Monday, January 25, 2010

Gales School / Central Union Mission Fell Through

The Gales School, 65 Massachusetts Ave NW.  Photo by M.V. Jantzen on Flickr.

A press advisory posted on the city's website last week seems to indicate that the planned move of the Central Union Mission into the Gales School, located between Union Station and Mount Vernon Triangle, has officially fallen through.

The historic Gales School was initially scheduled to reopen as a homeless shelter in 2009, but deal was caught up in legal problems with the ACLU.  It charged that the city was violating the separation of church and state by entering a deal in which the city would pay several million dollars to renovate the building, then transfer it to Central Union Mission, which requires those who stay with them to take part in prayer, as part of a land swap.  Even as late as September 2009, however, Central Union Mission remained optimistic that they would move into the building from their 14th and R Street location in late 2011.  DCMud indicates that Central Union Mission will again seek use of the Gales School through the latest RFO, but it does not sound optimistic.

The Request for Offers is being handled by the District's Office of Real Estate Services (ORES), which will host a pre-submission meeting and site visit on January 29.  Offers are due on February 16.  According to the RFO:
The District’s overarching goal in issuing this RFP is to obtain Proposals for the Use Site for the sole permitted use as a homeless shelter. Responses proposing any other use for the Use Site will be deemed nonresponsive and will not be considered. . . . [T]he District seeks Responses from interested qualified respondents who can demonstrate:
• Viable approach for the delivery of homeless shelter services at the Use Site;
• Organizational capacity and experience to redevelop the Use Site for use as a homeless shelter;
• Successful track record of operating a high quality homeless shelter and service program;
• Financial capacity to provide requisite program financing including the costs and expenses associated with the rehabilitation of the Use Site; and
• Commitment to the District’s goal of creating the contracting and investment opportunities for local, small and disadvantaged businesses, and jobs for District residents.

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