By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Plans are underway to give the Howard Center a much needed makeover, adding available housing to students, university officials announced.
Currently the space, located at 2225 Georgia Avenue N.W. is vacant save existing tenants like Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. The proposed plan would transform floors three through nine into 176 below market rate, micro, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, prioritizing the units for students, faculty, staff and associates, according to a statement from the university.
“I am committed to improving our student experience at every level,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “While we have renovated much of our housing stock over the past couple of years, the Howard Center project provides an improved foundation for our core graduate and professional programs which are key components of my growth strategy.”
“Also, included in the program are community spaces where residents can engage with faculty and alumni, which further deepens the linkage between generational University stakeholders. This project is a unique opportunity for Howard University to drive the re-imagination of the Georgia Avenue Corridor,” the statement said.
“It is a small, but significant initial step in furthering the DUKE Plan which envisions the immediate environment as part of the ‘Howard Town Center Area.’ This and our previously announced Bond Bread Factory and WRECO Garage redevelopment initiative will further enhance the local community experience while encouraging economic growth, job creation and development.”
The university is leasing the space to Provident Group – Howard Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) for a period of 41 years.
The Howard Center is a 90,157 square foot building with nine floors. It is a major step in creating housing opportunities for the growing graduate school and professional Howard University students.
The plan has received support among business leaders and developers in the District. The plan’s team consists of many leaders including: Bank Of America/ Merill Lynch, Preston Hollow Capital, Provident Resources Group, Alvarez & Marsal, Corvias Campus Living and the District of Columbia.
“We were excited to learn of Dr. Frederick’s vision for the University,” said Ramiro Albarran, head of Originations at Preston Hollow Capital, said in a statement. “Preston Hollow Capital brings creative solutions with its investments nationally. We were proud to include Howard University in the $1 + billion of investments that we made in 2018. Howard University is an iconic national institution and we are thrilled to bring our expertise in structuring and capital allocation to support this project, the associated innovative program as well as the mission overall.”
The plan will also add amenities like a fitness center, laundry facilities, social lounges and gaming rooms to the space. The retail spaces will remain in place.
Developers hope to complete the renovations by Summer 2019.
The plan is part of a long term strategy for growth for the University which has recovered from a brief bad credit rating just after the financial crisis. Over the past two years the University has seen a boost in financial performance with a gain from operations of almost $12 million, according to the university website, while expenses decreased by 8% compared to 2015.
Howard University is ranked a Tier I national university by US News and and World Report (USNWR). Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.
For more information on Howard University and the renovations visit www.howard.edu.