The District will decide in early 2014 what to finally make of the Franklin School, the ornate but badly damaged 1869 building at 13th and K streets, Northwest, that has sat unused since 2008. Based on the four proposals that made the short list selected by the DC government, the historic school could wind up as a hotel, an art museum, or a hive of technology firms.
The designs were unveiled October 30 at a public meeting, and posted last week on the website of the office of deputy mayor for planning and economic development. City officials estimate it will cost at least $30 million to stabilize the structure before any renovations can be made.
The iconic Georgetown Theater sign that sits rusty and ruined over Wisconsin Avenue could be back to its former gleaming neon self in the next year or two. “Absolutely,” says architect Robert Bell, who has a contract on the building and plans to renovate it as a mixed-use development of offices and residences. “I’ve been trying for about seven years to do that.” He says his redesign plan will “transform the block.”
Bell says he’s been in touch with the sign’s manufacturer, Jack Stone Signs of Landover, Maryland. “They maintained it for a long, long time, and they are still in business and have all the templates to build the neon as it was originally,” he says
Bell signed the contract for the building four weeks ago and expects to close on the deal after the first of the year. Construction, he says, could take a year and a half to two years.
The narrow, oddly shaped space is a challenge, Bell says, but also an opportunity. The ground floor will hold retail and residences, and he hopes to use the vacant property in the back to build himself a house. “We want to bring in light and windows,” he says.
There was talk by another group interested in buying the building of possibly moving a branch of the Politics & Prose bookstore into the space. Is that still viable with Bell’s plan? “I have no connection with that,” he says. “But it’s a great store, and about the only book store I shop in. I’m going to rent to a great tenant. If it’s them, great.”
Those who should give up almost all hope are movie fans who would like to see the building revived as a theater. “There’s no movie theater where there used to be a movie theater,” Bell said. “There’s nothing left of the original interior.”
Landmark Theatres plans to open a ten-screen multiplex in Northeast DC's continuously under construction NoMa neighborhood. The theater, which Landmark aims to open by late 2016 (just in time for awards season), will be a retail anchor at Capitol Point, a mixed-use development being built along New York Avenue by the development firm JBG.
The theater will be Landmark's third in Washington, after its eight-screen venues on E Street, Northwest, in downtown DC, and in Bethesda. In addition to Landmark's usual slate of independent flicks, foreign features, and highbrow mainstream release, the NoMa multiplex will feature a full-service bar and 3D projection.
Besides the 31,000-square-foot movie theater, JBG's Capitol Point development will include another 44,000 square feet of retail, 600 residential units, a 200-foot Hyatt hotel, and 1 million square feet of office space. Securing Landmark to anchor the project also gives DC something of a movie theater boom. A mixed-use development at Navy Yard being built by Forest City will include a 16-screen theater when it opens, possibly also in 2016.
Thursday night, Logan Circle’s Room & Board store hosts a book launch party to celebrate the release of design blog AphroChic’s first book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul. The bloggers behind the site, policy-attorney-turned-designer Jeanine Hays and her husband, Bryan Mason, will be on hand to chat about their aesthetic and sign books, but here’s our favorite part: Turns out Hays’s sister, Angela Hays Belt, is Room & Board’s head visual designer right here in DC. Impeccable design taste must run in their genes: Belt’s Navy Yard apartment (which she shares with her husband, Leon, a videographer and graphic designer) is one of the five homes featured in the book, and it’s chock-full of inspiring design. Keep reading to see more of the Belts’ artistic-meets-midcentury-industrial loft, then swing by the 14th Street store tonight to meet both Hays and Belt in person.
AphroChic book launch party, Thursday 6 to 8:30 PM. Presentation at 6:30 PM. 1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300. RSVP online.
No sooner than it announced plans to open a store on H St., Northeast, Whole Foods Market is already eyeballing another location in DC. This time, the supermarket chain is looking at the redevelopment of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and it has a good shot of landing there with Wegmans sliding out of the mix.
The rumors are true: Whole Foods Market is coming to H Street, Northeast. The supermarket chain announced today it has signed a lease to open a 38,000-square-foot location at Apollo H Street, a new apartment building set to open along to the increasingly packed corridor in late 2016.
Apollo H Street is being built by McLean-based Insight Property Group on a block that currently includes a Murry’s Fine Foods grocery store. Insight purchased the lot two years ago for $10 million. When complete, the Apollo development will include 430 residential units and 75,000 square feet of retail.
The District is giving the much-coveted rights to rebuild Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a mixed-use development to a joint venture between Hines and Urban Atlantic, says Victor Hoskins, the deputy mayor for planning and urban development.
