“They’ve never really considered, until now, a major full-service, satellite campus,” Lewis said. “And during discussions on the campus plan, they came to this realization that their main campus is full.”
Georgetown issued a 12-page request-for-proposals recently seeking private-sector development partners who can evaluate the university’s existing campus and begin evaluating large blocks of land in the area, specifically Hill East, a 50-acre site next to RFK Stadium, Poplar Point, a 110-acre swath of parkland in Ward 8, and “two additional to-be-identified parcels,” according to the document.
Competing firms are encouraged to consider potential redevelopment of the school’s existing Medical Center zone, a signal that the hospital, operated by MedStar, could relocate in the future.
Hill East and Poplar Point are two of the largest and most valuable properties under the D.C. government’s control and have been considered for major mixed-use developments. They, along with the east campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital, have been discussed as possible hubs of high-tech academic centers akin to the science graduate school that Cornell University and New York City plan for Roosevelt Island.
“This was a bruising campus plan process for us, for Georgetown, for the community,” said Harriet Tregoning, D.C. director of planning. The ANC voted 6 to 1 to oppose Georgetown’s initial update to its campus plan, and some members of the community considered litigation before an agreement was finally approved by the Zoning Commission on Monday.
But Tregoning said that with the search for a new campus, the school has begun engaging with the city on long-term economic, development and employment issues that could bear fruit. DeGioia and his chief operating officer, Chris Augostini, recently accompanied Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) on his trade mission to China. Victor Reinoso, who was deputy mayor for education under Adrian M. Fenty, is managing the new campus search.
“Georgetown is taking a longer and much more strategic view of their future,” Tregoning said.