The Gallaudet University Board of Trustees voted on October 10, 2014 to approve that the university's real estate Foundation enter into exclusive negotiations for a development agreement with The JBG Companies for its 6th Street parcels in Northeast Washington, D.C.
This partnership is the inaugural real estate development initiative by the Gallaudet University Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2012 following a recommendation by the Urban Land Institute, which consulted with Gallaudet University during the development of its 2022 Campus Master Plan. The Foundation operates as an independent, non-profit entity to engage in real estate and development initiatives that support the university's academic mission and strategic goals. Its Board of Directors include former Pittsburgh Mayor and senior resident fellow of the Urban Land Institute Tom Murphy, retired D.C. Chief Financial Officer Dr. Natwar Gandhi, and Georgetown Business Improvement District Chief Executive Officer Joe Sternlieb, among others.
"The 6th Street properties encompass seven acres both on- and off-campus and the goal is to create a distinct destination in Northeast D.C.," said Fred Weiner, chief executive officer of the Gallaudet University Foundation. "The Foundation felt that the breadth and depth of JBG's experience in the District, as well as its careful attention to nuances of the deaf community such as the incorporation of DeafSpace design elements into its proposal will go a long way toward enriching this neighborhood through our culture and language, as well as allow for greater interaction between our campus community and our neighbors."
The JBG Companies was selected as the Foundation's development partner for the 6th Street NE project following a year-long developer selection process. Over 30 developers expressed interest in the project by visiting Gallaudet during a site tour in June 2013, with 13 submitting a response to the Request for Qualifications. Four teams were invited to respond to the Request for Proposals, with The JBG Companies being selected from among those candidates.
"Gallaudet University's mission to ensure the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing students is at the heart of all of our decisions as the Board of Trustees," said Board Chair Heather Harker. "The redevelopment of the university's properties along 6th Street gives us a wonderful avenue to create a sustainable future for deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States and around the world."
The vision for the 6th Street corridor is described as "mixed-used development with an urban feel" and derives inspiration from the 2022 Campus Master Plan motto "From Isolation to Innovation." The development, which is expected to occur in phases over the next 10 years, will create a myriad of opportunities for Gallaudet students, staff, and faculty in terms of employment, internships, training, and collaborations.
"The development of Gallaudet's properties on 6th Street aligns with Goal C of our Strategic Plan which is to secure a sustainable resource base through expanded and diversified funding partnerships and increased efficiency of operations," said Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz, who also serves as chair of the Foundation Board. "The university's long term goal with such real estate and economic development opportunities is to generate additional sources of revenue, as well as create academic and social value."
To learn more about the 6th Street development, click here. To learn more about the 2022 Campus Plan, click here.
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world.
Kaitlin Luna, Coordinator of Media and Public Relations
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