Thursday, February 18, 2010

Randall School Site Sold To Neighbors Down the Street

It appears that the Corcoran Gallery of Art's general counsel was correct when he stated at last month's ANC 6D meeting that a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) was close at hand for the Randall School site, because according to yesterday's press release from the Corcoran, a PSA worth $6.5 million was signed between the Corcoran and a partnership between Telesis Corporation (a DC-based developer) and CACB Holdings LLC (owned by the Rubell family that owns the Capitol Skyline Hotel across the street from Randall). Back in 2006, the Corcoran purchased the school site for $6.2 million with plans to turn the school building into a branch campus of their College of Art + Design and in partnership with Monument Realty build an apartment complex behind the historic school. However, after Monument's financial partner Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, the developer backed out and the Corcoran has been looking for a new partner ever since. The new plan for the Randall School site will be about the same size as the old Monument Realty proposal, but the elements of the plan will be different - there will be a mixed-use project with a contemporary art museum, hotel, and a residential building. The museum will be 20,000 square feet in size and will house the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation, which will serve as a satellite location for the Rubell Foundation's main museum in Miami, Florida. The hotel and residential building will be approximately 480,000 square feet. These changes to the plan will mean the Telesis/CACB team may have to apply for a new Planned Unit Development (PUD) - the ANC approved the extension of the old PUD last month, but still has to be approved by the Zoning Commission.

Absent from the plan is the Corcoran College of Art + Design, which was going to move to Randall School under the prior proposal. While the Corcoran will no longer move their College of Art + Design to Randall, they are actively looking in DC to expand their college (psst, there's an empty Southeastern University campus building just down I Street from Randall). In addition, the Corcoran will collaborate with the Rubell Foundation and others on exhibits and educational programming in Southwest.

I'm gathering more information about this breaking news and will pass along what I find out!

Update: Marilyn Melkonian, President of Telesis Corporation, gave Southwest...TLQTC some additional details about their plans. Melkonian says that the museum will be located in the Randall School building and at least part of the hotel will also be in the school building. As with the previous plan, the historic portions of the building will be preserved, but the additions made later on will be replaced with new construction. The number of residential units and hotel keys have not been determined yet, but the Telesis/CACB team will work within the approved FAR envelope of 480,000 square feet. There is the potential that the residential units could be hotel-affiliated, which means some hotel services could be available to residents. Construction is scheduled to start in 18-24 months, however, an architect has not been selected yet.

Update #2: And it looks like the Corcoran isn't considering Southwest as a location for its College of Art + Design, according to the WBJ.

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