A map from the city of the first phase of development at St. Elizabeths
A map from the city of the first phase of development at St. Elizabeths

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Five development teams have submitted proposals to kick off the reinvention of the former mental hospital at St. Elizabeths near Congress Heights, Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Jeff Miller announced today.

There was some question as to the level of developer interest in the mega-project, which city officials hope will transform a neglected section of Ward 8 with a mix of residences, offices, retail, and community spaces. The city rescinded its initial request for developers after deciding that starting off the process with a search for academic anchors might make the remainder of the site more attractive to would-be developers.

Now it appears that the interest is there—-to an extent. The five teams that submitted proposals don’t include any major national developers, or any of the top developers of large-scale D.C. projects. These teams submitted proposals by the June 27 deadline, following the city’s March 31 solicitation:

·         Anacostia Economic Development Corporation and Flaherty & Collins Development (Master Development Partners); Bob Geolas of Research Triangle Park Foundation (Innovation Advisor); and Scott Sklar of George Washington University (Academic Advisor)

·         Four Points LLC (Master Developer); The Warrenton Group (Residential); Capitol Services Management, Inc. (Academic and Innovation Manager); Consortium of Universities (Academic Advisor); Washington Business Group (Community Outreach and Small Business); and Congress Heights Main Streets (CDC) (Community Engagement & Workforce Training)

·         Partnership for Collaborative Innovation, which includes Thoron Capital (Managing Partner); Gordon Jones, Founding Director of the Harvard Innovation Lab (Innovation Partner); and Creative Opportunities Venture, Inc. (Community Partner)

·         Redbrick LMD (Master Developer); NVR, Inc. (Residential); Consortium of Universities and TenSquare LLC (Charter Schools), DC Innovates and Capital E (Academic and Innovation Partners)

·         St. Elizabeths Collaborative, which includes Friedman Capital Advisors (Master Developer) and NVR Inc. (Residential)

The Anacostia Economic Development Corporation and Four Points have extensive experience working east of the Anacostia River. The Partnership for Collaborative Innovation, including an “innovation partner” from the Harvard Innovation Lab, is aiming to capitalize on the city’s desire to create a 175,000-square-foot technology “innovation hub” on the site. 

In addition to the innovation hub, the city is hoping to create about 200 housing units and 600,000 square feet of office space in this first phase of the St. Elizabeths East Campus development. The buildings of the first phase will be located near the Congress Heights Metro station on Alabama Avenue SE. The first phase will cover 1.6 million square feet on the 183-acre East Campus.

The deputy mayor’s office will interview the five responding teams and ask them to present their proposals to the community this fall. After that, the city will select a team to develop the site.

“Each project is unique and calls for developers with creativity, knowledge of the neighborhood, and vision to address the associated nuances,” DMPED spokeswoman Chanda Washington says in an email. “Each of these teams will be evaluated based on that criteria, as well as others, including financial capacity and track record. We look forward to having new partners involved in our projects.”

Map from the city’s request for proposals