This week, we had a special “Development News You Can Use” request for information about the St. Elizabeths Hospital East Campus redevelopment. It’s no secret that there are many development projects under construction in wards 7 and 8 right now (21 to be exact), but this is one of the ones that hasn’t gotten as much recent publicity.
History: St. Elizabeths was established in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane. In 1916 the name was changed to St. Elizabeths Hospital. There are 2 campuses on 176 acres, and approximately 70 buildings — to put this in perspective, the national mall is 146 acres. The West Campus is owned by the federal government and under the control of GSA (the award winning U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters are located there). The East Campus is owned by the District of Columbia, this is the redevelopment project that we will explore in this column. While the buildings are vacant and disrepair, there is something both eerie and beautiful about them at the same time.
Location: St. Elizabeths is located in Congress Heights, the east campus is bordered by Martin Luther King Jr Ave to the west, Alabama Ave SE to the south and the Congress Heights Metro Station adjoins the south east corner of the property.
Development Summary: The redevelopment of Saint Elizabeths East is a multiphase project. Progress has been slow but steady since the release of the new Master Plan in 2012. Phase 1 will include the 15 acres nearest the Congress Heights Metro station and the highly anticipated 4,200 seat arena that would host Wizards practice, Washington Mystics home games and other entertainment.
The Master Developer team is led by Redbrick LMD and Gragg Cardona Partners, their phase 1 presentation includes a detailed timeline and renderings of the project. Other key features of phase 1 include 47,000 sq ft of Retail, 171,000 SF of Office, 60 townhomes and 250 multifamily units. The current administration is pushing for a new hospital at the campus to replace the struggling United Medical Center.
My Thoughts: The redevelopment of St Elizabeths will bring much needed economic activity back to Congress Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods. The proximity of the campus to metro is a critical component of attracting the interest of developers, future residents and consumers. The magnitude of the project and complexities of competing similar development in Wards 7 and 8 results in some unknowns, but I believe it’s only a matter of time before this project transforms the neighborhood.
Congress Heights Housing Market:
- Wide range of housing inventory including condominiums, row houses and detached homes, with both new construction and resales.
- 187 sales in the last year ranging from $28,000 for a REO condominium to $495,000 for a newer construction single family detached home.
- The average sales price for a rowhouse in the last year was $286,274, a 23% increase from the prior year where sales averaged $231,879. Rowhouse sales increased 43% during this period.
- Active homes for rent include:
- Active homes for sale include: