(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) Now that a partnership to rebuild Frager’s Hardware and about 40 residential units has fallen apart, the leadership of the beloved store is starting from scratch.
Frager’s is seeking a new development partner, management said today after news broke that the deal with Roadside Development had collapsed.
“We’re still looking at our options,” garden manager Kristin Sampson said, noting that Frager’s hasn’t spoken with any other developers yet about the 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. SE property. She declined to describe any specific sticking points of the deal to reconstruct the property devastated by fire in June 2013.
“The two parties were unable to come to an agreement on issues related to the existing conditions of the site prior to the expiration of the contract,” Roadside said in a statement.
Frager’s and Roadside announced a partnership in September and then told locals at a community meeting in December that they planned to build a new store of more than 9,000 square feet plus about 40 residential units, as Hill Now reported. Roadside founding partner Richard Lake said in December that he expected his company would take ownership of the property early this year.
ANC 6B Commissioner Daniel Chao said he was “disappointed” by the failure of the partnership and that he expected the ANC to discuss the matter soon.
“I hope that we as a community can get together and talk about next steps,” he said. “Whatever we can do as ANC commissioners supportive of Frager’s, we should do.”
ANC 6B Chairwoman Kirsten Oldenburg said she was surprised real estate companies don’t seem to be clamoring to take over the building.
“We see developers coming to our neighborhood and grabbing every square inch of property they can,” she said.
The ANC will support progress at Frager’s however they can, Oldenburg said, especially in light of gripes that the site has gone unused for going on two years.
“We have gotten complaints about the property becoming more of an eyesore as time goes by, and I have those concerns, too,” she said.
Through Frager’s original store remains closed, the company operates a hardware store, garden center, paint shop and more in the area.
“We’re still here,” Sampson said.
Longtime customer Lynn Robson said as she picked up spring flowers at the Frager’s Garden Center that she thought the community needed something other than a burnt building as soon as possible.
“It’s not good for the street,” she said.
Customer Peter Meccariello, who lives near Eastern Market, also said he was eager to see Frager’s return to its home.
“It would be nice to develop it in some way,” he said.
Chao said he, too, was eager to return to the Frager’s flagship.
“There’s a feeling when you walk into the store,” he said. “I’m not a tool expert, but when I walk into the store, I don’t feel lost,” he said. “When I walk into Home Depot, I feel lost and feel like I’m in a factory. When you walk into Frager’s, you feel like the staff has your back.”