UDC hopes to lease buildings to benefit students and community

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Photo courtesy of udc.edu.
Photo courtesy of udc.edu.

By: Davis Kennedy

Troy A. LeMaile-Stovall, the chief operating officer at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), told the local advisory neighborhood commission that the university hopes to purchase the building at 4250 Connecticut Ave.

UDC has a three-year lease if it can get City Council to approve the funds for the purchase. LeMaile-Stovall said the university needs to have more facilities if it is to graduate more students. It is the only public university in the District and wants to become a national model for a big city public university.

LeMaile-Stovall said it would probably take between three and nine months before UDC hears if the Council will finance the purchase. Possible applicants, he said, often make their decisions as to where to apply based on the appearance of the campus. “We’ve got to solidify what we look like,” he told the commissioners.

The university is looking for a real estate broker to help it find retailers for the ground floors of its buildings at 4225 Connecticut and its law school. It can’t rent 4250 unless it is able to buy the building said LeMaile-Stovall, as most retailers want long-term leases.

Currently, it is using 4250 as swing space with no plans to renovate it unless it can buy it. The ideal retailer, he said, would offer jobs to students and offer products appealing to both the students and the community. Retailers normally need at least a five-year lease to be interested in a space.

The university, he said, does have the funds to renovate its current buildings, including its gymnasium. It is considering the possibility of using some of its field space for tennis courts and for a basketball court. Before it decides exactly what it will do, LeMaile-Stovall said it will work with the commission and talk with Van Ness Main Street.  

If the purchase of 4250 goes through, it is considering turning the building where the commission meets into a residence hall and 4225 could become mixed space. Currently, there are no architectural drawings.

Last year it requested a $720 million capital budget for the next six years but was only given $14 million. The university plans to redo its master plan next year with a $22 million operating budget.