Housing Complex

City Offers Up Franklin School for Development

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The Franklin School, located at 13th and K Streets NW

The Franklin School seems destined to become a boutique hotel. It's gorgeous. It's right downtown, almost equi-distance from the convention center and the White House. It looks out across a leafy park.

You can already envision the lobbyists strolling out the front door after dining at whatever celebrity chef-driven bistro ends up there.

Who knows? But it almost happened once. And, it's a real possibility again: the city has issued a request for proposals to redevelop the Franklin School, after making the building available only to charter schools last Spring.

The Franklin School RFP states: "Highly-qualified development teams with experience in planning, financing, building, and operating small to medium scale mixed-use, commercial, hotel, residential, or retail use development projects and experience in working with community stakeholders are strongly encouraged to respond to this RFP."

Homeless advocates have long pushed back against plans to convert the building, which was used as a shelter until last September.

A few months ago, two charter schools applied to move into the Franklin School building, but "we vetted those proposals. We didn't find any of them to be viable," says Sean Madigan, spokesperson for the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Just yesterday, I wrote about the homeless advocates still pushing to re-open the Franklin School as a shelter. Since the remaining homeless residents were booted out of the building, the Committee to Save Franklin Shelter and former residents filed two lawsuits against the city:  One in D.C. Superior Court, and the  other in federal court. The later suit alleges that the closure of the shelter is part of a larger trend of forcing the city’s homeless to the outer, poorest edges of Washington D.C.