Friday, April 03, 2009

Howard Scraps Plans for LeDroit Park Development


Howard University 's Community Capital Projects division (CCP) has abandoned plans for their “New Homes at Historic LeDroit Park” project, according to University officials. Nonetheless, they don’t seem too keen on telling the neighbors.

Located at the corner of 5th Street and Oakdale Place, NW, directly behind the Howard University Hospital, CCP had been advertising on the long vacant lot by boasting a laundry list of members on their development team, including Sorg and Associates as architects, Essex Construction Inc. as “construction consultants”, Howard President H. Patrick Swygert as “development sponsor” and Riggs Bank as a co-sponsor.

Curiously, Sorg and Associates told DCmud they have never heard of any such project, Swygert resigned his post as University President almost a year ago and Riggs Bank merged with PNC in 2005. What gives?

“The lots are being marketed for sale,” said Kerry-Ann Hamilton, Howard’s Media Relations Manager. “The University is not developing the parcels in question.” Curiously enough, however, they didn’t respond to inquiries regarding the cost of the mysterious parcel, which has yet to be advertised - in any capacity - as being for sale.

Thinking perhaps the project’s fortunes were tied to the University’s once ballyhooed LeDroit Park Initiative, DCmud questioned the head of the Initiative, Maybelle Taylor Bennett of the Howard University Community Association. She declined to comment on the status of the “New Homes” parcel or the Initiative as a whole – which is the product of a partnership between the University and (hard swallow) the Fannie Mae Foundation. Suffice it to say, the Initiative’s plans for “a new mixed-use Town Center on Georgia Avenue that will include community-serving retail and apartment housing” are probably not imminent.

UPDATE: Howard has since directed DCmud to the Menkiti Group, who is currently listing the 4,420 square lot at 2025 5th Street, NW for $430,000. According to their site, it is the "last remaining parcel from the HU/LeDroit Revitalization initiative."

8 comments:

what "administration"? said...

Could Howard be the most imcompetent University in the universe? The talented students mask a truly imcompetent and negligent administration. I've never seen a University actually have a negative effect on the surrounding community (beyond drunkenness etc), but Howard has managed. That "Town Center" is never gonna happen. Howard U is the Shiloh Baptist of Park View/Ledroit Park.

IMGoph on Apr 3, 2009, 12:30:00 PM said...

i just biked by this area last weekend and marveled at the "riggs bank" part of the sign. i'm sure they can get a pretty penny for this land. people still want to live in ledroit. at some point, when/if howard u. gets their crap together, there is going to be a lot more that makes that area a worthwhile place to live. it's just too centrally located and valuable of a spot to be neglected this long.

it's sad that the good people of that block of oakdale have to stare at a parking deck across the street. sure, it's one of the nicest parking decks in the city, but it's a parking deck.

another interesting thing is that there's a grass alley behind these empty lots. how many grass alleyways are there in the city? (i know there are a lot of unpaved ones, but i'll bet this is unique.)

Anonymous said...

I agree, Howard is the worst! They own vacant, unsecured houses on our block that are constantly being used for drugs. And they thwart attempts by people on the block to get DCRA classify them as vacant for a high tax penalty to encourage them to fix it up. Just look at the boarded up, graffittied pharmacy on block of 2900 Georgia. Laughably, it was a Jim Graham re-election office and still has a "thanks for supporting me!" sign. It's an eyesore, and a danger to community, and just one of the many buildings Howard University chooses to neglect in the Pleasant Plains, Ledroit, and Shaw neighborhoods.

Rick said...

Does anyone know the status on the Howard Town Center development? I'm very interested they plan to begin work.

Anonymous said...

Contact Diane Branch VP of RE Development at Howard University.

Good luck getting a "response" back, they don't know the meaning of the word.

Rick on Apr 8, 2009, 10:09:00 AM said...

Thanks I shot her a note. We'll see what she says and I'll update you guys here.

Anonymous said...

i heard its going to get worse - there about to change their staff again and cover there tracks.

Anonymous said...

The best news is that Howard U is no longer planning to develop the lots and they are for sale. Howard U is responsible for the "development" of the rotting, rat shells of homes scattered all about Ledroit Park and Bloomingdale. The reason everyone keeps hoping for change in the hood is a change AWAY from the Howard U plan of buying property and letting it fester and rot and harbour drugs. We need change and we need Howard U to get out of the real estate business in our hood. They are 100% respsible for the rotting of Ledroit.

 

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