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D.C. Unveils A Dozen New RFPs For Housing At 'March Madness' Event

In her continued push to entice developers to build new housing, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joined agency heads to announce a dozen District-owned properties her administration plans to put out for bidding, including two firehouses in major Northwest commercial corridors and a recreation center in Ward 3.

In Bowser’s annual March Madness event Friday, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development said it would release requests for proposals for three major city-owned sites in Wards 1, 2 and 3: Engine 3 and the D.C. Fire and EMS Museum a few blocks from the Capitol, the fire and police stations on U Street, and the Chevy Chase Community Center and Neighborhood Library. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during her eighth annual March Madness event on March 25, 2022.

Roughly half of the proposals include an explicit affordability component, according to details the District released Friday. The mayor is racing to build 12,000 affordable units in the city, part of a broader goal to build 36,000 total units between 2019 and 2025.

"I’m proud of the work that we’ve been able to announce here at March Madness," Bowser said. "If we let you know what the government is buying, you’ll go out there and deliver it for us."

Among the requests are three major city-owned sites in Wards 1, 2 and 3 that the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is looking to redevelop.

The site of Engine 3 and the DC Fire and EMS Museum at 427-439 New Jersey Ave. NW has almost 14K SF across two lots. The city's RFP requires the historic fire station to be preserved and space for the museum in the new development, which could include commercial and/or residential uses. That RFP is scheduled to be released this summer.

The second request, scheduled to be released this fall, is for the redevelopment of another fire station and adjoining police station, this time in Ward 1. The 82K SF site at 1617 U St. NW and 1620 V St. NW was envisioned for high-density residential and commercial space in the District's 2021 Comprehensive Plan.

The site must retain space for both the fire station and police station, according to details released by DMPED. The property, on the edge of Adams Morgan, isn’t part of any historic district and is eligible for a Planned Unit Development, a process that allows for greater density in exchange for community benefits. The site is next to a six-story condo building, The Balfour.

Chevy Chase Branch Library

At the Chevy Chase Community Center and Neighborhood Library, a site Bowser has earmarked for redevelopment since she announced a renewed push for affordable housing in the Rock Creek West area last year, DMPED is looking for residential units with a strong affordability component at the site, as well as senior housing. The new plan must include space for both the library and community center.

The Office of Planning is still in the process of completing a Small Area Plan that encompasses the 73K SF site, the mayor’s office said, a step that would help determine additional guidelines for the RFP. DMPED plans to release the Chevy Chase RFP in spring 2023 — although Bowser faces an election challenge later this year.

The D.C. Housing Authority is also looking to move forward on a pair of major redevelopment opportunities tied to affordable housing.

The agency is seeking co-development partners for three sites located in the Sursum Corda area, each with its own separate RFP. Two of the sites, the 28-unit Sursum Corda Turnkey and the 22-unit Sibley Townhomes, have already been approved for demolition. The third site is currently a parking lot.

The sites are situated near the Northwest One public housing project, where a redevelopment has moved forward after D.C. selected an MRP Realty-led team in 2017. The area is part of the mayor's New Communities Initiative, which seeks to redevelop public housing projects into mixed-use neighborhoods.

D.C. Housing Authority Executive Director Brenda Donald speaks during the mayor's annual March Madness event on March 25, 2022.

The mayor proposed $219M in funding for public housing in her budget, submitted to the D.C. Council last week. That funding would be split among Northwest One, Barry Farm, Park Morton and Bruce Monroe.

DCHA is also moving forward with a site currently used for temporary parking near the now-demolished Capper-Carrollsburg public housing development in Navy Yard.

The lot could receive up to 352 residential units, 73 of which are required to be affordable. Ground-floor retail is also allowed under the lot's zoning.

The lot is one of four parcels left in the redevelopment, and DCHA hopes to develop a master plan for all four. The District demolished the 707-unit complex after receiving a federal HOPE VI grant in 2001, and it promised to bring an equal number of public housing units to the neighborhood as it redeveloped.

The neighborhood now has 473 units for low-income families, according to DCHA.

Finally, DCHA is also seeking a construction manager at Judiciary House in Chinatown. The contractor would lead $12M of renovation work, including sprinkler systems, architectural features and interior finishes.

The Department of Housing and Community Development announced a half-dozen projects of its own Friday; they are situated in Wards 6, 7 and 8. 

The largest site is a 68K SF vacant lot in Ward 7's Fort Dupont neighborhood. The lot, which sits at the corner of Benning Road SE and G St. SE, is currently zoned as low-to-moderate density residential. Proposals could include detached dwellings, rowhouses or low-rise apartments under that zoning designation.

Beginning in June, DHCD said it would seek proposals for a 32K SF vacant lot that lies a few blocks east of Marvin Gaye Park at 58th St. and Dix St. SE. The Ward 7 lot is currently zoned for moderate density, mixed-use development.

Another vacant lot in Ward 8 is also primed for development. The 14K SF site, located across from the Giant Food grocery store in Congress Heights, is zoned for low-to-moderate density development. 

The department is also opening up three equitable development opportunities Friday at smaller sites: two rowhomes in Ward 6 and one duplex in Ward 7.