Three proposals competed for the 67-acre site, but Hoskins tells Washingtonian the one led by Hines won out because it “offered the best economic deal for the city,” though he will not specify just what exactly those economic benefits are. (He attributes this to the fact that the city still needs to complete an agreement with the Army to get the keys to Walter Reed.)
The construction cranes and empty lots that are crowding downtown DC won’t be going away anytime soon, according a new report published by the Downtown Business Improvement District. The next decade could bring upward of $5.5 billion in new investment to the city’s core, with new offices and hotels, redeveloped landmarks, and a streetcar line running down K St.
The BID’s “Downtown 2020” page forecasts a future for downtown DC that’s perhaps even more lucrative than the past few years. Some of the projects it features are on the verge of opening, such the massive CityCenterDC complex which will open soon on the site of the parking lot that replaced the old convention center, or the Marriott Marquis hotel across the street from the new convention center.
Hotel exec John W. Marriott III sold a seven-bedroom, eight-bath Georgian-style house on New London Drive in Potomac for $4.4 million. The 12,000-square-foot home sits on more than two acres and has an indoor basketball court and 15-car garage. Marriott, the middle son of hotel magnate Bill Marriott, is an executive in his family’s company; like his father, he loves cars and collects Ferraris, Camaros, and Firebirds.
Commercial-real-estate executive Marc Duber and wife Nancy sold a home on Elgin Lane in Bethesda to developer Dave Pollin and wife Kirsten for $3.4 million. Duber is executive vice president of the Bernstein Companies, which owns, develops, invests in, and manages real estate. Dave Pollin is cofounder of the Buccini/Pollin Group, a commercial-real-estate company.
Lawyer John Bentivoglio bought a six-bedroom, six-bath Arts and Crafts-style house in Chevy Chase for $2.5 million. Bentivoglio is a partner at Skadden, where he represents pharmaceutical, medical-device, and biotechnology manufacturers.
Finance executive Arturo Brillembourg and wife Jennifer Feldman-Brillembourg, an anesthesiologist, bought a six-bedroom, six-bath Federal-style home in Georgetown for $5.4 million. Built in 1900, the brick house has a wall of glass with views of the Potomac River and the Rosslyn skyline. Brillembourg is founder of AEB Capital, a hedge fund in Arlington.
Entrepreneur Otto W. Hoernig III bought an eight-bedroom, six-bath Georgian-style home in Georgetown for $5 million. The 8,000-square-foot detached house was built in 1916. Hoernig cofounded SpaceLink International, a government contractor in Dulles that he later sold for more than $150 million. He’s now president of the Tysons telecommunications firm Trace Systems, and he also runs Casa Noble, a high-end tequila distillery in Mexico.
Health-care executive David Wheadon sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Victorian on Capitol Hill’s Maryland Avenue for $2.8 million. The 5,900-square-foot house has a wine cellar and a roof deck with views of the Capitol and the Washington Monument. Wheadon, a doctor, is head of research and advocacy at JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Businessman Richard Hanlon and wife Pamela sold a six-bedroom, nine-bath stone manor on Innsbruck Avenue in Great Falls for $7.4 million. The gated house, which had been on the market more than two years, has a wine cellar with tasting area, a theater, a music room, a gym, a pool, and a three-car garage. Built in 2007, it sits on five acres. Hanlon is a former senior vice president at AOL. Arnold & Porter trusts-and-estates lawyer Thomas W. Richardson was also listed as a seller.
Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.
This article appears in the November 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
Brilliant blue walls. A bold chevron rug. Hints of orange and red.
Vibrant hues and graphic lines make this Chevy Chase home a looker—but there’s more to the story than a striking paint choice and an eye-catching pattern. The homeowner, a New Zealand native, wanted to find an interesting way to display his collection of international art in the first-floor library. He turned to local architect Doug Pettit of Landis Construction, who, after talking with the homeowner, decided to use Dutch painter Piet Mondrian as the muse for the space.
“As we talked about possibilites, it occurred to me that we might accentuate the dimensions of this small, exposed space,” Petit says. “I pictured floor-to-ceiling shelving that frames the window as one focal point within an asymmetrical system of cubbies. The cubbies would display selected collectibles. Mondrian says, ‘To create equilibrium among such disparate elements you have to find the golden ratio.’”
In the attached dining room, local interior designer Annie Elliot of Bossy Color used bright color and graphic patterns to complement the Mondrian-influenced library. Elliot chose a chevron flatweave rug from India, black-and-white furniture, and a bold blue paint while preserving the home’s original wainscoting and white tray ceiling. The result of Pettit and Elliot’s work: Midcentury meets global, to stunning effect.
Love the look but can’t hire the pros? You can recreate this look using similar (and reasonably priced) pieces—read on for details on how to do it.