making it easier for a buyer to be able to get in and do their build."

At build out, The Parks is expected to include 1,670 apartments and condominium units, 405,000 square feet of office and hotel, 175,000 square feet of retail and 480,000 square feet of nonprofit and educational space. Construction is likely to continue through 2030.

The retail component is coming into view — about 60,000 square feet of it is under construction for a third-quarter finish within The Hartley, a mixed-use building located between Elder and Dahlia streets NW, less than a block off Georgia Avenue. Signed tenants include the Whole Foods, Jinya Ramen Bar, Mezeh, Chase Bank, Charmery and Nailsalon. "Large-scale placemaking," with diverse real estate options in close proximity, has given the Parks' retail leasing efforts a leg up, said Andrew McGeorge, who was named head of the D.C. office for Hines this year.

In addition to the 313-unit Hartley, projects under construction now at Walter Reed include Kite House, a 109-unit condo building scheduled to deliver this spring; 1155 Dahlia, a 60-room, 248-bed co-living concept to finish in summer; and the 50-townhome Aspen Square built by NV Homes. The Reynard, a 344-unit apartment building fronting Georgia Avenue, started work in 2022 with anticipation completion in 2024. And Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) is expected to start construction on its 144-unit Veranda Townhomes this year.

McGeorge said the project offers a rare "large blank canvas" for the development team. The mixed-use nature makes it a good place to stay busy while the real estate market, especially for offices, remains challenged. Much of the planned office at The Parks is listed as 2025 and beyond on the site plan.ssssssss

"We're sort of in that final, final push," Kenney said. "This year, the real momentum is around our retail marketplace."