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A 12-Unit Condo Conversion Proposed for Shaw School

by Nena Perry-Brown

Existing conditions. Click to enlarge.

Is another school-to-residential conversion in the works in DC?

Architecture firm Teass|Warren has applied for historic preservation concept approval to restore the exterior of the Samuel F. B. Morse School at 440 R Street NW (map) and retrofit the interior with 12 condominium units. A historic landmark application, prepared by EHT Traceries, is pending for the property; R Street Development is the owner.

The proposed development would have a total of 8 two-bedroom, two-bathroom units across the cellar and ground floors, and another four units on the second floor and mezzanine level that have two bedrooms, a den, 2.5 baths, and loft flex space. Some of the units would have private exterior space, including each of the loft units.

Africare House, photographed in 1987. Click to enlarge.

The Morse School was originally an all-white elementary school when constructed in 1883, and in 1911, while it remained segregated, its use was dedicated to children with "social behavior problems". In 1930, the use again changed to a traditional elementary school only for Black children, but the building was deemed insufficient for school use in 1939.

Initial plans to renovate the building were not acted upon, and from the early 1950s through the 1970s, the school served on-and-off as educational space. Nonprofit Africare purchased the property from the city in 1981 and restored the building as office and event space. 

The Historic Preservation Review Board is considering the landmark and rehabilitation concept application at its September meeting.

Correction: The owner of the property was misidentified at publication and has since been corrected.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a-conversion-to-residential-proposed-for-shaw-school/17257

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