Historic Franklin School to be redeveloped as museum

WASHINGTON — The historic Franklin School at 13th and K streets Northwest, will be redeveloped as an interactive language arts museum and education space, if the latest proposal goes through.

Franklin School, built in 1869 and vacant since 2008, has seen a number of redevelopment proposals come and go through the administrations of three different mayors.

The latest agreement between developers and the city gives development rights to Ann B. Friedman and Dantes Partners to lead the redevelopment of the three-story building into “Planet Word,” and will include exhibition areas, an auditorium, restaurant and classroom space.

The $30 million project will also create a fourth level by using below-grade space.

Ann and Thomas Friedman had been developing plans for a language arts museum for three years, according to the District’s announcement of the development agreement.

Planet Word will be free to the public. If development goes as planned, it will open by winter 2019.

“Developing the Franklin School into an interactive language center gives visitors and residents a unique experience, adds to the cultural fabric of our downtown, and is a great fit for the District’s growing creative economy,” said DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner in announcing the Planet Word agreement.

Franklin School has been pitched as a number of previous developments that never materialized, including an art gallery and a hotel.

You can read about the vision for Planet Word on its website.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the Franklin School is at 13th and K streets.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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