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5 Joint Venture Projects Between D.C. Universities And Developers

With many D.C.-area universities sitting in fast-growing neighborhoods, these institutions are increasingly looking to take advantage of their rising property values by redeveloping old buildings. Here are five joint ventures between D.C. schools and real estate developers that have launched in recent years. 

1. Howard University and Jair Lynch

A rendering of Jair Lynch's ÂME, a redevelopment of Howard's Meridian Hill Hall
  • University: Howard University
  • Developer: Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners
  • Address: 2601 16th St. NW
  • Project: 206-unit apartment building

Jair Lynch Real Estate partners in 2015 entered into a 99-year ground lease with Howard University for the former Meridian Hill Hall dormitory at 2601 16th St. NW. The building was constructed in 1942 and first used as a hotel to house young women who moved to D.C. to fill government jobs during World War II. Howard operated it as an off-campus dormitory from 1969 to 2014. 

The developer, in a JV with MacFarlane Partners, is redeveloping the eight-story, 182K SF building into a 206-unit apartment community, branded as ÂME. The team broke ground in April on the project and expects to complete it in fall 2018.

George Washington University and Boston Properties

A rendering of Boston Properties' development at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, where WilmerHale signed on for 288K SF

George Washington University in December selected Boston Properties to redevelop two adjacent Foggy Bottom Properties, an eight-story building at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and GWU's Rice Hall at 2121 Eye St. NW. 

The developer plans to combine both parcels and build an 11-story, 454K SF office building with ground-floor retail. WilmerHale, one of the largest law firms in D.C., is in talks to anchor the project and occupy about 300K SF. GWU plans to vacate Rice Hall by December 2018, move the tenants out of 2100 Penn by mid-2019, and the project is expected to deliver in 2023. 

Gallaudet University and JBG Smith

Concept design of development on Sixth Street

Gallaudet University has benefited from its proximity to the popular Union Market, and it is looking to take advantage of the rising value of its real estate. The university is partnering with JBG Smith to develop four separate parcels on Sixth Street NE, directly to the south and east of the market. 

The project calls for a total of 1.2M SF of development with roughly 1,700 residential units, plus a mix of retail, potential office, university space and public open areas. The project received first-stage planned unit development approval in May, but an active opposition group is appealing the development. The development team can still work on the design for the more detailed second-stage PUD as the case winds through the appeals process.

The development team has also lobbied for an $82M tax increment financing package from the District to build infrastructure and parking for the Union Market neighborhood. The D.C. Council voted to approve the TIF on Nov. 7, but the bill still requires a second vote. 

Howard University and Urban Investment Partners

A rendering of the planned redevelopment of Howard's George Washington Carver Hall
  • University: Howard University
  • Developer: Urban Investment Partners, Neighborhood Development Group
  • Address: 211 Elm St. NW, 1919 Third St. NW
  • Project: 162-unit apartment building

In September, Howard University signed a 99-year ground lease with the development team of UIP and NDC to develop two of its former residence halls. The team will turn Carver Hall at 211 Elm St. NW and Slowe Hall at 1919 Third St. NW into a 162-unit apartment community. It expects to begin construction in early 2018. 

The dorms, built in 1942, were two of seven properties Howard offered up to developers in March. The university has been actively seeking to monetize its real estate assets amid the boom of the surrounding Shaw neighborhood. The university is also partnering with Corvias for the renovation of two of its on-campus residential towers. 

University of Maryland and COPT

A map of the Discovery District in College Park highlighting its major developments

The University of Maryland earlier this year unveiled the "Discovery District," a partnership between the university, the city and Corporate Office Properties Trust to develop 150 acres between Route 1 and the College Park Metro Station.

COPT plans to invest about a quarter of that $2B total. It is building a 75K SF office building at 5801 University Research Court and over the next 10 to 15 years it plans another 1.5M SF of development on the 60-acre River Road site, which will have a future Purple Line stop. 

College Park and the university submitted the Discovery District in the competition for Amazon's $5B second headquarters.