For the past two years the District has been diligently developing a physical redevelopment plan and complimentary economic development strategy to guide the revitalization of the East Campus of Saint Elizabeths -- a national historic landmark -- and surrounding communities. While the planned consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security and eventual location of 14,000 -17,000 employees on the West Campus – directly across MLK Jr. Ave – was the initial impetus for this planning, the redevelopment of the East Campus has become a critical project in realizing the District’s goals of fiscal stability, job creation, and economic competitiveness. Success is most critical here as the communities surrounding Saint Elizabeths are among the most economically distressed in the District. Redevelopment offers the opportunity to provide amenities for local communities and the forthcoming future 4,400 Coast Guard employees – set to arrive on the West Campus in May 2013 – while creating a new center for innovation which will serve to further diversify the District’s economy.
There are three distinct economic development goals for the Saint Elizabeths redevelopment:
1. Build an environment (both programmatic and physical) that encourages entrepreneurial businesses in dynamic and innovative sectors to grow in DC, and allows Federal government agencies to partner with the private sector in support of innovation and commercialization.
2. Serve as the centerpiece for District-wide efforts to diversify the local economy and enable DC-based businesses to reduce reliance on federal procurement contracts and increase their competitiveness in private sector global markets.
3. Promote DC’s existing social and economic assets, and build capacity in under-served communities, to ensure District residents and businesses participate in economic opportunities at St. Elizabeths.
The redevelopment effort is now transitioning into an implementation phase, and the District is engaged in the process of soliciting Development Partners for the redevelopment, as well as working closely with partner agencies to grant zoning to the site. The above actions will draw significant attention to the opportunity. However, as the campus has not been accessible to the public in its more than a century of existence, the District would also like to engage in an effort to open the campus to the local community and City as a whole.
The District seeks to take a bold first step in realizing its plans for the campus by constructing an innovative and aesthetically unique structure to serve interim uses before the redevelopment of the site is complete and has these additional goals:
1. To provide an iconic structure to house food amenities (i.e. lunchtime vendors) to serve Coast Guard employees, community members, and other local employees in the years before the first phase of East Campus construction is completed (approx. 2015).
2. To provide a flexible space to host other activities such as farmer’s markets, community, and cultural events.
3. To activate the East Campus and begin to brand it as an iconic, unique and active asset and destination to the local community, East of the River, and greater DC area.
The Pavilion will be located at the corner of Redwood and Sycamore Street, and will have visual prominence along MLK Jr. Ave with the intention of drawing heavy pedestrian traffic from the West Campus, the Congress Heights neighborhood, and the adjacent Congress Heights Metro station. The goal for this project is to develop a Pavilion that will be a destination for casual dining as well as a space and landscape to serve as a venue that can host farmer’s markets, community, art and cultural events, weekend youth workshops, and other weekend and afterhours events. Visually and structurally, the Pavilion should be distinct and unique from other structures in the City – such as Eastern Market – in that it will feature both enclosed and outdoor programming that has the necessary supporting facilities (i.e. restrooms, kitchen spaces, etc.) to support the desired uses and foot traffic. Offerors should note that the budget for this project is limited and designs should consider innovative materials and options for scalability.
Design should also consider and where applicable, conform to the Design Guidelines set out in the Saint Elizabeths Master Plan, available at http://www.stelizabethseast.com/document-center/. Infrastructure on the East Campus is additionally limited and no utility connections are available without substantial cost. Electrical service can be provided via temporary connections to overhead lines. Water pressure and hook-ups are limited, as are sewer and storm water collection. Subsequently, designs should consider solutions with limited infrastructure requirements and incorporate innovative sustainability and green building solutions drawn from best practices.
From a programmatic perspective, the Pavilion should be designed to support the following activities:
1. Food Service – The Pavilion should be able to support a number of small vendors/food stalls. The food stalls should be able to provide casual dining for the public and the workers in the new Coast Guard Headquarters.
2. Food Trucks – The Pavilion and its environs should be designed in such a way so that it can readily support patrons of food trucks and other mobile vendors to be situated outdoors.
3. Seating – The Pavilion should support shared seating for approximately 150-300 persons at one time. All of the seating need not be in conditioned space; however, shade and protection from inclement weather should be considered.
4. Multi-Purpose Space – The Pavilion and its environs should be designed in such a manner so it can accommodate farmer’s markets, community events and other weekend or afterhours type activities.
5. Support Spaces – The Pavilion should incorporate restroom facilities and other necessary support spaces such as shared or individual vendor storage space. Any number of restroom solutions will be considered given infrastructure limitations.
Aesthetically, the Pavilion should establish a sense of place and enhance the identity and character of the East Campus. If done well, the Pavilion could set a precedent for future development on the East Campus. Because of the existing buildings’ unique and historic appearance, the design should consider and complement its setting – the entire campus was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990 and a Local Historic district in 2005. All designs will have to undergo a historic approval process.