The plans are still vague, but Teach for America is joining together with the crowd-sourcing real estate investor Fundrise to build a new office and apartment complex in D.C.
The goal is a mixed-use project with more than 30,000 square feet of office space that will allow TFA’s D.C. staff, currently split between two K Street offices, to consolidate under one roof. It will also contain about 100 residential units, which TFA hopes to fill with its teachers but could theoretically be offered to other D.C. residents.
The complex will be modeled on similar TFA projects in Baltimore and Philadelphia, says Ahnna K. Smith, TFA executive director for the D.C. region. In both of those projects, TFA employees filled all of the apartments.
“This year we had 170 new corps members in DCPS, charter schools, and Prince George’s County,” says . “So the vision would be based on the demand and based on the set group of people we know might be interested in being housed.”
The “education hub” will also include common areas and shared equipment like copiers. Smith hopes that TFA will own the space rather than rent it, but that’s still up in the air.
The D.C.-based Fundrise, founded earlier this year, collects small investments for development projects from members of the community and gives them a financial stake in the projects—-like Kickstarter with returns. The nature of TFA’s relationship with Fundrise is not yet clear.
“Eventually, our goal is to try and fit some part of Fundrise within the investment plan,” says Fundrise spokeswoman Molly Fitzgerald. The idea, say Fitzgerald and Smith, is for Fundrise to help attract investment for the project.
Fundrise has so far been mainly busy on H Street NE. On Dec. 5, the company registered LLCs for two new properties it bought, at 1214 and 1309 H Street NE, adding to its ample holdings on the strip. Fitzgerald says these properties are unrelated to the TFA partnership.