Housing Complex

This Is How the Franklin School Could Soon Look

Over the past century and a half, the Franklin School on 13th Street NW has served as a school, a homeless shelter, an Occupy D.C. staging ground, and a near-hotel twice. Now we can take a look at four possibilities for the next incarnation of the ornate, crumbling 1869 downtown building.

On Oct. 30, the four developers who made the city's not-so-short list to revamp the property—it consisted of all four teams that were interested—presented their plans to the public. Here, briefly, are the four proposals, with renderings.

First up: the CoStar Group. The IT firm wants to use the Franklin School as its "primary global technology research and development center." The company promises to employ 150 software engineers and data scientists there, to occupy the building for the next 50 years, and to pay for the full cost of renovating the historic landmark. Here's what its plans look like:





Next came Douglas Development, in partnership with Antunovich Associates and EHT Traceries. The prolific D.C. developer envisions a boutique hotel called The Benjamin, with ground-floor and penthouse restaurants and luxury amenities. It'd look something like this:



The third presentation featured the proposed Institute for Contemporary Expression, from a partnership of EastBanc and Campbell & Company. The institute would be led by art collector Dani Levinas and would become a contemporary arts center and "international cultural destination." Here are a couple of renderings. (The first is a cross-section, not a depiction of a museum completely exposed to the elements.)



Finally, there's the so-called Digital District from Lowe Enterprises, Bundy Development Corporation, and DC Innovates. It would be a "digital economy based ecosystem in the heart of Washington, D.C.," according to the presentation, and would include office and residential components:




The city expects to select a development team in January, so we'll soon know which of these four designs is likely to become a reality.

Renderings from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

  • HillmanDC

    I would imagine the hotel would bring in the most tax revenue.

    But I could be wrong about that.

  • Dave

    CoStar's plan is the worst. Moving its HQ building one block (from 13th & L St. to 13th & K) isn't going to bring anything worthwhile to the city. Other articles on the four proposals talked about how it would bring technology here or something silly like that, but again, it's one block away.

  • Rebecca

    I'm disappointed that these have so few tangible, direct public benefits - jobs and taxes are good, but for something that was a school and a shelter, we could really use some public services and accessible space!

  • Bill


    Who would pay for the school and or shelter? I already think, as a DC resident, taxes are outrageous. Let the private sector come in, revamp the property, and create jobs.

  • Matt

    Dave - Just an FYI, CoStar would be expanding, not moving. Source: I work for them

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  • http://www.styled4u.org Katorra

    So excited about this project, so worth my tax dollars!

  • zita rudolph

    I would like to meet Dani Levanis in hopes of being interviewed for a possible job.
    Thank you,