Howard University Issues RFQ for Redevelopment of Historic Facilities


Bond Bread Factory and WRECO Garage Ready for Revitalization

Washington, D.C. (September 27, 2017) – Today, Howard University released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the redevelopment of two historic Howard properties - the former Bond Bread Factory and Washington Railway and Electric Company (WRECO) maintenance garage. Together, these sites make up 2.2 acres of prime real estate, south of Howard’s main campus.

Originally envisioned as the Howard Town Center, a grocery store-anchored mixed-use development, these sites have been held up in a legal dispute related to a previously selected development partner’s failure to perform.  Last month, a federal court handed down a decision in Howard’s favor following an 8-day trial.  

Howard University’s Real Estate Development and Capital Asset Management team issued the RFQ in search of a qualified team that will develop the sites at their highest and best use, creating an animated gateway between the vibrant U Street community and Howard’s campus.  Bidders are encouraged to add a ground floor destination, such as a food hall or market to attract visitors from around the region.

Situated adjacent to the Shaw neighborhood’s latest major mixed-use developments, the sites offer Howard an opportunity to partake in the community’s revitalization efforts. Also located at the edge of Howard’s main campus, this development will greatly improve the vitality and visual quality of the area, while supporting expanded campus amenities.

The University’s real estate strategy, spearheaded by President Wayne A. I. Frederick, includes a systematic evaluation of its large portfolio of real estate assets and identification of monetization opportunities.  “I am thrilled to advance the transformative Bond Bread Factory and WRECO Garage project, and look forward to seeing our renewed vision align with the evolving surrounding neighborhood," said Dr. Frederick. “These sites forward our objectives to contribute to the revival of Georgia Avenue while also reinvesting in critical campus facilities."

These sites are the latest offering in a flurry of carefully selected and negotiated Howard real estate transactions to meet the University’s strategy. Formerly industrial properties, these sites were slated for mixed-use development in the 2012 Campus Master Plan, which outlines the University’s intent to support the revitalization of the Georgia Avenue commercial corridor.  “We are accelerating our real estate development efforts to execute innovative transactions which are structured to realize critical reinvestment capital for campus infrastructure and strategic initiatives,” said Anthony Freeman, Howard University’s Real Estate Executive.

The Bond Bread Factory (2146 Georgia Avenue, NW) and WRECO Garage (2112 Georgia Avenue, NW) were built in 1929 and 1930 to serve as a commercial bakery and to house and maintain a bus and streetcar fleet for the Washington Railway and Electric Company. Both structures are listed on the National Register for Historic Places, meaning that designated components of the buildings will be preserved and incorporated into the future design.

In support of Howard’s mission, the University will require significant minority participation in the development, as well as benefits to students, and amenities to serve the community. The University also seeks to maintain fee-simple ownership of the property to preserve the size and quality of its real estate portfolio.

“Redevelopment of the Bond Bread and WRECO sites will be the most catalytic economic development project in the Mid-City area, creating a destination-oriented gateway to Howard and the Georgia Avenue corridor,” said Jay Brown, Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal, Howard’s real estate advisors on recent private partnership transactions.

Shaw is a growing residential and commercial neighborhood recognized for its unique developmental history, architectural quality and diversity, and accessibility. The neighborhood was settled by individuals who constructed their own single dwellings of frame and brick, rather than a single developer building identical row houses, block by block. Named after Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, leader of the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War, Shaw retains links to African American history and entertainment.

Interested parties are encouraged to view the full RFQ and the University’s project data room below. Responses are due on November 21, 2017.


Project data room:

For media inquiries, contact: Crystal Brown, 202-806-2521; or Leslie Braunstein, 202-656-0542.

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university that is comprised of13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 60 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.  For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit