City Paper Widget

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ANC2F Weighs in on Franklin School Proposals

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle voted to endorse two proposals to convert the long-vacant Franklin School (13th and K Streets NW) to other use. One endorsed proposal is for an art gallery space called the Institute of Contemporary Expression (ICE). The other is for a boutique hotel to be called "the Benjamin".

The Franklin School was built in 1869.
There are four proposals total -- see November 1 SALM blog post. ANC2F's input was solicited by the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development (DMPED) without guidelines, so the ANC could endorse all, some, or none of the proposals.

The motion to endorse the gallery and hotel proposals was put forward by Commissioner Matt Connolly (district 08). The Franklin School is in Connolly's district.

The two proposals favored by Connolly are the two proposals that would result in the Franklin School continuing to be open to the public in some form. ANC2F Commissioners agreed it was important that the community have access to the building, and their letter to the DMPED will emphasize the importance of public access.

However, according to ANC2F's web site: "The letter will commend all four redevelopment proposals and express the Commission’s support for whatever decision DMPED makes."

Some of the other Commissioners expressed preferences that did not exactly match Connolly's. Commissioner Walt Cain (district 02) was partial to the hotel proposal over the others, while Commissioner Chris Linn (district 03) thought there might not be a market for more boutique hotel rooms.

During the discussion that followed, between the Commissioners and later Commissioners and the public, there was some fear aired that "we might end up with another white elephant" if the project were not properly financed. Connolly said he had looked at the proposal and was satisfied that the funding plans for the projects were sound.

In the end, the other Commissioners deferred to Connolly's analysis and voted for his proposal without modification.

The unanimous decision occurred at ANC2F's monthly meeting of December 4.

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