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Georgetown Seeks To Build Hundreds Of New Apartments On Campus

Georgetown University is seeking permission from the D.C. Zoning Commission to redevelop some of its on-campus housing, adding 267 new beds and increasing the height of several properties in the northeast quadrant of its Northwest D.C. campus.

A site plan for the proposed Henle Village redevelopment on Georgetown University's campus

The proposal, which is scheduled to be reviewed by the D.C. Zoning Commission on Thursday, would amend the university's campus plan to allow for a full-scale redevelopment of the 468-bed Henle Village. The garden-style community of four three- to four-story buildings was originally built in the 1970s. 

The proposal is part of the university's broader plan to expand on-campus housing options for upperclassmen to be competitive with off-campus options — boosting revenue as a result.

The university said in an April press release it planned to begin construction in May 2023 and welcome students to the redeveloped properties in 2025.

“These new projects reinforce Georgetown’s commitment to sustainability and accessibility, to interdisciplinary collaboration, and to a vibrant living and learning experience on campus,” Jeanne Lord, interim vice president of student affairs and dean of students, said in the release. “We’re looking forward to working closely with students to envision spaces that best fit their needs.”

In 2017, the university committed to adding on-campus beds and improving housing options for junior and senior students as part of its overall campus plan. Since then, Georgetown has determined that redeveloping the Henle buildings into two towers totaling nearly 244K SF of gross floor area was the best way to achieve those goals.

"The full redevelopment of Henle presented a unique opportunity to not only enhance the residential experience for juniors and seniors, but also add a meaningful number of additional on-campus beds," the university's cover letter asserted. 

The new construction would reach eight stories and contain mostly two- and four-bedroom units with a shared kitchen, per the filing. The new complex would also include 15K SF of student lounges, wellness spaces and study rooms and include an open green space in between.

The university has also proposed retaining the northernmost Henle Village building and expanding its potential uses under zoning rules, largely to ensure a 200-year-old white oak tree is preserved.

The Henle redevelopment adds to Georgetown's larger effort to expand housing options. The university also welcomed students to a new, 237K SF residence hall at 55 H St. NW near the Georgetown University Law Center in August. The land for that project was leased from Gonzaga College High School in May 2019, per a press release

There may be further off-campus construction on the horizon for the university as well. Georgetown filed a zoning request to add density to the law center in August for the parcels around 600 New Jersey Ave. That request is still pending.

Georgetown isn't the only university looking to real estate as a means to boost revenue. Howard University has been very active in the Shaw neighborhood, turning parking lots and other underutilized parcels into multifamily, a retail pavilion and office and life sciences spaces.

Wesley Theological Seminary, an upper northwest institution adjacent to American University, also proposed adding student housing to its campus through a deal with Landmark Properties announced in October.