Roadside Development & Sorg Architects to lead the redevelopment of the Grimke School (again)

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

From a press release:

“Today Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) announced the selection of Roadside Development & Sorg Architects to lead the redevelopment of the Grimke School and 912 U Street NW in Ward 1.

The project was originally awarded to Roadside & Sorg Architects last year, but was part of the Administration’s top to bottom review and renegotiated by the Bowser Administration. The project will now have three times as many affordable housing units as originally planned.

“Creating pathways to the middle class means integrating more affordable housing in each project,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “Grimke School is a great example of how smart development can add to the vibrancy of a neighborhood by broadening arts and cultural amenities.”

The team assembled an proposal for rehabilitation of the site grounded in building a new culture and arts destination in the heart of the U Street corridor. The proposal includes new exhibition space for the African-American Civil War Museum, shared performance and office space for Step Afrika!, CityDance, Imagination Stage, and Dance USA, as well as new affordable and market rate housing.

“I am excited to move forward with the redevelopment of the Grimke School, a neighborhood project that will contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of the District,” Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner said. “The Roadside & Sorg team put together a very thoughtful plan to complement our growing U Street corridor and support our local retail and creative economies.”

The Roadside/Sorg development proposal includes over 13,000 square feet for the African American Civil War Museum, over 20,000 sf of office space for creative businesses, 7,500 sf of performing arts space, 42 new units of housing (13 affordable), and over 3,300 sf of retail. The key difference between the proposal that was awarded in December and this new proposal is the number of affordable housing units. The previous proposal would have only generated 4 units of affordable housing out of 44 units compared to the new development plan that will include 13 affordable units out 42 units.

“Along with our partners, Sorg Architects, we are excited to join the District in expanding arts, culture and affordable housing opportunities for our city. With our team members, the African American Civil War Museum, Step Afrika!, CityDance, Imagination Stage, and Dance USA, we will restore the Grimke School into a vibrant arts and culture destination that will enrich the neighborhood for generations to come,” said Jeff Edelstein, Partner at Roadside Development.

The Grimke School is located at 1923 Vermont Avenue, NW and is a contributing building to the U Street Historic District. The DUKE Land Development Framework of 2009 recommended museum space, office space for cultural organizations, and active retail uses to encourage day time activity for District residents and visitors.

In its Request for Proposals, the District sought a development team to rehabilitate the Grimke School, the 14,000 sf back lot of the school parcel, and a small parcel at the corner of 9 ½ Street NW and U Street.

Roadside Development has completed several projects in the District including City Market at O in Shaw and Cityline at Tenley in Tenleytown. Sorg Architects is a long-time resident of the U Street corridor and is currently working on a new multi-use project at 10th and V Streets NW.”

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

7 Comment

  • It’s great that this unit will have a few more ADUs, but 9 units is really a drop in the bucket and they’ve now delayed this project by at least a year. If the DC government stopped obstructing construction of multi-family units the market would deliver more units faster and prices would lower naturally. More units will also increase the size of the tax base for the city.
    These nine units are a small win but the overall strategy is a loser.

    • Silly to think that the Bowser/Nadeau Twins would actually understand the laws of supply and demand. Cute, but silly. And both will chock those 9 units up to 9 more votes in the next election. A deeply cynical way to operate as a politician.

      • It’s also a really inefficient way of collecting votes. They’re counting how many times they can say they increased affordable housing in the next election.

  • “Sorg Architects is a long-time resident of the U Street corridor and is currently working on a new multi-use project at 10th and V Streets NW.” I’m pretty sure that is a reference to the STILL undeveloped church that was a horses ass nominee, right?

  • The neighborhood supported Three/Torti Gallas….Sorg’s design is large and will tower over the existing houses on Vermont and 9 1/2 St.

  • I am thrilled to see the overall increase in affordable units, but as a neighbor to the project, the increase in overall residential units is alarming. The original plan called for a total of 48 units (44 market rate and 4 affordable housing units), while the new plan jumps to 55 total units)! I hope the developers keep their word and restrict any new construction in 9 1/2 Street to the height of the current building.

    As for Mayor Bowser, she had the opportunity to support the neighborhood’s well researched, polled and presented choice. Instead she opted to support a larger developer even with a 14% increase in overall residential units. This is a clear demonstration of a mayor who lacks a sense of community.

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