Capitol Crossing is the name for the project being planned for the entrance to Interstate 395, south of Massachusetts Avenue NW, but it may earn the title “Georgetown East Campus.”
Executives from developer Property Group Partners (formerly Louis Dreyfus Property Group) are in discussions with Georgetown University officials about locating multiple university facilities at the new project — including a possible relocation of Georgetown’s medical school from the university’s main campus.
Robert H. Braunohler, Property Group Partners regional vice president, said he and university leaders have discussed space needs for a string of Georgetown units including its law school, public policy school, continuing education program and its medical school.
He said the “air rights” project — named because it will be constructed on a $200 million deck over the freeway’s entrance — was a natural fit to accommodate expansion or relocation of Georgetown facilities because it is across the street from the school’s law school and law library.
Braunohler said no commitments have been made but that he expected Georgetown would take at least some space in the 2.2 million-square-foot project. He and Sean C. Cahill, vice president of development, opened a marketing office and began promoting the project as a destination for a law firm relocation and Georgetown to brokers in early April. “We are in discussions with Georgetown every week,” he said.
Georgetown is in dire need of space to expand, as its main campus is stuck between the Potomac River and a neighborhood that has grown stiffly opposed to new construction. In 2004 it opened the Center for Continuing and Professional Education in a Clarendon office building, and the school has been seeking a much larger location for that program, possibly in Northern Virginia.
Georgetown spokeswoman Stacy Kerr said the university had long-term expansion needs and the Property Group Partners’ project was under consideration. “That’s one of many sites that we’re looking at around the region for a number of different things,” she said.
The air rights project may be in a unique position to accommodate Georgetown. Its size — four office buildings and one residential building on seven acres— dwarfs what other downtown developers can offer near the law school. The project would reconnect F Street between Second and Third streets and would create an outdoor pedestrian plaza along G Street. The earliest a building could be occupied is late 2015 or early 2016.
The university’s public policy school is located at 37th and O streets, even though many of its students do internships on Capitol Hill.
Its medical school is affiliated with a 609-bed hospital owned and operated by MedStar Health. The hospital was built in 1947 and is located between George Washington Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital. The Property Group Partners site is in one of the fastest growing parts of the city and has no competing hospitals for miles to its east and south. “We think this is a great site for a medical school or hospital facility,” Braunohler said.
Braunohler’s project is also to be built with environmental enhancements in mind. Property Group Partners built the first LEED Platinum-rated private office building in the city and plans to build co-generation and water treatment facilities at Capitol Crossing that would produce energy and cool the building using captured rainwater. The project is to have such deep and expansive green roofs that the developers expect that small farms would be able to operate on top of the buildings and serve local restaurants.
“I think we’ll be able to offer less expensive and more reliable electricity,” Braunohler said.