Frager’s Hardware has signed a deal to return to its former property on Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
The beloved Capitol Hill store will return to 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. SE as part of a development that will include 40 to 50 condos, Urban Turf reported earlier today.
Frager’s and Perseus Realty agreed to a 25 year lease for the store at the location, according to Urban Turf. The site also reports that the development will include two other retail spaces that have not been filled.
A representative from Frager’s did not have any additional details on the agreement or when the store expects to relocate.
This location has remained empty since a fire devastated the property in June 2013. Since the fire, Frager’s has spread its business across four Capitol Hill locations, including 1323 E St., 1115 Pennsylvania Ave., 1129 Pennsylvania Ave. and 1230 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
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Photo via Flickr/NCinDC
Frager’s Hardware is close once again to returning to its property on Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
The beloved Capitol Hill store is in talks with D.C.-based Perseus Realty on an agreement that would allow the shop to return to 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, which was devastated by fire in June 2013.
Kristin Sampson, Frager’s garden manager, stressed in an interview with Hill Now that the deal wasn’t final, after the Washington Business Journal reported today on the shop’s talks with Perseus. Earlier this year, a deal with Roadside Development to rebuild the store collapsed.
Like Roadside, Perseus is looking to construct a mixed-used development that would include residential space, in addition to Frager’s.
“Hopefully, it won’t fall through,” Sampson said.
Since the fire, Frager’s has spread its business across four Capitol Hill locations, including 1323 E St., 1115 Pennsylvania Ave., 1129 Pennsylvania Ave. and 1230 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
(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.”
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A new store of 9,000 to 10,000 square feet and “38 or 39” homes could be complete by spring 2017, Roadside Development Founding Partner Richard Lake told locals at a community meeting last night (Wednesday).
Roadside sought neighbors’ input on the 1111 Pennsylvania Ave. SE project as the company and architect Demian Wilbur begin to envision the layout, size and location of the residential units, which could be condos or apartments. They stressed that they’re seeking community input to achieve a project locals like.
The development will be no higher than 50 feet, as current zoning allows, Lake said. Roadside wants to build larger units of at least two bedrooms, and is looking at possibilities for including affordable units.
Construction would likely start in mid-2016 and be complete by mid-2017, Lake estimated. Roadside would seek to reopen Frager’s as soon as possible, likely before the homes are complete, he said.
Company representatives and Wilbur said they seek to retain the historic charm of the beloved store destroyed by fire in June 2013.
“We’re absolutely committed to saving the facades as much as possible,” Lionel Lynch of Roadside said. The company will seek to keep Frager’s multiple entrances and bay windows, too.
Neighbors asked Roadside and Wilbur — whose own office above Frager’s was destroyed by the blaze — to control environmental impacts of construction and create adequate parking. Roadside would create separate parking for shoppers and residents of the new building, Lake said.
Frager’s co-owner John Weintraub spoke in support of the redevelopment.
“I think they’ll do a project that we’ll feel good about and also our customers will feel good about,” he said.
Weintraub still owns the property, but Roadside expects to take the reins in early 2015, Lake said.
A part of the old Frager’s that won’t be restored is its narrow, crowded aisles. They’ll need to be built wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
“It will have to be code,” Lake said.
Roadside Development founder Richard Lake tells HillNow.com that he will talk to residents about the reconstruction of the beloved Capitol Hill store at the ANC 6B meeting Tuesday night.
Construction on the restored Frager’s, at Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street SE, will begin as early as next spring, Lake said. His firm plans to buy the property and finance the project by adding office, retail and/or residential space.
“We haven’t yet determined what else will be there, but we definitely know there will be more than Frager’s,” he said.
The project will not be a mixed-use building required to undergo the city’s planned unit development process, Lake said. The developer wants to keep the building’s 1920s facades, but the structure — which was almost entirely destroyed by a fire in June 2013 — will be rebuilt from the ground up.
Roadside is in the process of buying the property, and Lake estimated his firm would take ownership in early 2015.
The property will then have to go through a regulatory approval process that will include review by the Historical Preservation Review Board.
Lake will speak at the ANC 6B meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE). Roadside is accepting public comments through a voice mailbox at (202) 375-7942, and at [email protected].