Lowe Acquires Former School Site in Washington, D.C., Plans 500,000 SF Art Museum-Anchored Development

by Kristin Harlow

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lowe, a national real estate investor, developer and manager, has acquired the former Randall School site at 65 I St. SW in Washington, D.C. Lowe plans to redevelop the 2.7-acre site into a 500,000-square-foot mixed-use project featuring a contemporary art museum.

Lowe had first come on as partner for the project in 2017 but is now assuming control of the development from TRSW, a partnership between Telesis Corp., a national affordable housing developer, and the Rubell family, long-standing collectors and patrons of the arts.

Lowe intends for the project to create an arts and cultural anchor in the Southwest neighborhood. The designated Arts District will provide a second home for the Miami-based Rubell Family Collection, an internationally acclaimed contemporary art collection that draws visitors from around the world, according to Mark Rivers, executive vice president at Lowe.

At the core of the project is the restoration and repositioning of the school’s three buildings, of which two will be transformed into an approximately 31,000-square-foot art museum housing the Rubell Family Collection. Entry to the museum will be free of charge to all residents of the District.

The West Randall building will be reconfigured as an 18,000-square-foot creative office building designed to attract nonprofits, arts and technology incubators, and coworking businesses.

Plans for new development at the site include a 12-story apartment building. Of the 480 units, 98 will be designated as affordable housing. The design calls for open space with a nearly one-acre park.

Construction of the new building as well as the existing properties is expected to begin in 2020.

Randall School closed in 1978 and later served as a homeless shelter and artist studio. Redevelopment of the school has been long in the making. Lowe acquired the property from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which had its own redevelopment plans that never materialized.

Los Angeles-based Lowe, formerly known as Lowe Enterprises, established its Washington, D.C. office in 1980. The firm’s signature projects in the D.C. area include The Hepburn apartment development, the Fort Trotten Square mixed-use project, the 700,000-square-foot National Science Foundation headquarters building, The George apartment tower and the CityVista mixed-use project. Lowe currently manages nearly 3 million square feet of commercial property in metro Washington, D.C.

— Kristin Hiller

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