Thursday, April 23, 2009

Corcoran Seeking New Developer for Vacant Southwest School


One of the District’s many vacant school sites will be remaining empty for the foreseeable future, now that the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Monument Realty have parted ways over the mixed-use redevelopment of the Randall Junior High School in Southwest DC. The split, which occurred last August after financial backing evaporated, has led the Corcoran back to square one in their attempt to convert the 800,000 square foot property at 65 I Street, SW, into two nine-story residential towers with 420 units of housing and 100,000 square feet of new college facilities. Now Corcoran will need find another development team up to the task. The school had intended to occupy the rebuilt space by 2011.

"The Corcoran is currently entertaining proposals for the building, but we’re as of now trying to move forward," said Kristin Guiter, Manager of Media Relations for the Corcoran. "We’re just trying to find an appropriate partner."

The college purchased the 50-year-old middle school from the District government in 2006 for a reported $6.2 million dollars. After teaming up Monument and Shalom Baranes Architects for the redevelopment initiative, Corcoran officials had planned to sell the site to the development team for an estimated $8.2 million, while retaining a condo interest in the property. Suffice it to say, the sale never occurred and full control of the Randall School still rests with the college.

In the meantime, Corcoran higher-ups continue to vet candidates from the DC development community for the project. Guiter tells DCmud that college currently hopes to retain the Shalom Baranes designs left over from the Monument era, but even that – along with many other details concerning the project’s future - is far from a certainty.

“It’s hard to say at this moment how we’ll move forward because of the economy and the current financial situation. It’s all TBD,” she said. “The Board is looking at proposals and we haven’t found the right partner yet, so it hard to say [when construction might begin].”

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