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

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The redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths East Campus, near the Congress Heights Metro station, is finally moving forward, and a dozen colleges and universities want to get in on the action.

In April, the city issued a solicitation for “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. Responses were due last Friday, and today Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins announced the respondents to the solicitation.

Technically, there are three responses: one from Howard University; one from Graduate School USA, an independent educational institution that was created by the Department of Agriculture ; and one from The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area in partnership with National Institute of Health and Matthews Memorial Baptist Church. But the consortium response includes expressions of interest from 11 colleges and universities:

  • American University
  • Community College of the University of the District of Columbia
  • The Catholic University of America
  • Gallaudet University
  • George Mason University
  • The George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Howard University
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Trinity Washington University

The city expects the first phase of the Innovation Hub to be 500,000 square feet and include education and research uses. The search for an academic anchor comes after the city issued and then canceled a request for mixed-use development of four parcels on the southern end of the site. The hope now is that an academic anchor will give the development of St. Elizabeths the momentum needed to spur private development elsewhere on the site.

The responses to the academic solicitation come on the heels of another potential expansion of area colleges. Two weeks ago, the three teams competing to develop the Walter Reed site along Upper Georgia Avenue unveiled their proposals for the site, each of which includes a presence by at least one local college or university.

The city will issue a request for proposals for the St. Elizabeths academic anchor in the winter, and will select a college or other partner next summer.