Consulting firm pitches for “academic village” in NoMa

493412_imae2_1Mayor Vincent Gray is working with real estate and developing company Wilkes Co. to draft a proposal for a 600,000-square-foot university village at 300 M Street Northeast for Georgetown and other D.C. universities to lease. This proposal comes in light of the Mayor’s five-year plan for economic growth.

Gray envisions this academic village as one that includes student and faculty housing, lecture and seminar halls, as well as gymnasiums and cafeterias. The village would be accessible by the NoMa-Galludet U Metro Station.

“This has the potential to be an absolutely ground-breaking and world-class opportunity,” Company Chairman Sandy Wilkes said to the Washington Business Journal. 

The University has not expressed explicit formal support or consideration of the proposal. GW’s business dean Doug Guthrie publicly supported the concept of the proposal.

“Participating in an academic village would certainly be one of the ideas we would consider as we actively look for new opportunities around the District and the region where we can expand and grow our academic programs,” University spokeswoman Stacy Kerr wrote in an email to Vox. 

The dean of the McDonough School of Business is currently communicating with Wilkes and the dean from GW’s business school to see if this project is viable.

Kerr added that this project is not the only expansion interest on the University’s horizon. “Georgetown Downtown” is the University’s current expansion project to house 1,100 students by next year at 650 Massachusetts Avenue. Additionally, Kerr cited Georgetown’s Law Center as an example of an already established academic community in the NoMa district.

Wilkes and the Mayor’s academic village proposal is merely in the infantile stages, and demands the support of private universities in D.C. to succeed.

JJ in village copyright Kirill Makarenko

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