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(from theshopsatgeorgetownpark.com)

The Times writes today about colleges finding creative ways to increase the size of their student body without building more housing—turns out a real estate crash is a good reason to lease private buildings for kids to live in, rather than expand the university’s real estate portfolio. Georgetown University, of course, is in a tougher spot—it plans to bring in more graduate students, but there aren’t a whole lot of obvious places to put them in the pricey Georgetown market. And there are lots of very noisy people who don’t want to see more transients invading their peaceful ‘hood.

Except…there is some empty real estate in Georgetown. It’s the Shops at Georgetown Park, where it seems like every other storefront is dark. Couldn’t those big, unwanted spaces be converted into dense student housing, which would then better support the rest of the building’s retail? That’s a lot of renovation, but the building needs a retrofit anyway, and with the University pitching in to help, the whole enterprise looks a little more feasible.

Besides, Georgetown’s problem is too few places to live, not too few places to buy things. And grad students may be the only ones willing to live in such close proximity to noisy M Street nightlife.

Just a thought.