By Misha Cornelius
Howard University announced the development of a mixed-use building adjacent to its main campus in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, the latest real estate initiative in the University’s Campus Master Plan. In partnership with Lowe, local minority developer FLGA, and D.C.-based firm Davenport Group, Howard will transform the 1.85-acre site, currently used as parking lots for the University, into a 10-story building with up to 500 residential units, 27,000 square feet of retail, and 246 below-grade parking spaces, as well as amenities for Howard University community members.
“We are thrilled to partner with another best-in-class team that will build on the momentum of our Campus Master Plan,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “This project will deliver much-needed housing and retail space that will serve Howard students, faculty, staff, and visitors, as well as our neighbors in the community. Through this initiative, we are proud to support the district’s goal of building 36,000 new homes by 2025 to combat rising housing costs.”
“Our team is working closely with Howard University to develop and execute plans and programs for the parcel that are consistent with the University’s mission to be a supportive resource for and contributor to the surrounding community, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusivity,” said Mark Rivers, executive vice president, Lowe. “This includes a robust set of mission-oriented objectives to provide exposure and opportunities for Howard students to careers in real estate, architecture, engineering and hospitality management as well as opportunities for minority-owned firms to participate in the development of the project.”
This project – along with the other projects Howard is delivering with its development partners in the vicinity – fulfills and expands on the vision for the Howard Town Center Area Sub-District outlined in the District of Columbia’s DUKE Framework, a plan to restore this historic community as a cultural destination. Howard is currently referring to this area as the Duke District, a nod to the framework and this neighborhood’s past as the heart of an important economic, cultural, social and institutional center of a proud and accomplished African American community, many of which were affiliated with Howard University and Howard University Hospital. This project will build on Howard’s reintegration of the historic street grid by featuring a public plaza along the future extension of W Street.
“This project is another example of Howard’s strategy to utilize long-term ground lease structures that preserve the institution’s real estate portfolio while allowing it to reinvest in its academic facilities,” said Anthony Freeman, real estate executive and head of Real Estate Development and Capital Asset Management (REDCAM) at Howard. “In accordance with the Howard Forward strategic plan, the institution is planning to deliver over 3 million square feet of development in the Duke District. This project will help to realize the Duke District by creating a vibrant, connected neighborhood and building on the momentum of our projects at The Reverb with MRP; at the Bond Bread/WRECO Garage site with Menkiti Group, Fivesquares, and EDENS; and at Lot 3 with Quadrangle, Capstone, and EDENS.”
The transaction is part of a strategic initiative by Howard University to maximize the value of the University’s real estate portfolio. Howard has assembled a dedicated team of industry leaders in real estate, finance and law to further this initiative, that includes Hayat Brown and Lerch Early & Brewer.
The Lowe-led team is undertaking the development in collaboration with USAA Real Estate, with which Lowe also developed the recently completed Park + Ford apartment and office property and the National Science Foundation, both in Alexandria, Virginia. JLL represented the development team in securing bridge financing for the land transaction from Eagle Bank. Construction is anticipated to commence in Fall 2023.