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Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 7:31 p.m.

Rice Hall, Penn Ave. properties to be revamped into new development

Rice Hall, GW's main administrative building, will be transformed into part of a new commercial development over the next few years. Hatchet file photo.

Rice Hall, GW’s main administrative building, will be transformed into part of a new commercial development over the next few years. Hatchet file photo.

GW will transform its main administrative building and its property at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. into a new location featuring retail and commercial office space, officials announced Monday.

The redevelopment will be done in partnership with Boston Properties, which led the redevelopment of The Avenue property at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. that features apartments and retail locations like Whole Foods. Revenue from The Avenue largely helped to fund the construction of the Science and Engineering Hall after original fundraising plans for the complex fell through.

The addition of The Avenue also marked a major economic victory for the University, as it drew in both local restaurateurs and national chains and proved itself to be a consistent and plentiful source of revenue.

The Board of Trustees had previously approved the agreement and officials finished negotiations with Boston Properties this month, according to the release. Community organizations like the Advisory Neighborhood Commission as well as District organizations like the Zoning Commission still need to approve the plans.

Lou Katz, the executive vice president and treasurer, said in the release that the additional revenue will be used to support academics.

“GW is excited by the opportunity to once again partner with Boston Properties to deliver a first-class commercial development that will activate the Foggy Bottom Campus,” Katz said.

Katz added that the buildings are under a long-term ground lease that allows landlords the authority to make improvements to the property once the lease expires.

Rice Hall, located at 2121 I St., currently houses University administrators, including University President Steven Knapp. Those offices will be moved to different locations depending on the purpose of the departments, and tenants in the 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. building will also be emptied out, including businesses like TGI Fridays.

Officials plan for Rice Hall offices to be cleared out by December 2018 and the Pennsylvania Avenue property to be emptied by June 2019, according to the release.

An architectural firm will conduct a study to find the best locations for GW offices misplaced by the redevelopment, the release said. The findings will be added to a current study aimed at reducing the amount spent on leased spaces.

The 2007 Campus Plan previously approved of utilizing the bottom floor of Rice Hall as retail space, but the change in plans will require an amendment to the plan, according to the release.

The University previously partnered up with the developing company Skanska in 2014 for a multi-million dollar development plan for GW properties along Pennsylvania Avenue, known as Square 75, that includes parts of 2100 Pennsylvania Ave.

The plan to revamp Square 75 was presented to a zoning board in 2012, and D.C. granted the project permits last year.

Ray Ritchey, the senior executive vice president of Boston Properties, said in the release that the company is “thankful” to complete another project with GW.

“We stand ready to accept that challenge and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity,” Ritchey said in the release.

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