Housing Complex

Evans Bill Would Strip Howard Town Center Funding

howardtowncenterwebIn late 2012, the D.C. Council approved an $11 million tax break for the development of Howard Town Center, a mixed-use project on Georgia Avenue across from and owned by Howard University, despite the fact that then-D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi had deemed the subsidy unnecessary. Now that plans for the Howard Town Center have collapsed amid a dispute between the university and the developer, the tax break looks even less necessary, at least according to Jack Evans. So today, the Ward 2 councilmember introduced legislation that would take the money allocated for the subsidy and spend it on the creation of new business improvement districts.

The fate of the Howard Town Center is uncertain. "It's been postponed indefinitely," says Evans. "I haven’t heard any positive news on it in a while." And so Evans wants to use the money for a priority of his, promoting new business improvement districts in wards 7 and 8.

"The money now is available, and I don’t want somebody else to snatch it," he says.

Councilmember Jim Graham of Ward 1, where the Howard Town Center would be located, wrote an email today to constituents in which he thanked Evans for the bill. "I am still hopeful that the legal differences will be resolved between Howard University and the developer," Graham wrote. "With that said, funds can be located for this important purpose from other sources."

When plans for the Howard Town Center fell through, it was unclear what would happen to the subsidy. Evans' bill, should it be approved by a Council committee and the full body, would clarify that.

Howard Town Center rendering from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

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  • drez

    I don't understand why Evans thinks BIDs would be good for 7 and 8. BIDs are supported through additional mandatory tax assessments on those in their area, and 7 and 8 property owners don't generate the income necessary to support those. Unless the idea is to have big players like Jemal buy up blocks of property it just doesn't seem feasible or sustainable.
    And $11 million isn't enough for even bridge money to get to that point.

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  • Dan James

    Pretty provocative (negative) title for a relatively innocuous action by Jack.

  • please

    The City will pay for the BIDs for 5 years because those businesses in Wards 7 and 8 cannot support them at this time. Read the bill.

  • cminus

    @drez, Evans has proposed that the new Ward 7 and 8 BIDs would be funded by general tax revenue for at least the first few years.

    I disagree with Evans's plan -- BIDs ameliorate the impact of successful commercial districts, they don't create an incentive to go to struggling ones -- but he is at least aware of the funding problem.

  • noodlez

    SERIOUSLY???? WHY ARE YOU BAMMAS GLOSSING OVER THE OBVIOUS OR IS IT JUST SO FUCKING COLD THAT I'M THE ONLY ONE RECOGNIZING JACK “ I DOT & T CROSS” EVANS DID THIS TO GAIN POLITICAL POINTS AND POSITIONING TO NOT ONLY ATTEMPT TO GET THE "ZENITH" ENDORSEMENT BUT TO GARNER VOTES FOR THE UPCOMING MAYORAL RACE THAT HAPPENS IN LESS THAN 4 MONTHS?

    MANNNN THIS IS SOME TYPICAL JACK EVANS SHIT! HOW LONG HAS THIS HOWARD U. CENTER DEVELOPMENT THING BEEN SIMMERING? HOW LONG HAS JACK EVANS BEEN ON THE COUNCIL? NOW HE WANT TO SEND WARDS 7 & 8 SOME DEALS TO IMPROVE HISTORICALLY BLACK HOODS THAT HAVE LACKED THE ATTENTION IT SHOULD HAVE REC'D WHEN H ST NE, NATS PARK CORRIDOR AND OTHERS SPIZZOTS WERE GETTING DOUGH FUNNELED IT’S WAY.

    NIGGA PLEEZE.
    YO JACK E. YOUR PASTY ASS MAY BE TEETERING ON TRANSLUCENT BUT STILL WE SEE YOU!

  • drez

    1) A BID is a specific term and if whatever it is Evans is proposing is not funded by taxes on the contributing commercial property owners than, whatever it is, it is not a BID.
    2) Where are the commercial properties in 7 and 8 that could in 5 years generate the revenue necessary to support a BID and who currently ownes them? Look at the budgets for the various BIDs around town.

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