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D.C. seeks design firm for Ivy City homeless shelter renovations

The New York Avenue Men’s shelter is slated for an update

Ivy City sign (2015)
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Ivy City building that currently houses the 360-bed New York Avenue men’s homeless shelter, located at 1355 New York Avenue NE, is set to receive a significant makeover in the next few years. Now, the D.C. government is searching for an architectural/engineering firm that could redesign the outmoded structure, according to a recently released city solicitation.

D.C.’s Department of General Services issued the solicitation on behalf of the Department of Human Services (DHS) June 13, and bids will be accepted until July 2. “The renovations are needed to bring the building up to current applicable code standards, and provide desired upgrades, and to not impair existing program and operations,” the document says. “It is the desire of DHS for services to continue to be provided at the Shelter during the renovations. Thus, the [chosen firm] shall advise on the feasibility of the building being occupied during the construction phase.” A 2018 DHS budget proposal called the building, originally built in 1950, “a dilapidated facility that has outlived its life cycle,” per the Washington City Paper.

The request for proposals says the design work “must be substantially completed by June 1, 2020.” The results would then be used to seek bids from construction firms that could make the design changes. Neither a timeline or budget for the construction is spelled out, but the latest six-year capital plan Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed said the total estimated funding cost for the project was over $11.5 million and the shelter’s exterior needed to be renovated.

The shelter, a low-barrier one, is managed day-to-day by the D.C. arm of Catholic Charities. It includes over 31,000 square feet of interior space and stands on a 12,000-square-foot lot near the Hecht Warehouse development, several restaurants and businesses, and rail tracks.