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D.C. Developer Gets 'Mind-Blowing' Chance To Develop The Next Phase Of St. E's Campus

D.C. is moving forward with another mixed-use project on the St. Elizabeths East campus in Congress Heights, selecting a Black-owned, local developer to take the baton in the next phase of the enormous redevelopment project.

A rendering of the St. Elizabeths East development

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development announced Friday it selected a Neighborhood Development Co.-led team to build a 421-unit apartment project with commercial space on the Southeast D.C. campus. 

Neighborhood Development Co. CEO Adrian Washington told Bisnow Friday his firm aims to break ground by the end of 2022, and he expects it will be an 18-month construction process. 

"I grew up in Ward 8 less than a mile from there," Washington said. "When I was a kid, I would go by that site, and to think many years later I would be able to develop that site is mind-blowing."

The team also includes Bonstra Haresign Architects, GCS Sigal and MG Capital. The selection comes after D.C. announced a request for proposals in January for Parcels 8, 9 and 13 on the campus. 

The NDC-led team was selected for Parcel 13, a 2.9-acre development site. D.C. has yet to announce developers for the other two parcels, which are historic buildings that could be adaptively reused. 

The development team plans to build 421 apartments, with 126 of them set aside as affordable at the 30% and 50% area median income ranges. 

The project also includes 21K SF of commercial space, and the developer is already in talks with two tenants to fill half of that space. Washington told Bisnow that NDC has signed letters of intent with Shaw restaurant Halfsmoke, which announced a major expansion plan in August, and workforce development nonprofit A Wider Circle. 

The selection is the latest in a series of steps forward for the 180-acre St. Elizabeths East campus. 

The Entertainment and Sports Arena, a 4,200-seat facility where the WNBA's Mystics play their home games and where the NBA's Wizards practice, opened in 2018. Last year, the St. Elizabeths East campus welcomed its first residents in a 252-unit affordable housing project. 

In February 2019, D.C. selected Redbrick LMD to develop a 567K SF mixed-use town center on the campus. In November 2019, Whitman-Walker announced it would build a 116K SF health center at St. Elizabeths East. And in April, D.C. reached a deal with George Washington University to build a 136-bed hospital on the campus. 

"The whole St. Elizabeths redevelopment is a spectacular property, and what the planners have done with mixing the old and the new is great design, and we want to be a part of that," Washington said. "It's a growing part of the city, and it's an area that's experiencing gentrification, so I'm glad I was able to bring affordable and market-rate housing."

Also Friday, DMPED released a new request for proposals for a development team to build the next phase of the Hill East project near RFK Stadium. The development's first building delivered earlier this month with 262 apartments, and the team broke ground on the second, 100-unit building. 

The next phase of the Hill East project consists of 497K SF of land area. The District is looking for proposals that will create housing, retail and job opportunities, and it is using its new RFP criteria aimed at making development awards more equitable.