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Howard Unveils $36M Residential Tower Renovation, First On-Campus Barbershop

The entrance to the newly renovated 327-unit Howard Plaza Towers West

As Howard University students returned to campus over the last few weeks, more than 800 upperclassmen and graduate students moved into a newly modernized residential tower.

The university partnered with Corvias on the $35.5M renovation of the 327-unit Howard Plaza Towers West. The developer is also partnering on a $35.5M renovation of the East Tower, which is under construction and should be ready for students August 2018. 

Built in 1988, the 10-story towers sit at the intersection of Barry Place and Sherman Avenue NW, about half a mile north of the Shaw-Howard U Metro stop.

The renovations included a redesign of the unit layouts to allow for more bedrooms. Each unit also received new modern kitchen appliances and cabinetry, new showers, flooring, lighting and furniture. Corvias will manage the buildings for the duration of the 40-year agreement it signed with the university. 

Howard has recently undertaken a strategy of bringing on private companies to redevelop its old buildings as the surrounding Shaw neighborhood becomes one of D.C.'s buzziest and most attractive areas for developers. Instead of selling the properties, it executes long-term leases or partnerships so the university can retain its stake in the property.

In March it announced seven university buildings it is seeking to partner with developers on. In 2015, Howard entered into a 99-year ground lease with Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners and MacFarlane Partners to renovate an old dormitory overlooking Meridian Hill Park into a 206-unit apartment building, which began construction in April.

Howard University's president getting a haircut at the new barbershop from Nelson Malden, the former barber to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Along with the residential building, Howard also celebrated the grand opening Friday of its first on-campus barbershop. Corvias also partnered on the project, which cost about $25K.

The shop includes one barbering station and chair, a shampoo bowl, two televisions and a lounge area. Students living in Howard's Drew Hall and Cook Hall will be able to receive haircuts and grooming services free of charge from barber and Howard alumnus LaMont Russell. It will also host "barbershop talks," sessions featuring influential guest speakers. 

The first haircut given at the new shop was from Nelson Malden, the former barber to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. At the grand opening, he cut the hair of Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick.

“Howard University remains committed to providing exceptional services and experiences to its students,” Frederick said in a release. “This barbershop is an excellent amenity and we appreciate the work Corvias has done to meet our expectations.”