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Mayor Bowser Unveils New Strategy to Enhance Equity in District Development Opportunities

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
RFP for Langston-Slater Schools Redevelopment First of District Projects to Include New Equity Priority

(Washington, DC) –Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) announced a new strategy for enhancing equity and making DC’s prosperity more inclusive: an equity inclusion prioritization in forthcoming Request for Proposals (RFP) that will increase access to development opportunities for entities or organizations that are owned or majority controlled by individuals determined to be part of a socially disadvantaged population.

“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,” said Mayor Bowser. “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 DC values.”

To facilitate equitable access to District development projects, DMPED will begin incorporating a prioritization in their RFPs for teams that maximize, by percentage of ownership and control, entities designated as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Residence Owned Business (ROB), or any entities (including non-profits and community institutions) led by, or majority controlled by, individuals designated as socially disadvantaged under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition.

The first RFP including this equity inclusion priority was released today by DMPED for Langston-Slater School at 43 P Street, NW in Ward 5. The property was formerly two elementary schools – Slater Elementary School and John Mercer Langston Elementary School. Slater Elementary School was constructed in 1891 as a school for African American students; the school was part of a complex of schools for Black students along First Street, NW between L and P Streets. The John Mercer Langston Elementary School was built in 1902 to handle the overflow of students from the adjoining Slater School. To view the RFP, visit http://dmped.dc.gov/page/langstonslater.

“I am pleased to see this new strategy that prioritizes equity in shaping the landscape of our city,” said Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chairman of the Committee on Business and Economic Development. “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.”

This is the first project in series of solicitations that focus on equitable priorities. Between now and Labor Day, DMPED and other District agencies will announce additional development opportunities with equitable inclusion preferences. These forthcoming announcements represent a modified version of DMPED’s annual “March Madness,” an event where upcoming District real estate opportunities are revealed to the economic development community.

“This is about doing everything we can to give local businesses and entrepreneurs a fair shot,” said Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “The equity inclusion priority offers a built-in pathway for making economic development more equitable and more diverse.”

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