Howard University is looking to contribute more affordable housing to the Washington, D.C. area with its latest mixed-use project. The university is planning to repurpose a 1.9-acre site that’s being used as parking lots into a mixed-use property with residential and retail use. The university is working with Lowe, FLGA and Davenport Group, who have worked out a 99-year ground lease for the space. The Lowe-led development team is also working with USAA Real Estate on the project, which has secured bridge financing from Eagle Bank.
The project is expected to start in fall 2023, with an anticipated completion in late 2025. When completed, the 10-story building will total 525,000 square feet. The residential portion will include up to 500 residential units, which will range from studios to two-bedroom units with den-style layouts that better accommodate tenants with hybrid work models.
Howard University is planning to have approximately 40 units designated as affordable housing but could increase the number of affordable units to 60. The community’s amenities will include a clubroom, a fitness center, a rooftop patio, a pool and gathering spots.
Project plans also call for 27,000 square feet of retail space and 246 below-grade parking spaces. On top of the amenities, the developers will be making a 25-foot-wide public plaza that will have gathering spaces, amenities for university members and a connection between Howard University and the North Shaw neighborhood.
A master plan to transform the campus
Howard University’s latest mixed-use project will fall within its campus master plan, which details the long-term transformation of the university’s central campus. The plan also calls for more academic facilities, campus facilities and a new hospital. The project also supports the surrounding district’s goal of building 36,000 new homes by 2025 to combat rising housing costs in the area.
The development also aligns with Howard University’s strategic initiative to maximize the value of its real estate portfolio. The university previously renovated Howard Center, a former hotel/restaurant venue that was converted into a 176-unit community.
“We have among the most active development enterprises going on nationwide, at least as an institution of higher learning,” Anthony Freeman, real estate executive at Howard University, told Multi-Housing News. “Additionally, there are a number of major Capital Plan projects underway on campus as well as others that are being advanced off of the main campus.”