The District is poised to get its first traditional hotel located east of the Anacostia River at the St. Elizabeths East Campus as a piece of a $218 million mixed-use project that Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed on Monday. Bowser’s administration has selected Redbrick LMD and Gragg Cardona Partners to redevelop an approximately four acre site on the campus dubbed Parcel 15. Beyond the hotel, the project would also have housing, offices, retail, and a “town square.”
The site is adjacent to the Congress Heights Metro station and the city’s Entertainment and Sports Arena, a multipurpose venue that opened last year and hosts Wizards practices. The Parcel 15 project is planned to include 567,000 square feet of total development, according to Bowser’s office, and be part of the overall redevelopment of the 180-acre St. Elizabeths East. Redbrick and Gragg Cardona have been leading the infill megaproject for the past few years.
Two hundred eighty-eight residential units, most of which are to be priced at below-market-rate levels, are proposed for Parcel 15. About a third of the affordable units would be tailored for families and seniors. Meanwhile, the hotel would have around 125 rooms. In recent years, much of the short-term lodging market east of the river has been filled by Airbnb, which has said that guest arrivals in Wards 7 and 8 surged by 65 percent from June 2017 to June 2018.
Redbrick and Gragg Cardona additionally plan 200,000 square feet of office space, as much as 50,000 square feet of retail, and 450 underground parking spaces for Parcel 15. Following the entitlement process, construction is preliminarily expected to begin in August 2019 and be completed in March 2021. The development team estimates that the project would create more than 2,500 jobs, including about 1,000 construction jobs, and says it would be financed by a mix of debt, equity, and low-income housing tax credits—without any District subsidies.
The team also says the project would generate more than $150 million in tax revenue over 30 years. In a statement, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner calls the proposal “forward-thinking,” adding that it builds on the administration’s “pledge to increase employment and retail amenities for the Ward 8 community.” A recent presentation for the project shows Wizards-owning Monumental Sports & Entertainment, architect David Adjaye’s Adjaye Associates, chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, and others as main partners.
Concept renderings of the project show a large entertainment screen in the community plaza component, and the development team’s presentation notes it will “complement” the 4,200-seat Entertainment and Sports Arena. The announcement comes as D.C. maps out the rest of the St. Elizabeths East redevelopment, which is to include a planned men’s homeless shelter.