The Catholic University of America

May 21, 2008

CUA Selects Developer for South Campus Area


Conceptual rendering of the view of the South Campus proposal looking west down Monroe Street, across Michigan Avenue. (Photo: Abdo Development)

WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America announced today that it has finalized an agreement with Abdo Development to develop the university's nearly nine-acre South Campus site located adjacent to the Brookland/CUA Metro station on Michigan Avenue in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Under the direction of President and CEO Jim Abdo, the firm will lead the process to obtain a Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval from the D.C. Zoning Commission for a mixed-use development. The PUD process is expected to take about a year, during which Abdo will work closely with the Brookland neighborhood, city officials and the university to determine the best vision for the property.

"Jim Abdo has a reputation for being a community builder, which is exactly what we wanted as we selected a partner in bringing this new development to the Brookland community," said Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., president of Catholic University.

"Jim has a refreshing perspective and a 'can do' attitude," Father O'Connell said. "He works well with community residents and produces excellent projects. We are excited to be able to join with him and his team in this project of major importance to the future of the university and the Brookland community."

"The South Campus represents a tremendous opportunity to connect Catholic University with the surrounding Brookland neighborhood and bring community-oriented retail and arts amenities that the neighborhood has been seeking," said Abdo. "We are extremely excited to be working in this beautiful and diverse part of the city."

Abdo founded his company more than 10 years ago and is well known in the District of Columbia for successful retail and residential development throughout the city. Notable recent projects include the development of 476 condominium and rental apartment units on the site of the former Capital Children's Museum on H Street, Northeast, and 87 new loft condominiums in two warehouse-inspired buildings on Clarendon Boulevard in Arlington.

Julie I. Englund, vice president for finance and administration, treasurer, at CUA, has led the process at the university resulting in Abdo's selection. "Our goal is to have a project that meets the university's needs and also provides amenities needed in the neighborhood," said Englund. She added that key principles guiding the university's process include achieving development that enhances the attractiveness of the university to current and prospective students as well as benefiting the Brookland neighborhood.

"We want to work with the community to have a neighborhood project that will be a good long-term complement to the university while fitting into the area aesthetically, especially as it will open onto our campus front door along Michigan Avenue," Englund noted. "CUA wants a high-quality project that takes advantage of its unique location next to the Metro, creates a unique sense of place within the Brookland neighborhood and improves safety for the whole area."

CUA, the largest land-area university campus in the District, has worked with its neighbors and the District's Office of Planning since 2006 in the "Brookland/CUA Metro Station Small Area Plan" to develop planning principles and concepts for the area around the Metro stop. The South Campus site is bounded roughly by Michigan Avenue on the north; the Dominican House of Studies on the west; Lawrence Street on the south; and the Metrorail tracks on the east. CUA has already reached out to immediate neighbors to inform them about the future project.

"We conducted an extremely thorough process in selecting Abdo Development," said Englund. CUA screened more than 40 major development organizations and chose Abdo from the final four teams after an extensive process that included touring built projects, interviews and financial due diligence. CUA is advised in its development process by John Gibb, Kurt Haglund and Peter Larkin from The Staubach Companies; development consultant Jody F. Winter; and Michael Goodwin and Alex Hallett of the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

Media: Questions should be directed to Victor Nakas at Catholic University at 202-319-5600 or Toby Millman at Abdo Development at 202-265-9393.