We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
For years, city planners have eyed the exposed brick and high ceilings of the Franklin School in downtown D.C. and dreamed of populating the long-abandoned building with deep-pocketed taxpayers. But for the next few months, the building will host tenants not typically catered to by the Williams Administration: Since January, the 52,000-square-foot historic landmark, designed by D.C.-architecture heavyweight Adolf Cluss and valued at more than $4 million, has served as an emergency homeless shelter. Last week, in a meeting with advocates and service providers, city officials announced plans to extend the arrangement until the end of the fiscal year, in September. Chet Grey, director of homeless services for the Downtown Business Improvement District, says he was surprised by the decision. Despite the site’s prime location and beautiful exterior renovation, the building’s interior lacks many basic amenities. “It’s not handicapped-accessible,” Grey says, “and there aren’t any showers.” Felix Gillette