According to Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning, "We don't have a firm idea of what we're looking for, in terms of whether the development should be pure office building with street-level retail, or just have a retail focus, or housing focus. We really are looking to the development community to see what is really possible there." The site is adjacent to the future location of the Department of Employment Services' newly announced headquarters, a 230,000-s.f. building at the northwest corner of Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road NE, which will include ground-floor retail and and underground garage.
Potential bidders for the site are required to include a 20 percent equity partnership with
Local, Small and Disadvantage Business Enterprises. The chosen development partner must also show an effort to include Ward Seven contractors and businesses in their plans. The area is already under revitalization - it sits amidst about four million s.f. of new projects at Parkside and Ward Seven, and the city is pumping about $40 million into the neighborhood through the Great Streets Initiative. A new Benning Road Library may also be popping up soon in the neighborhood.
"It couldn't be better located," Madigan said. "The city sees this as a great site because it is located right there at the Metro, and is a really prominent corner at Minnesota and Benning. It really is the gateway into that part of Ward 7." Proposals are due by May 6th; the city hopes to narrow down their choices by the end of the summer.