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July 14, 2008

Reminder: Bisnow panel this Thurs. on state of development, with Kettler's Bob Kettler, Tower Companies' Jeffrey Abramson, Duball's Marc Dubick, JM Zell's Jeff Zell, and Jones Lang's Chris Molivadas. Noon, July 17, Tower Club. Special thanks to great sponsors HITT, Pillsbury, and KGD ArchitectsSign up here!


We refer so much to DC Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, you'd get the idea he's just a single super-human who churns out economic development projects. Actually, he's got a high-energy 70-person staff, and we were allowed late last week to crash its weekly meeting at 2025 M St. to show you some of the unsung stars of "DMPED" (office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development). Otherwise, they're so busy they're always scattered; they've got more than a dozen active solicitations.


Neil and his spokesman Sean Madigan in a rare, historic moment when they were actually sitting down. Not wanting grass to grow under their feet, they told us about several current projects:

  • They're ready to choose a developer for Mount Vernon Triangle's 5th and Eye Street, where they're planning a hip hotel and neighborhood-serving retail. Current zoning allows for a building between 90 and 130 ft. tall which would sit just a quick walk from Lowe's 4M SF CityVista.
  • They're making developer selections for 4.8 acres at Minnesota Ave and Benning Rd. in Ward 7 any day. The 200k+ SF site will likely include mixed-income housing, community-serving retail, cultural amenities, civic space, and office.
  • They just had a pre-bid conference for Parcel 69 (4th and School Street in SW) last week, which includes over 200k SF of developable space for office and residential.

And just Friday DMPED announced LCOR as its development partner for the 3.6 acre Tenley Library/Janney Elementary School development site. LCOR plans to build as many as 130 apartments above the future LEED-certified library while also modernizing the school and adding retail space. Not surprisingly, DMPED meetings, like the one we saw, include two dozen project managers, contracting, outreach and bond finance staff, housing experts, and representatives from other city agencies including the Office of Planning, Department of Transportation, Office of Property Management, Department of Small and Local Business Development, Department of Environment, and Department of Housing and Community Development.


We also found Director of the DC Revenue Bond Program Will Liggins and New Communities Program's Senthil Sankaran. The bond program offers below-market interest rate loans to help finance industrial and commercial projects; Will tells us they just closed $250M in bonds for a Children's Hospital expansion and surgical services space addition. They also issued $40M in bonds for the KIPP DC Public Charter School in Ward 7 and gave the Washington Drama Society $120M in tax-exempt bonds for the new and improved Arena Stage. They're in the process of working with Brookings on a request for $40M in bonds for purchase and renovations of property at 1775, 1755, and 1780 Mass Ave plus another $25M to help the William E. Doar Public Charter School with a facility at 705 Edgewood Dr. in NE.


Joe Wolfe, Jose Sousa, Ayris Scales, Genevieve Hanson, and Ketan Gada. Genevieve, DMPED development manager, told us about two big projects they're looking to begin:

  • St. Elizabeth's: DMPED will be putting out an RFP early next year for the 173-acre site at MLK and Alabama Ave that would call for mixed use, mixed-income office, retail, and residential development.
  • Hill East: DMPED inherited this project (to be the largest in the city) from Anacostia Waterfront Corp. last year. Since issuing a request for expressions of interest in May, they've heard from more than 150 developers, architects, planners, and engineering firms (deadline: 10/31). The 67-acre project along the western shore of the Anacostia will be a mixed-use urban center connecting the Hill East neighborhood to the waterfront and include 3M SF of residential (up to 3k units of mixed-income), 2M SF office, 35k SF retail, 16 acres of new parkland, and access to the Anacostia through construction of a new Mass Ave SE extension and 10 other new streets.

DMPED's putting $42 million into the park at The Yards, the proceeds of a pilot they set up to fund infrastructure and park construction along the Anacostia River.


Neil speaking last year when the mayor signed a bill folding AWC and NCRC into DMPED. But not to worry, Neil and Sean do have lives; Neil's taking in some of the Kastles' tennis matches and also heading to both Florida and Vermont with his wife and 5-year-old daughter. Sean just got a new beagle-mix (named Huckleberry in honor of the pup's mischievous nature) and is jetting out to his wife's family house in Minnesota for waterskiing and golf.


This is just our guess what superman Neil Albert looks like when he's waterskiing.



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