Frager’s Hardware, a Capitol Hill institution devastated by fire last year, will return to its original location in about two years as the anchor of a mixed-use development, the store announced Friday. The neighborhood shop, first opened in 1920, will reopen at Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street, Southeast, as part of a new project from Roadside Development, which is in the process of buying the fire-ravaged site.
“We learned that the fire damaged the site so severely that, even with insurance proceeds, we could not afford to rebuild the site alone,” John Weintraub, the store’s longtime owner, says in a press release.
Since the fire in June 2013 that destroyed nearly all of the 94-year-old landmark, Frager’s has spread its paint, garden, and equipment rental businesses among three Capitol Hill locations. Roadside says it will refurbish and preserve the original building’s historic façade, which was left charred but still standing after the ravaging, four-alarm blaze. The rest of the store burned to a crispy husk. Investigators later determined the fire was most likely sparked by a smoldering cigarette butt.
Roadside is experienced in turning city landmarks from rubble to new developments. The firm was responsible for transforming Shaw’s old O Street Market, which caved in after a 2003 snowstorm, into a massive new Giant supermarket capped by high-end apartments. The development on the Frager’s site will be mostly the hardware store, and Roadside says it does not plan to seek any rezoning. Construction is expected to take up to two years.