Future of Georgetown Heating Plant Site Unclear as Auction Approaches

by Shilpi Paul

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The Georgetown Heating Plant. Courtesy of GSA.

On Thursday, potential buyers and other interested folks gathered at the General Services Administration (GSA) building to hear details about this winter’s online auction for one of the most sought-after development sites in the city: Georgetown’s West Heating Plant.

The former plant, which sits on just over two acres of land near 29th and K Streets NW (map) abutting Rock Creek and the C and O Canal, was decommissioned in 2000 and completely vacated in 2012. The existing 20,000-square foot structure has six above-ground floors and two below-ground, though with a height of 110 feet, the space could be divided into more stories. Thursday’s meeting was packed with developers.

The online auction process means, predictably, that the highest bidder will win the rights to develop the property no matter what their plan is. However, Jennifer Steingasser from the Office of Planning stressed to the group that the winning developer will likely have to go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process involving community meetings and approval from various city agencies. Whether the site will be turned into a commercial, residential, or some sort of mixed-use development has yet to be determined.

As for other restrictions, Steingasser said that the developer will need to stick to the comprehensive plan for the area, which mandates that a significant portion should remain as green space. The site is also protected by various historic preservation measures, and the developer will have to seek approval from the Commission of Fine Arts on their plan. For example, changes to the facade, like cutting out additional windows, will need to be approved. As the Post’s Jonathan O’Connell pointed out, the ability to punch out additional windows would make it much more likely that the redevelopment will have a residential component.

“Get a preservation consultant on your team, and listen to that person,” urged David Maloney of the Historic Preservation Office.

All interested bidders have to submit a deposit check of $500,000 in order to register; from there, the bidding will likely start in December and will increase in $200,000 increments. A “soft close” about a month later will bring the auction to an end — the highest bidder must maintain that status for at least 24 hours.

Needless to say, UrbanTurf will follow developments associated with the auction and provide updates as they happen.

See other articles related to: west heating plant, georgetown

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/georgetown_heating_plant_to_be_auctioned_off/6211

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Todd Vassar

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