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D.C. Selects Menkiti-Led Group To Develop St. Elizabeths Parcels

An aerial view of the St. Elizabeths East campus

The D.C. government has selected the development team to move forward with redevelopment of its last available sites on the St. Elizabeths campus.

The team, composed of several firms including The Menkiti Group, is slated to redevelop Parcels 7, 8 and 9 of the St. Elizabeths East campus. Their plans include a Class-A office building for the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, a 277-unit affordable residential development, 18 for-sale townhomes and a variety of community spaces.

"This is an opportunity to reuse some of the historic buildings on the St. Elizabeths campus and revitalize them with a mix of uses," Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio told Bisnow. "This work that we’ll do with [Parcels] 7, 8 and 9 will revitalize two of three historic buildings there and then stretch the new development that happens all the way to MLK Avenue."

The Office of the Deputy Mayor will now go into an exclusive negotiation period with the development team that typically lasts 60 to 90 days, after which it will present its full proposal to the D.C. Council, Falcicchio said.

He said the proposal had already earned support from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and other community members, especially because it plans for 90K SF of community space.

The largest parcel in the deal, Parcel 7, currently includes the R.I.S.E. Innovation Center, an innovation hub that opened in 2014 before the Entertainment & Sports Arena and other residential buildings began the process of revitalizing the historic campus.

Under the terms of the deal, the developers will be able to redevelop the site, once the current community uses at R.I.S.E., which include classrooms and conference spaces, are transferred to another community space on campus.

The R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center located on the St. Elizabeths campus

While a final site plan hasn't been determined, Falcicchio expects the publicly oriented spaces will complement the residential component. That includes a 277-unit apartment community that's slated to be affordable for those making between 30% and 80% of the area median income. The townhome community will likely be affordable and workforce housing, he added.

Falcicchio also expects the campus' new residents to support food offerings either on the campus or on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, a key focus for redevelopment in the District's Congress Heights Small Area Plan.

"Where you have residential density, the residents who live there and those that come for the daytime uses can both support the food uses," Falcicchio said. "The good thing about advancing this is you bring more daytime use to the campus with the Department of Behavioral Health. That will add to the hospital, that will add to Whitman Walker."

Other facets of the latest development include 30K SF of retail and 245 parking spaces. The development team listed Safe Shores, the University of the District of Columbia, Shop Made in D.C., Jubilee Jumpstart, DC Credit Union and Grub Rockstar as potential tenants in its proposal.

The redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths East campus has taken several steps forward this year. In April, Mayor Muriel Bowser cut the ribbon on District Towns at St. Elizabeths East, an 88-unit for-sale townhome community from Knutson Cos.

There are already several healthcare uses under development. DMPED expects Whitman Walker to open its new healthcare facility on the campus next summer, and the 365K SF Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center is expected to open by the end of 2024.

The District's east portion of the decommissioned mental hospital is separate from the federal government's west portion, where a new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security is being developed as part of a 1.2M SF office project.

CORRECTION, 9:45 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story included a firm no longer associated with the development team. This story has been updated.