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Mayor Bowser Celebrates Reimagined Grimke School as New Housing and Renovated African American Civil War Museum

Thursday, October 17, 2019
As Part of #DCHousingWeek, Mayor Promotes Inclusive Growth to Create Housing and Preserve History

(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of #DCHousingWeek, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau celebrated the start of construction on the redevelopment of the former Grimke School, a mixed-use site in Ward 1 that will deliver 68 homes, including 21 affordable units, create a permanent home for the African American Civil War Museum, and bring 100 jobs to the District.

“The redevelopment of the historic Grimke School showcases how we can build more housing and create more jobs in a way that preserves our culture and history,” said Mayor Bowser. “Together, we’re going to keep putting equity and inclusion at the forefront of development as we work to meet our bold goal of creating 36,000 homes by 2025.”

The redevelopment of the Grimke Elementary School and the parking lot at 912 U Street, NW will bring a new arts and cultural destination to the heart of the U Street Arts District. The Community Three Development team will rehabilitate the historic Grimke Elementary School to include a new permanent home for the African American Civil War Museum, create arts space programmed by CulturalDC and provide commercial office space for Torti Gallas + Partners’ new headquarters, bringing over 100 jobs into the District from Silver Spring, MD.

“Today, Mayor Bowser is delivering on her commitment to redevelop the historic Grimke School in a way that meets the needs of this neighborhood as a place to live, work, and enjoy,” said Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “We particularly thank the community and private sector partners whose dedication and hard work got us to this exciting milestone day as we begin the next chapter of this historic site.”

The redevelopment will also include improvements to the pedestrian experience in the neighborhood through enhanced sidewalks, crosswalks, streetscape features, and rebuilding the public space in front of the Grimke School building. The African American Civil War Museum’s new entrance on Vermont Avenue will dramatically improve the visual connection between the museum and the African American Civil War Museum Memorial, located across the street adjacent to the U St/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro Station.

“After years of planning, I am so excited to see the redevelopment of the Grimke school moving forward,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “The new revitalization brings housing, office space, and arts and cultural space to Ward 1 and includes a beautiful new home for the African American Civil War Museum.”

“We are proud to be including such a dynamic mix of uses in one project – office, residential, arts, cultural, retail – a combination that will surely complement the existing vibrancy and authenticity of this unique neighborhood,” said Community Three President Grant Epstein.

“The Museum and Memorial have been a fixture in the U Street community for the past 21 years,” said Dr. Frank Smith, Founding Director of the African American Civil War Museum. “It feels fantastic to celebrate this much anticipated and long-awaited milestone in the re-development of this historic building.”