Team picked to redevelop the historic Grimke School at 1923 Vermont Ave, NW and lot at 912 U Street, NW

1923 Vermont Avenue, NW (just south of U Street)

And here’s the final big news from Friday:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the selection of Roadside Development LLC and Sorg Architects to redevelop the historic Grimke School at 1923 Vermont Avenue NW and an adjacent District-owned parcel at 912 U Street NW.

“I am delighted that we have selected a team that will preserve the Grimke School as a historic anchor in the U Street/Shaw area while also creating a world-class home for the African-American Civil War Museum and a new arts-and-cultural center for the District,” said Mayor Gray. “This team’s vision for Grimke will further boost U Street’s vibrant cultural amenities.”

The Roadside-Sorg team will rehabilitate the historic school building, while transforming it into mix of uses which include a permanent home for the African-American Civil War Museum, space for a number of non-profit performing-arts organizations, and commercial office space. The remainder of the school lot will be developed into townhomes while the lot at 912 U Street will be developed into condominiums and ground-floor, neighborhood-serving retail space. Roadside/Sorg’s proposal includes a diverse mix of uses and will create approximately 125 jobs in the area. This will promote daytime use of the site, which will complement the already burgeoning food and entertainment district in the area.

“With the completion of this selection process, we are now a step closer to revitalizing the Grimke School site and giving it a new life,” said Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Jeffrey Miller. “It will create new jobs and tax revenue for the District, a collaborative hub for arts and cultural organizations, and a new attraction for residents and tourists.”

The Grimke School was built in 1887 as the Phelps School and re-named in 1934 after Archibald Grimke, a highly regarded civil-rights activist, journalist, lawyer, and intellectual who also served as president of the NAACP’s Washington chapter, vice president of the national NAACP and as U.S. Consul to the Dominican Republic. The school is a contributing building to the U Street Historic District. This designation provides protection and a review process to ensure respectful treatment of the architectural character of the building. The school building was most recently used by the District’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Corrections, but is now vacant. The District’s goal is to restore the building to showcase the unique site and pay homage to its history. The lot at 912 U Street NW is improved with a surface parking lot and operates as a flea market on the weekends.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) in June of 2014. Responses were received in August and community presentations were made in October. As part of the first steps of the disposition process, the District will commence negotiations with the selected team over the next several weeks.”

912 U Street, NW (just east of Vermont Ave)

6 Comment

  • Blithe

    I’m pleased that this project is moving forward. My dad was the principal at this school for many years, so for personal as well as historical reasons, I’m glad that the building will be maintained and that the space will be used for some programs that will benefit the community.

  • I wonder if this is going to take over 6 years as the yet uncompleted church that Sorg owns at 10&V street.

  • Couldn’t agree more with the previous poster. While I’m excited to hear about this project, it would be nice if Sorg could simply make progress on the abandoned church at 10th and V st. I think we’re at four years now with a “temporary” chain link fence surrounding a property that continues to attract garbage and graffiti.

  • Those who choose to live in the units directly next to Nellie’s better work night shifts.

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