The District has been seeking developers to revitalize Deanwood's Strand Theatre, and has now extended the response deadline to January 21. Seeking developers with a proven mixed-use track record, "creative vision" and "the organizational and financial capacity," DC planners hope redevelopment of the property at 5131 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, NE, will revitalize not only the building but the flagging neighborhood as well. The search for bidders began on December 12, 2007, when the District and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED) held a pre-bidders' conference for more than 40 attendees. The response deadline to the Request For Proposals was extended on Monday.
Deanwood's state of affairs is briefly outlined in the RFP: "Over the past 40 years however, much of Deanwood has suffered from disinvestment, which has caused the residences and commercial corridor along Nannie Helen Burroughs to struggle." Thus ODMPED views the project as highly significant, having the potential to garner development interest in the Northeast commercial corridor, hence the level of expertise required for bidders to be considered. This project, along with three other short-term and long-term developments serve as ODMPED's attempt to resuscitate Deanwood back and cataylze new growth: The Great Streets Initiative Plan for Nannie Helen Burroughs, the Lincoln Heights New Communities Plan and the Deanwood Strategic Development Plan.
Currently, the theatre provides 8,200 s.f. of area on a 6,000 s.f. lot. And while historic designation is pending, the DC Preservation League labeled the building as one of the "Most Endangered Places" last year. District agencies have decided that regardless of the site's current historic status, redevelopment will take place as if it is a historic structure, and are considering all methods of disposition including leasing the space, although a minimum lease of 75 years is required. The RFP explicitly encourages potential developers to maximize development on the site, stating that "The District will look very favorably at [bidders] who demonstrate the ability to bring additional development resources and/or additional parcels of land to the table."
Specific goals to be achieved with the site's redevelopment were fleshed out in a number of District-sponsored public meetings over the course of 2007. Community members indicated a number of appropriate uses, including: a cultural hub for art exhibits, retail and restaurants, commercial space for local businesses and a half dozen others. Not only will bidders have to collaborate with community stakeholders to implement their collective vision, but the District is also suggesting that each offer incorporate the voluminous goals of the Lincoln Heights, Great Streets and Deanwood Strategic Plans into their proposals. God speed to the lucky winner.