Historic DC site to become contemporary art museum

WASHINGTON (AP) - A historic downtown Washington building where telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell once conducted experiments could become a contemporary art museum under a plan announced by District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray.

On Monday, the city selected developer EastBanc Inc. and the Institute for Contemporary Expression to rehabilitate and reuse the historic Franklin School building. The site is a National Historic Landmark designed by Smithsonian architect Adolph Cluss and built in 1869 as the city's flagship public school.

The development team plans to restore the exterior and interior details and create an exhibit space for art, sculpture and performances. Plans call a ground-floor restaurant by chef Jose Andres and a bookstore. The rehabilitation cost could run from $15 million to more than $30 million.

The building has been vacant for years.