District Seeks Developer for Lincoln Theatre Properties

The District has issued a solicitation seeking development partners to build on two city-owned properties and above an alley located behind the 88-year-old theater. The site could accommodate about 90,000 square feet of development and the potential uses include office, hotel or housing – any housing built on the site must reserve at least thirty percent of the units for affordable housing. A preliminary analysis of the site suggests office uses, particularly to house non profit organizations, are the strongest use for the site and would provide shared parking for the Lincoln Theatre. But the District also found that housing and boutique hotel uses may also be feasible.

The Lincoln Theatre is owned by the District government, but it is managed by the non profit U Street Theatre Foundation. The non-profit organization is slated to receive a five-year license agreement beginning this summer with the District to continue and expand its management of the theater. The District is also requiring that any development will provides ongoing financial support for the theater and include at least 7,500 square feet of flexible event space, including a restaurant-quality kitchen, which would be managed by the theater management.

The District’s support of the theater has been ongoing, including $1.5 million for capital improvements that are nearly complete. For years, the District has provided the non profit with annual operating support directly from the city budget. Mayor Fenty in his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 proposed $500,000 in operating support for the theater. This new approach could provide the theater with a sustained funding stream, which would enable the theater managers to focus more on programming. Bids for the sites are due on July 18, 2008.

Posted Under: DC News