DC Mayor Prioritizes “Disadvantaged” Bidders to Redevelop Elementary Schools

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, released a new Request for Proposals strategy concerning the site of two former elementary school buildings at 33-45 P Street NW in Truxton Circle. 

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The strategy is designed to improve the equity of the companies that benefit from D.C.’s development deals and for the first time, included “equity inclusion prioritization” language for the redevelopment of a city-owned property.

“We are committed to making our city’s prosperity more inclusive, but that won’t happen by chance—it will happen because as a government and as individuals, we are intentional about how we invest and who we make opportunities available to,” Bowser said in prepared remarks. “By ensuring that the growth of our city is driven by and more representative of those who make up our city, we can both expand opportunity and advance D.C. values.” 

The Mayor noted DMPED will start prioritizing in their RFPs teams that maximize, by percentage of ownership and control, entities designated as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Residence Owned Business (ROB), or any entities led by, or majority controlled by, individuals designated as socially disadvantaged under the Small Business Administration’s definition.

The 30,000-square-foot Slater Elementary School and John Mercer Langston Elementary School buildings will be combined into the Langston-Slater School. Slater Elementary was originally built in 1891 as a school for African American students. The John Mercer Langston school was constructed a decade later to handle the overflow of students.

“I am pleased to see this new strategy that prioritizes equity in shaping the landscape of our city,” Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 councilmember and chairman of the committee on Business and Economic Development, said. “I have worked closely with DMPED to identify opportunities to put a racial equity agenda into practice, and the site of the former Slater and Langston Schools—both established to educate black students—is the perfect location to move this objective forward.”