Apparently spurred by the raze permit that was applied for the former Southeastern University campus building at 501 I Street a couple months ago, SWNA filed a historic landmark application for the property. According to the landmark application, the building was first constructed in 1948 for the Metropolitan Police Boys Club No. 4 with a brick exterior in a smaller footprint than its current state. The building was one of the few that survived urban renewal. Then in 1961, The Hawthorne School (a private co-ed high school) purchased the building, expanded it to the north & south, and clad it in concrete in a brutalist design done by Charles Goodman, the same architect that designed River Park Cooperative Homes. Eventually, declining enrollment and financial difficulties at the school caused the sale of the property to Southeastern University, which operated at the site until 2009.
Currently, the campus is owned by Graduate School USA and is vacant. The campus is under contract to the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) who has plans to joint venture with developer Erkiletian and build actor and apprentice housing, along with rehearsal and performance space, costume and set equipment storage, education classrooms, and the administrative headquarters for the Company. A zoning change would be needed for the property in order to build what STC has initially planned, a nine-story building with approximately 155 residential units and 70 garage spaces. A historic landmark designation for the property would most likely alter or scuttle STC’s plans.
SWNA will be hosting a neighborhood forum on 501 I Street this Monday, July 28 at Arena Stage, starting at 7pm.