SBPM construction remains on hold

GW will need to secure a final building permit before it can decide whether to break ground on a new business school facility, University officials said Wednesday. Last month, a District court gave the University the green light to start construction when it temporarily lifted a city-imposed moratorium on the construction of non-residential buildings.

University Senior Counsel Charles Barber said the D.C. Zoning Commission would make a decision in the coming weeks on whether to grant GW the final building permit needed to begin construction.

Barber said he is confident that GW will receive the permit, noting that it has already been issued two preliminary permits that are also needed to start construction.

He said GW would not make a decision on whether to begin construction until it receives the final go-ahead.

The D.C. Court of Appeals will issue a decision this fall on a city order that requires GW to house a majority of its students on campus. The order also prevents the University from constructing non-residential buildings until it complies with the housing order.

Since GW cannot meet the order’s requirements this year, it can only begin construction on the business school building if the court repeals the housing order. The University scored a small victory in July when the court temporarily stayed the order, pending its final decision.

But starting construction would put GW in a precarious position as it awaits the court’s ruling. If the court rules in the District’s favor, construction would be halted indefinitely.

The $56-million facility, Ric and Dawn Duques Hall, would be built between Funger and Madison halls on 22nd Street.

Peter Lavallee, communications director for the D.C. Corporation Counsel, which represents the city in court, said GW, should be careful of beginning something it might not be able to finish.

Barber said the University is evaluating the risks inherent in beginning construction before the court makes a final decision.

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