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D.C. Council panel approves $11M tax break for Howard Town Center

Thursday - 11/29/2012, 2:08pm  ET

The D.C. Council's finance and revenue committee unanimously approved an $11 million tax abatement for the Howard Town Center during a brief mark-up session Thursday afternoon.

The vote, free of any discussion beforehand, came despite an analysis from Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi that the abatement was unnecessary — that the town center developers should rework their numbers to construct the $145 million mixed-use project without any assistance from the District government.

Howard Town Center Developer LLC is a joint venture of The Cohen Cos., The Robert Bobb Group, Marshall Purnell and Timothy Kissler of CastleRock Partners. The project, to be constructed on property owned by Howard University and ground leased to the JV, will feature roughly 445 rental apartments, 74,000 square feet of retail (including a grocery store) and 320 underground parking spaces.

In typical style, Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, the committee's chairman, had the bill on the table and approved in less than a minute.

The bill, introduced by Councilman Jim Graham, D-Ward 1, now moves to the full council.