Sunday, March 18, 2012

Randall School Developers Seek Extension

At last Monday's ANC 6D meeting, Marilyn Melkonian from Telesis came before the commissioners to request their support in extending the PUD for the Randall School project at Half and I Streets.  The Telesis/Rubell team have yet to submit their own PUD for the project, so the extension is for the original plans when the site was owned by the Corcoran and Monument Realty. The Telesis/Rubell team agreed to purchase the site from the Corcoran in 2010, but the sale closed only a few months ago. Telesis is putting together the programming, financing, and design of the project and hopes to start construction in 2013 with completion in 2015-16. While the project is still in the design phase, some particulars were revealed during the presentation. Below is a massing study done on the project by Bing Thom Architects that was presented at the meeting.  

The model shows the three heritage buildings that will remain along with two residential buildings with a total of approximately 400 units that will rise up to 110 feet behind. Of the 400 units, 20% will be set aside as affordable housing for households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). A boutique hotel was also planned previously, but it was determined that it was not financially feasible, so the residential component was increased. It's envisioned that the modern art museum that will house the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation will be located within the heritage buildings. In addition, a restaurant may be placed in the easternmost heritage building. A new mid-block east-west street will be created behind the heritage buildings to remove some traffic off of I Street, but deliveries will primarily occur on H Street. With the removal of the newer wings of the Randall School, the back of the heritage buildings will be exposed and the development team is still contemplating whether to build townhouse units alongside the rear of the heritage buildings or retail spaces. A courtyard will be created behind the central heritage building that will be open to the public.  Ms. Melkonian said she hopes the entire project will be built in one phase starting in 2013, but the residential buildings could be done in two phases.  While the residential buildings are currently planned as apartments, it's possible that one of the buildings could be done as condos if built in phases and depending on market conditions. Regardless of when the residential buildings are completed, the modern art museum will be done in the first phase.

The ANC voted to support the PUD extension 6-1 after agreeing to rescind their prior disapproval 5-1-1 when no one from the Telesis team came to the February ANC meeting. Next, the Telesis/Rubell team will meet with the Zoning Commission on March 21 to seek the PUD extension.

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