Housing Complex

City Seeks Academic Anchor for St. Elizabeths

The St. Elizabeths master plan puts the academic anchor in repurposed buildings in the Maple Quad and CT Village.

The city's stutter-step approach to developing the St. Elizabeths campus in Ward 8 inched forward this morning with a call for academic institutions interested in anchoring a planned innovation hub on the site.

The request for expressions of interest seeks "academic institutions or consortia that wish to serve as the academic anchor for the St. Elizabeths East Innovation Hub, an integrated center of research, education and private sector commercial activities" on the 183-acre St. Elizabeths East Campus, between the Anacostia and Congress Heights Metro stations. The city anticipates that the first phase of the Innovation Hub will be 500,000 square feet and include education and research uses.

Back in November, the city issued an RFEI for mixed-use development on four parcels on the southern edge of the campus as an attempt to jump-start the development of St. Elizabeths. But the city then rescinded that RFEI, deciding instead to start with the academic anchor so that developers could see signs of progress before bidding on the mixed-use portions of the campus.

Responses to this RFEI are due by July 26; the city will conduct interviews with selected respondents later in the summer. Once an academic institution is selected, the hope is that there'll be more developer interest in the rest of the campus. We'll see how it plays out.

Rendering from the RFEI

  • George

    "Once an academic institution is selected, the hope is that there'll be more developer interest in the rest of the campus."

    Interestingly enough, the timeline on the RFEI says they will pick the Phase I developer this year, but will not finally select the institutional anchor until next year. I suppose they at least wanted to get a head start on the academic anchor before talking to developers again.

  • 202_cyclist

    Regarding Saint Elizabeth's, the District could have sold its prime land right next to the Van Ness metro station in upper Northwest and used this to finance a new UDC campus at Saint Elizabeth's. This would have made Van Ness more vibrant and allowed more people to live next to the metro station, encouraged economic growth east of the Anacostia, and provided significant revenue to finance a new campus. Oops!

  • Lukas

    Would have been among the prettiest campuses on the East Coast. Is it too late?

  • 202_cyclist

    @Lukas: Considering that the $40M UDC student center is already under construction, this ship has sailed.

  • Burd

    @202_cyclist

    UDC could still sell its student center to AU, GW or Georgetown, which all could find some use for it. Heck, even Howard Law would be a contender, since its campus is in the neighbourhood.

    UDC needs to be East of the River. At least move the community college campus there. This is the area with highest unemployment and zero universities.

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