Friday, November 22, 2013

Randall School Project Moving Forward


At Monday’s ANC 6D meeting, the commissioners unanimously gave qualified support to the latest plans for the Randall School site redevelopment at Half and I streets. A few outstanding items still need to be spelled out, including a community benefits package and a construction management plan. Also this week, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) gave unanimous approval to the planned unit development. A contemporary art museum will be located in the original 1906 center building - the first floor of the museum will be used as a community cultural space that’s open to the public, with a library, café, an art gallery featuring local artists, auditorium, and meeting space. Other arts-related uses will be located in the west wing – perhaps a culinary school. A restaurant with outdoor seating will be in the east wing (both wings were built in 1927). Behind the center building, a new three-story addition will house additional exhibition space for the art museum.  Two 12-story towers with 550 residential units will wrap behind the historic buildings and courtyard. 

Some changes were made to the plans from the original PUD submission that were recommended by the HPRB. For instance, curved windows were added to the residential addition, as well as more balconies and transparent bridges between the wings of the residential buildings. In addition, a glass façade has been added that will connect the historic central building to the 3-story museum addition so the back of the historic building will be visible. In the front of the building, the balustrade will be restored and the retaining wall will be replaced with a historically appropriate curb. The sidewalk will slope downwards toward the entrance to the central building while the sidewalk will slope upwards to the other two I Street buildings.

The Telesis/Rubell team will meet with the Zoning Commission on December 2nd.  At the ANC meeting, Marilyn Melkonian from Telesis stated that once the development team gets approval from the Zoning Commission, that construction may begin in 2014. The first phase includes the historic buildings, museum addition, and one of the residential buildings.

Rendering courtesy of Bayer, Blinder, Belle

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