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HomeContractingHoward University to partner with developers to build 525,000 sq. ft. mixed...

Howard University to partner with developers to build 525,000 sq. ft. mixed use building

Lowe, in partnership with FLGA and Davenport Group, says it has secured a 99-year ground lease from Howard University for an approximately 1.85-acre property in Washington D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood, where it plans to construct an approximately 525,000-sq. ft., 10-story building.

The structure include up to 500 residential units, approximately 27,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 246 below-grade parking spaces. The partnership is undertaking the development in collaboration with USAA Real Estate, with which Lowe also developed the recently completed Park + Ford, a 435-unit office-to-residential conversion, and the National Science Foundation headquarters building, both in Alexandria, VA.

Construction is anticipated to commence in Fall 2023.

The partnership will develop the properties, currently used as parking lots for Howard University, at 2251 Sherman Ave, NW and 2047 9th St. NW. The transaction is the latest in a series of property transactions undertaken by Howard University that will contribute significant new housing along with a mix of retail, office, hotel and entertainment venues to the upper Shaw neighborhood.

“We are thrilled to partner with another best-in-class team that will build on the momentum of our Campus Master Plan,” Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a Sept. 20 statement. “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.”

The transaction continues 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. The Lowe team’s development is part of the larger Howard University approach to repositioning portions of its real estate in accordance with the District of Columbia’s DUKE Framework, a plan to restore this historic community as a cultural destination. Howard currently refers 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 Hospital.

“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 Lowe executive vice-president Mark Rivers

“This includes a robust set of mission-oriented objectives to provide Howard students with exposure and opportunities for 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.”

The project is envisioned as a modern apartment community with units ranging from studios to larger two-bedroom with den floor plans that have grown in popularity due to the hybrid work model adopted by many employers since the onset of the pandemic. Approximately 40 units will be designated as affordable housing, with the potential to increase that number to 60 units. Among the community’s planned amenities is a club room, fitness center and rooftop patio and pool and inviting gathering spots to enjoy the area views of downtown Washington D.C.

A key project component is the creation of a 25-ft.-wide public plaza fronting the future extension of W Street that will provide an activated gathering space, including amenities for Howard University community members, and a connection between Howard University and the burgeoning north Shaw neighborhood. The project will also benefit from easy access to public transit with Metrorail and bus stops close to the property.

JLL represented the partnership in securing bridge financing for the land transaction from Eagle Bank. Lowe established its Washington, D.C. area office in 1980 and has been an active developer of commercial real estate throughout the region. Among Lowe’s signature projects in the area are The Hepburn, apartments developed adjacent to the Washington Hilton Hotel where the firm completed a $150 million restoration; development of the 700,000-sq. ft. National Science Foundation headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia; CityVista, a mixed-use development in the Mount Vernon Triangle area of Washington, D.C.; and the recently completed Park + Ford, the adaptive-reuse of the former three-building Park Center office complex into a 435-unit contemporary apartment community with 115,000 sq. ft. of office in Alexandria, Virginia.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.


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