Major H Street Developer Has Buchanan School Near SE Safeway Under Contract

Buchanan School/International Graduate University, 13th and D Streets, SE, Across From Watkins Field and Backing Up to SE Safeway

Buchanan School/International Graduate University, 13th and D Streets, SE, Across From Watkins Field and Backing Up to SE Safeway

The O

Major H Street Developer Has Buchanan School near SE Safeway Under Contract

Residences Planned for Site – Community Meeting Tuesday Night

by Larry Janezich

(Update:  Go here to see Insight’s plan for developing site.)

Insight Property Group has the Buchanan School at 13th and D Streets, SE, under contract and hopes to preserve and enhance the historic structures which date to 1895 and raze the newer additions to make way for a series of new townhouses fronting D and 13th Streets, SE.  The historic building on the 92,899 square foot site – which lies just outside the Capitol Hill Historic District – would be converted to residential units.

According to a company spokesperson, no mixed use is anticipated for the project at this time.  The plan would provide for redevelopment of part of the site by right – building within the R-4 residential zoning regulations.  The company would seek zoning relief for part of the project to permit frontage of townhomes on D and 13th Streets.

Although the company has not yet purchased the property, if the deal does go though, the company hopes to start construction in the first quarter of next year, and complete the project in two years.

Insight Property Group is the developer behind the Apollo H Street project at 600 H Street, NE, a mixed use project with 432 rental apartments and retail that will feature the H Street Whole Foods.  Work began on the project in September, 2014.

No word yet where the Peter Bug ‘s Shoe Repair Academy which occupies the site’s corner at 13th and E fits into the plan.

Buchanan School was purchased for some $1.5 million in 1998 by Walter Boek, who established the International Graduate University (IGU) there – an institution which never became fully functional.  Boek battled the DC government for years over the non-profit status he claimed for IGU which was at odds with what the city thought he owed in taxes.   After Boek died in 2012, the property has been under control of the IGU Board of Directors.

Insight Property Group will host a community meeting to talk with nearby residents and other interested parties about their ideas for redevelopment of the site.  The meeting will be Tuesday, April 21, at 7:00pm, at Hill Center.


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13 responses to “Major H Street Developer Has Buchanan School Near SE Safeway Under Contract

  1. ET

    I am not surprised someone has expressed interest in this property. I am surprised it took this long. I do wonder how this project and the one across the street on E St. will impact the neighborhood.

    I suspect that Peterbug is not long for the neighborhood and I suspect there will be many who won’t be too upset with that. I am not one however.

    • anon

      I’ll be curious to see how the new residents react to the tailgating on 13th street during peewee football season. Doesn’t bode well for Peter Bug either

  2. Mark

    I’ve had my work shoes repaired at Peter Bug’s many times. Great work at a great price.

  3. RD

    It would be nice to see some retail on such a big lot. Frager’s, the Pretzel Bakery, and Curbside Cupcakes have certainly shown the Hill East neighborhood is large enough to support small businesses.

    • ET

      I honestly don’t think even with all of the new developments within walking distance that are in the works, that this particular spot would be good for a small business – at least not one that relies on walk-in/foot traffic. Curbside is now open just Friday-Sunday, there is that new commercial spot catty corner to this that is for lease (I had seen something about a coffee place but if there is a sign up then I guess that fell through), the place on 15th and D in that new building may not have a tenant, and there is retail on Penn that hasn’t been filled.

      • Justin

        Actually, a 7-11 or corner store could do well there with all the Watkins Rec Center traffic. Though I doubt that this is what the neighbors want to hear.

      • anon

        the 1200+ blocks of Penn would be far more appropriate for retail than the largely residential area surrounding IGU and Watkins (Safeway aside, and there’s been talk of that lot being redeveloped for some time). the industrial stretch of 1300 E is even shifting towards residential and Penn is literally 2 blocks south. Its commercial potential is largely unrealized.

      • Hill Feller

        I’m with anon and others on this: I love the corner bodega model (there are a ton on the Hill if you pay attention) but don’t see it being successful here w/ Safeway so close.

        Looking further ahead, as soon as the 1200 block of PA Ave does get developed, it’s going to connect east and west Capitol Hill along the PA Ave axis which would be really exciting. We kind of a barbell development pattern right now w/ the 1200 block right in the middle.

  4. Hill Feller

    Great news! More density means more retail means a more interesting Capitol Hill. Bring on the density!

    Now, if you ask me, the IGU is only half the story: how much you wanna bet that the Safeway gets redeveloped at the same time in the same way as the Georgetown “Social Safeway”? That is, parking underneath, a second story Safeway, and then residences up above? That huge parking lot and one-story building is far far far from the highest and best use for that centrally located property.

    I keep thinking that the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Ave SE is going to get developed but now it looks like Frager’s has pretty much moved in (though the structures are obviously not permanent). But there’s enough action elsewhere on the Hill that maybe there isn’t huge demand for that parcel.


    • Justin

      That block of Pennsylvania is tied up with the dispute over the “Shotgun House” on E St.

      • Hill Feller

        Yes, but the owner has still made a few stabs at developing it but the math just doesn’t work.

        The shotgun house, the 1200 block, and now the burned out Frager’s building: how long are we going to put up with preservation rules and preservation crazies that impose economically impossible hurdles on owners trying to build something that the community actually wants?


  5. Pingback: Capitol Hill School to Be Converted into Residential Units | RealTrendsDC

  6. Michael N

    Peter Bug operates on a parcel that belongs to the city. The redevelopment of the Buchanan school does not impact that corner building in which he operates.