Rose Center for Public Leadership Joins Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on St. Elizabeths Campus Redevelopment

February 28, 2017 - (7 min read)

District one of just four cities chosen to begin study visit on public/private program supporting excellence in land use by local governments

WASHINGTON  — February 28, 2017 —The Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower to advise the District of Columbia on how it can ensure that redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths East Campus will be a positive asset and provide strong benefits for the residents of the adjacent Congress Heights community.

“Washington, DC is honored to be selected by the Rose Center for Public Leadership for this distinguished program,” said Mayor Bowser. “We look forward to hosting our peers from other cities this week and learning from their development and planning experiences as we transform St. Elizabeths into a dynamic community and economic center for Congress Heights and Ward 8 residents.”

St. Elizabeths, located along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE in Ward 8, was previously occupied by St. Elizabeths Hospital. In 1987, the Federal Government transferred the 183-acre St. Elizabeths East Campus to the District. The West Campus is occupied by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard.

The District has completed two public facilities on the East Campus, the R.I.S.E Demonstration Center and Gateway DC, and has begun significant infrastructure development. In addition, its development partner, Redbrick LMD/Gragg Cardona Partners, will soon begin the renovation of several historic buildings into approximately 350 units of rental and ownership housing—of which a large proportion will be affordable—along with supportive amounts of retail, office and community space. This year, the District, in partnership with EventsDC and Monumental Sports and Entertainment will break ground on a new state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA), the future practice facility for the Washington Wizards, home court of the Washington Mystics, and a premier entertainment venue in Ward 8.

Congress Heights, built on the hilltops overlooking the Anacostia River, takes its name from its undulating topography that offers exceptional views of the U.S. Capitol and beyond. The neighborhood is rich in community character and historic significance with many educational and faith institutions.  With its combination of unique geographical assets, excellent transportation connectivity, and the investments by the District Government, Federal Government and local organizations, the District believes Congress Heights is a neighborhood poised for numerous opportunities for its residents.

“Mayor Bowser’s administration is taking a thoughtful and proactive approach to a really complicated development project at St. Elizabeths,” said Rose Center Director Jess Zimbabwe. “We hope to bring some best practices from other places and new approaches from leading experts to bear here.”

The Rose Center’s mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision-making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical, and sustainable land use policies. Each year, the center’s Daniel Rose Fellowship program invites the mayors of four large U.S. cities to select a team with land use decision-making authority to receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge. This year’s fellowship class is from the cities of Anchorage, Alaska; Grand Rapids, Mich.; San José, Calif. and Washington, D.C.

“Local leaders play a critical role in ensuring redevelopment projects serve all members of their communities,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of National League of Cities (NLC). “We look forward to working with Mayor Bowser through the Rose Center to help make the St. Elizabeths project a vibrant, equitable space for Congress Heights.”

“The Rose Center has an excellent track record of helping cities address growth-related issues in ways that benefit all community residents,” said Urban Land Institute Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “We look forward to the recommendations from the Center’s advisers on how to best implement a strategy for Congress Heights that lifts up the entire area by increasing housing and retail access as well as employment opportunities.”

Mayor Bowser’s team includes Rose Fellows Polly Donaldson, Director of the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development; Brian Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; and Eric Shaw, Director of the District’s Office of Planning; who are assisted by Andrew Trueblood, Chief of Staff at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

The panel will be co-chaired by the District of Columbia’s Rose Fellowship faculty advisers: Philadelphia-based Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, a vice president and landscape architecture practice leader for AECOM’s Americas division and planning and development consultant Kate Collignon, managing partner at HR&A Advisors, Inc. in New York City. It also includes Rose Fellows from other cities in this year’s class: Anchorage planning director Hal Hart, and Grand Rapids mobility and parking manager Josh Naramore. Also serving on the panel are Antoine Bryant, principal with Bryant Design Group in Houston; Denver City Councilmember Christopher Herndon; Charnelle Hicks, president of Philadelphia-based CHPlanning; Alysia Osborne, Director of the Historic West End Initiative at Charlotte Center City Partners; and Tyrone Rachal, president of Atlanta-based Urban Key Capital Partners and chair of the DeKalb Development Authority.

The panel will be briefed by Mayor Bowser and her team, tour the study area and neighborhood and meet with community, business and civic leaders and other local experts; representatives from the local development community and ULI Washington district council; and other stakeholders. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experience, the panelists will apply the information gathered during the study visit and present recommendations for how the District, its partners and stakeholders can achieve their goals for the area. All of Washington’s expenses to participate in the program—including the panel’s visit—are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.

The Daniel Rose Fellowship is the flagship program of the Rose Center, established in 2008 by the ULI Foundation Governor Daniel Rose. The purpose of the program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning, and analysis needed to successfully improve their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, working retreats at NLC’s and ULI’s national conferences, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities. The cities of Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Detroit; Hartford, Conn.; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Long Beach, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Oakland, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash. and Tampa, Fla. have participated in the previous seven years of the program.

NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Representatives of the Rose Center will be making a public presentation with preliminary findings and recommendations from 9-11 a.m. EST on Friday, March 3 at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Room G9.

About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Media Contact:

NLC: Courtney Bernard,; 202-626-3133