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    Project Overview

    Howard University is pleased to begin the process of the re-imagination and redevelopment of its East Campus site, a 23-acre parcel located in the Ward 5 community of Washington, DC and the future home to the new Howard University School of Divinity and School of Social Work.

    In the fall of 2017, a master development team comprised of DC-based FLGA Real Estate Group and prominent national developer, ZOM Living, was selected by the university to oversee the master planning and redevelopment of the East Campus Site. It will be a multi-phased development that will involve significant engagement with the surrounding community and university stakeholders throughout the process. Throughout 2018, the master development team maintained regular attendance and engagement at ANC 5B meetings in preparation for future master planning efforts to begin in 2019.

    In the Summer of 2018, in preparation for re-imagination and master planning efforts, Howard University in partnership with its master development team engaged in a multi-month intensive site due diligence exercise. The university studied various existing site conditions and the results of those due diligence efforts can be found by clicking here.

    Site History

    One of the largest undeveloped privately-owned land masses in the District of Columbia, the Howard University East Campus site is situated in the heart of the Brookland neighborhood. Set in a residential oasis, this site is one of Howard University’s three major campuses within the District of Columbia.

    Formerly the home of the Holy Name College, built by the Order of Franciscans, Howard University East Campus was acquired the site in 1985 to house the Howard University School of Divinity. The East Campus was envisioned to embody theological advancement, social exchange and personal growth, which were the holy trinity of St. Francis and Dr. Benjamin E. Mays’, former Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity, core beliefs. In 2015, the University moved the majority of operations of the School of Divinity to a temporary location on its West Campus, with Mays Hall remaining predominately to house research archives for the School of Divinity.

    History of the Process

    Howard University was founded in 1867 as a private, research university comprised of 13 schools and colleges and designated as a historically black college and university (HBCU). To maintain its academic competitiveness, the university has prioritized facility upgrading and redevelopment to continue creating an environment of excellence for its students.

    In 2011, the university published a master plan, which addresses aging facilities across its campuses and is forward looking in creating revenue generation from non-core real estate assets. In this plan, the East Campus facilities were identified as a significant opportunity to monetize value and enhance academic operations for the university.

    In 2016, the university retained the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the most established network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use professionals in the country to conduct a study of the East Campus. The primary purpose of the ULI study was to explore, at a high level, how the site could be re-imagined unlocking value consistent with the goals of the university and the community. The study process included significant engagement and feedback from numerous university and neighborhood stakeholders. A copy of the study can be found here.


    Existing Buildings


    Designed by noted architect Chester Oakley, this 1931 Franciscan Seminary was renamed Benjamin Elijah Mays Hall in honor of the noted minister, activist and former Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity. It contains approximately 110,000 square feet and its previous uses included a library, classrooms, chapel, dormitory, cafeteria, and recreational spaces.

    Sherwood Farmhouse

    This Queen Anne-style frame farmhouse was built in 1886 and is located to the south of Mays Hall. Originally built as a farmhouse for James Sherwood, the University used this building for several dry research functions until its eventual closure.


    A single-story frame garage is located northeast of the farmhouse which was constructed with brick, mortar and concrete.

    Phase I  Site Due Diligence

    Howard University in partnership with its master development team engaged in an intensive site due diligence exercise beginning in the summer of 2018. During due diligence process, the team studied various existing site conditions including 1) survey/topographical conditions, 2) building, 3) site environmental, 4) tree survey, 5) geotechnical, and 6) zoning and historic preservation conditions. The goal of these studies was to develop a site conditions assessment that would guide future site re-imagination and planning efforts.

    Where We’re going

    The University will initiate the formal site re-imagination and planning process for the redevelopment of the Howard East Campus in 2019, which will include the return of the School of Divinity and School of Social Work and create an overall lifelong live-learn community.

    Building on various ideas and feedback derived from the ULI study in addition to the results of the intensive site due diligence exercise, the university and the master development team seek to administer a comprehensive site planning process rooted in transparency and significant stakeholder engagement, including both university and neighborhood stakeholders. The purpose of this process is to generate a conceptual development plan, which achieves goals of the University and is responsive to the considerations of the surrounding community.