The Shakespeare Theatre Company recently closed on the purchase of a roughly one-acre plot of land to construct a support center in Southwest D.C. There are plans to demolish the former Southeastern University building at 501 I Street, SW, to construct the center, but these plans could have been haulted due to an application filed July 14, 2014 by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly to designate the building to become a Historic Landmark. In an article published by the Washington Business Journal on July 28, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly argued for the building's designation as a historic landmark due to the architect of the Southeastern University Building being Charles Goodman, adding that it's "the only private school erected in an urban renewal area in the nation." Last May, Shakespeare Theatre Company Managing Director Chris Jennings said there was no way to use the existing structure, saying, "A number of people have looked at it and not found a way to make the existing site feasible." The application was later dropped after the Shakespeare Theatre Company donated $60,000 to the assembly and promised a variety of community benefits, such as workshops for area schools. The Assembly later dropped their application.
The new support center will include rehearsal studios, a costume shop, administrative offices and market-rate housing. There will also be 25 apartments for visiting actors and directors. The Shakespeare Theatre Company will sell its office space on 8th Street, SE, but will continue to operate its two stages in Penn Quarter.
· Shakespeare Theatre Company and developer buy land in Southwest for $6.5 million for a new campus [The Washington Post]
· Attempt to landmark Hawthorne School could throw wrench into Shakespeare Theatre Company's plans [Washington Business Journal]
· Historic Preservation review Board Application for Historic Landmark or Historic District Designation [Office of Planning]