The Corcoran College of Art and Design may have found a suitor for its project at the Randall Junior High School at 65 I Street, SW, after more than three years of setbacks. An announcement could come as soon as March, when Corcoran will have to renew their approved development plan with the Zoning Commission. Until that time the community will have to continue their long wait for new development at a neighborhood eyesore.
Kristin Guiter, Manager of Media Relations for the Corcoran, would only confirm that "the Corcoran has entered into negotiations with a potential development partner."
That's great news for a development project that has faced uncertainty since the Corcoran purchased the 50-year-old, 80,000 s.f. middle school from the District government in November, 2006, for a reported $6.2 million dollars.
No news yet on who the new mystery developer might be or what changes might happen to the previous designs by Shalom Baranes Architects. Guiter says that "at this point, we are not prepared to release details since an agreement has not been signed."
Originally, the Corcoran had hoped to convert the school into a combination of apartments, studios, classroom, and display space. But when its partnership with Monument Realty dissolved last spring, plans for two nine-story residential towers with 420 units of housing and 100,000 s.f. of college facilities were scrapped.
ANC 6D Commissioner David Sobelsohn said "we in the community are anxious to get this project underway. We're very concerned that this building has been sitting vacant and empty all this time." Sobelsohn added that the ANC voted unanimously on Monday to support the Corcoran's efforts to be granted a two year PUD extension with the Zoning Commission on "the condition that various community benefits agreed upon in 2007" remain intact in any new agreements. The ANC Commissioner noted that the new developer will likely be announced once the PUD is extended. "The development partner probably wants to be sure that the PUD is in place," said Sobelsohn. Corcoran is not yet on the Zoning Commission calendar for PUD extension.
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