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Capitol Hill Schoolhouse-to-Residential Conversion Gets Approval

by Tianna Mañón

Capitol Hill Schoolhouse-to-Residential Conversion Gets Approval: Figure 1
A rendering of the townhouses in the redevelopment of the Buchanan School.

The Board of Zoning Adjustment gave the final nod to a proposal to redevelop an old Capitol Hill school into a condo and townhouse project on Tuesday morning.

Insight Property Group and Federal Capital Partners have plans to redevelop the Buchanan School at at 1325 D Street SE (map) into a project with approximately 70 condos and rowhouses. The development team sought variances from lot occupancy and width requirements, and the limitation on the number of principal buildings allowed on the site so that the team could construct 34 of the rowhouses. The remaining residences can be constructed by right.

“I think this is generally a good project,” said Commissioner Robert Miller, who focused on the project’s landscaping and public walkways in Tuesday’s discussion. He seconded Chairperson Lloyd J. Jordan’s motion to approve the project’s variances.

Capitol Hill Schoolhouse-to-Residential Conversion Gets Approval: Figure 2
The development will have a focus on pedestrian use.

Most of the planned residences will have three or four bedrooms, and developers said in their statement that they’re hoping to assist with the increased demand for family-friendly and larger units in the city. They also said they intend to design the homes with a focus on the existing facades to ensure the new residences blend in with the neighborhood. Maurice Walters Architects, SK&I Architects and Quinn Evans Architects are the architects for the project.

Capitol Hill Schoolhouse-to-Residential Conversion Gets Approval: Figure 3
An overhead look at the proposed project shows alleyways and how the buildings are spaced.

The site will feature parking as well. A drive leads into the “complex” and branches off into alleys that then leads to homes with tuck-under parking. There will also be a walkway dubbed Buchanan Walk that will snake through the complex and connect to nearby streets.

Capitol Hill Schoolhouse-to-Residential Conversion Gets Approval: Figure 4
Another rendering of the proposed development.

the redevelop the Buchanan School

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/board_approves_variances_for_school-to-condos_development/10145

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 8:41 pm on Tuesday July 21, 2015:
    The exterior design captures the early-Depression character of a lot of Hill East rowhouses quite exactingly. Window sizes and proportions, brickwork, little mansard roofs -- looks like the architect did his/her homework and studied the precedent buildings carefully. Similar care is seen in the site planning (I note that the driveway cut-through is placed to reveal the one and only Palladian window of the existing building--a nice, smart touch!), and in the gable roofs used to disguise access to roof decks. EYA could learn from this to reduce the clunkiness of their product, which is very similar. Given the obvious competence being demonstrated, is it churlish to be disappointed that the scheme is so...very...DULL? The excitement high point, based on these renderings, is the shade of gray chosen for the corner townhouse! Makes me miss the portion of the school slated for demolition. Even though it fronts the street with an egregiously poorly proportioned pediment, at least it isn't boring. C'mon, architects -- surely at least one of the 3 of you has the talent to spice things up without sacrificing what's good here!

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