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GU Hopes for Music, Performing Arts Center in Franklin School

[Before photo by Bill Lebovich/After rendering of the previously planned Institute for Contemporary Expression]

In February 2014, EastBanc won the bid to transform the 1869-built Franklin School into an art museum, dubbed the Institute for Contemporary Expression. The developer's plans were to also build a bookstore, cafe, and classrooms inside the building. In February 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser canceled plans for the conversion after barely a month in office. According to Mayoral spokesman Joaquin McPeek, there were concerns on the project's viability. This past May, the Washington Business Journal reported that five firms were bidding to renovate the 51,000-square-foot school. The firms included Thoron Capital, Friedman Capital Advisors, Dantes Partners, Aria Development, and CoStar Group Inc. The firms' proposals included a center for technology research and development, a hotel, and a commercial office building. Just recently, The Washington Post reported that Georgetown University officials believe that a center for music and performing arts is the best re-use of the building. The project would also include a restaurant facing 13th Street NW, a rear courtyard for performances, and a performing arts center. Bowser hopes to begin construction in late 2017. The Franklin School has been been utilized as a homeless shelter, a lab for telecommunications breakthroughs, and a focal point for an Occupy D.C. protest. In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell sent the first wireless communication in the building with a Photophone. The Franklin School was named a National Historic Landmark in 1996. In 2008, the building was shuttered and has remained vacant and dilapidated ever since.

· Neighbors back plan to turn Franklin School into Georgetown University center for the performing arts [The Washington Post]
· Bowser sacks deal for art museum at Franklin School [The Washington Post]
· Five firms bid to transform D.C.'s historic Franklin School [Washington Business Journal]
· A Look at the Franklin School in 1930s and Today [Curbed DC]
· It's Official: The Franklin School Will Become an Art Museum [Curbed DC]