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Washington, D.C., 11 June 2019: In a unanimous vote, the Washington D.C. Zoning Commission has approved the proposed construction of Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) and Erkiletian Development Company’s joint mixed-use building.
Informally referred to as “The Bard,” after a common epithet for William Shakespeare, the two buildings include administrative offices, rehearsal spaces, and a costume shop for Shakespeare Theatre Company, as well as condominiums, including several affordable three bedroom options for D.C. families. An annex will include housing for STC actors and fellows. Construction on the LEED Gold certified building will begin in December in the Southwest neighborhood at 501 I (Eye) St. SW, and the project is expected to be completed by spring 2021.
“Simply, we were outgrowing our current home on 8th St. SE, with our offices, actor housing, fellow housing, and costume shops in disparate locations,” explained Executive Director Chris Jennings. “Having multiple facets of STC located in one place will be more time and cost effective in the long run.”
The Planned Unit Development (PUD) was first proposed in 2015 on the former Southeastern University (SEU) campus site, currently an empty lot. The proposed design for the building was reshaped after working alongside neighborhood groups, such as United Neighbors of Southwest (UNSW), the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), and Amidon-Bowen Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association, to address their concerns about the height of the building, parking and unloading, and other possible issues.
“We really listened to our neighbors and took all of their concerns into consideration to redesign the building,” Jennings stated. The Bard will be four stories tall with an additional condo section on the upper level of the building set back from the street. The façade of the building on I Street, the home of STC’s administrative offices will be a simple and stylish glass front, while the design facing 6th Street SE mirrors the townhouses across the street. Award winning Washington, D.C. based architect Shalom Baranes has designed the Bard to complement its location in scale, color palette and materials used, while landscape designer Parker Rodriguez will include topiaries and green spaces around the building as well as on the roof of the Bard. A proposed mural on the Annex building would face Amidon-Bowen school.
“We are excited to move to the Southwest neighborhood in a thriving neighborhood that is both residential and with a strong artistic and theatre connection,” Jennings said. “Being near Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, The Bard will allow for new educational, engagement, and theatrical collaborations and partnerships while adding to the already vibrant, diverse, and inclusive neighborhood of Southwest.”