We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
An empty school in Ivy City that was founded in 1911 and served the District’s black students until 1972 is slated to become a community center surrounded by more than 300 apartment units, industrial space, and businesses.
On Wednesday, the District announced its selection of development team Ivy City Partners—composed of The Jarvis Company, Stonebridge Carras, and ProFish—to spearhead the transformation of the unused 108,000-square-foot Crummell School site in Ward 5. The neglected building and associated land south of New York Avenue NE, between Gallaudet and Okie streets, have been unused for more than three decades as nearby Hecht Warehouse has been converted into luxury apartments and retail, a key component in the anticipated revitalization of Ivy City.
With the District’s blessing, Ivy City Partners will create 320 rentals ranging from studios to two-bedrooms (over 60 of which will be affordable), 22,000 square feet of retail, and 35,000 square feet to be occupied by ProFish, a seafood company that has its headquarters on Fenwick Street NE. Some of the apartments will have townhouse-style facades. The site will feature a garden, “working farm,” and restaurant on Okie of roughly 5,000 square feet.
D.C. will continue to own the Crummell School building itself, which the developers will refurbish for community uses, including a daycare center, health clinic, culinary school, and recreation, according to DMPED. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5D—which covers the site—voted in majority support of the team’s plans last month.
“We’re very excited about working with the community to make the vision for the renovation of the Crummell School site become a reality,” says N. William Jarvis, managing principal of The Jarvis Company. Preliminary cost estimates for the Crummell School renovation hover around $14 million, with $1 million for interior redesign.
The selection followed a competitive bidding process organized by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, headed by Brian Kenner. It’s one of a few District-owned sites that has relied on a community outreach process dubbed “OurRFP.” Ivy City Partners was one of three teams to apply for the project.
But not all of those teams are pleased with the outcome. Parisa Norouzi, executive director of advocacy group Empower DC—which submitted an all-affordable-housing proposal along with W.C. Smith, City First Enterprises, and other entities—says her organization is “deeply disappointed, though not entirely surprised, that the Mayor’s OurRFP process proves to be nothing but a re-branding of the typical undemocratic, nontransparent, pro-gentrification decision-making process we have seen for years.” DMPED held community meetings about the project starting in 2015. Norouzi says the chosen proposal “over-develops” the site and “crowds” outdoor space.
“We gave the city the opportunity to do something different,” she adds. “It is truly sad that our city leadership lacks the vision to use public land like Crummell for community development that serves the people left out by the private market.” The team advocated for a land trust to direct the future use of the Crummell School building.
The site is still months away from any construction work: For one, it has to be rezoned to allow for residential use. In a statement, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the plans satisfy her administration’s priorities for “affordable housing, small business growth, and job opportunities that generate revenues we can invest back into … neighborhoods.”
Also on Wednesday, DMPED announced its selection of Parcel 42 Partners—consisting of Ditto Residential and Irving Development—to redevelop a vacant 17,000-square-foot lot at 7th and R streets NW in Shaw, across from the neighborhood’s library and Metro station. The project will include 118 residential units, up to three bedrooms large. There will be an outdoor park and 8,000 square feet of retail as well. Groundbreaking is expected in 2018.