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Washington-area colleges have big ideas for St. Elizabeths east

Thursday - 8/1/2013, 1:39pm  ET

Virtually every major college and university in the Washington area has responded to the District's call for expressions of interests in the St. Elizabeths east campus.

The RFEI issued in April for an academic and research anchor at St. E's sought to gauge academia's general interest in the campus and gather ideas as to how institutions would contribute to the District's vision for an Innovation Hub there.

The names of the institutions that responded shouldn't come as any surprise, but the number might. It's just about everybody.

  • American University
  • Community College of the District of Columbia
  • Catholic University
  • Gallaudet University
  • George Mason University
  • Georgetown University
  • The George Washington University
  • University of Maryland
  • Trinity College
  • Howard University
  • The University of the District of Columbia

Each of those schools is part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and submitted responses individually but as part of the consortium. Howard University submitted a second response independent of the consortium, as did Graduate School USA.

Details of their responses have not been released, but their ideas will be used to craft the request for proposals to be issued later this year.

The District expects to set aside roughly 250,000 square feet, or half of the planned St. E's east Innovation Hub, for an academic institution, or a consortium of institutions. The hub also may include the presence of Microsoft Corp., French lighting firm Citelum and SmartBim.

"We're about this close," Mayor Vincent Gray said recently, holding his fingers an inch apart, of the District's talks with Microsoft.

If all goes according to plan, at full buildout the redeveloped 183-acre St. E's east will include 1.8 million gross square feet of office space, 1,300 mixed-income residential units, 206,000 square feet of retail and 330,000 square feet of hospitality space, likely two hotels.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.