KinderCare Learning Centers, a nationwide organization providing early childhood learning and care from infancy to kindergarten, will be opening a new location at 2461 Wisconsin Ave, NW. This prominent building of over 11,000 square feet, at the corner of Calvert Street, has sat vacant for years after the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) local chapter 99 vacated.
The owner of the building, a trustee for the IOUE, attempted a drawn-out sealed bid sale, and the property was sold in 2018 to "Insight Real Estate Investment Properties LLC." Insight applied for a special exception with the DC Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) to allow KinderCare to operate in the space since the property is zoned residential (R12). R12 zoning actually does allow for daycare use by right with certain conditions.
There have been efforts across the city to make daycare facilities an automatic exception to zoning due to the scarcity of this service, and desperation of so many parents looking for affordable childcare in DC. BZA approved the special exception on September 12, 2018.
The owner states that the footprint and the exterior of the building will not be affected by the renovations for KinderCare except for signage, and that the facility will house a maximum of 128 students and 26 staff members. Personally, I wouldn't mind a little exterior updating, would you? They intend to use the Guy Mason Rec Center parking lot adjacent to the Naval Observatory for drop off and pick up to avoid traffic congestion at this busy intersection.
KinderCare operates six other facilities in DC currently, all in downtown locations. Considering the pain of the rush hour traffic, this location will be much easier for families located to the west and north as well as in Glover Park, and as many families in the neighborhood now know - Stoddert Elementary pre-K is not guaranteed and very difficult to get a spot without a sibling already at the school. Unfortunately you still need to wait until they open in late 2019 or early 2020!