D.C. seeks bids for parcel between U St. and Howard campus

The District is seeking bids for a 1.45-acre parcel at Florida and Sherman avenues NW that it hopes will bridge the gap between the bustling U Street corridor and the Howard University campus.

The JBG Cos. and JBG Rosenfeld Retail, which owns the property immediately to the south of the District parcel, has lined up Harris Teeter for a new supermarket on that parcel as part of a larger mixed-use project, the Washington Post reported in September. But it must win the rights to the District’s site first, and that’s not guaranteed (though JBG is certainly the odds on favorite) given the competitive solicitation.

The request for proposals was issued Friday, and a pre-response conference is planned for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 28 at 815 Florida Ave. NW. Responses are due by Feb. 12, and D.C. expects to select a development team by May.

The property, at 965 Florida Ave., is located near the southwestern edge of the Howard campus — Howard Plaza Towers sits to the north, a Howard University-owned lot to the east, JBG’s lot to the south and Sherman and Florida avenues to the west. It has one small abandoned building and currently serves as an unused parking lot.

The city acquired the property from Howard in exchange for the Bond Bread Building at 2114-2146 Georgia Ave. D.C. wants the 63,418-square-foot parcel developed as a high-density, mixed-use development of residential, retail and office — a project that will “maximize economic value to the District.”

Any project proposed for the site must provide for the construction of a one-block stretch of Bryant Street to create a new east-west link between Georgia and Sherman avenues. The roadway will be a significant improvement for the area, according to the RFP, but it may “limit the eventual size of the parcel and the development potential of the Site.”

JBG has amassed a handful of properties in the area of Eighth and V streets NW, including the Atlantic Plumbing building immediately south of the District’s property.

Those parcels only add to the developer’s mushrooming presence on and around U Street. Its Louis at 14th, a nine-story, 267-unit apartment building at 14th and U, will feature a Trader Joe’s. At 1407 S St. is The District Condominiums, a 125-unit residential building with 18,000 square feet of retail.


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