Will Fundrise Buy the Georgetown Heating Plant?

by Shilpi Paul

Will Fundrise Buy the Georgetown Heating Plant?: Figure 1
The Georgetown Heating Plant. Courtesy of GSA.

As has been widely reported, Georgetown’s West Heating Plant, a massive building at 29th and K Street NW, hit the online auction block recently. And, either due to lack of interest or because potential buyers don’t want to show their cards too early, there have been no bids so far.

Now, the team behind Fundrise is assessing the viability of buying up the site via their increasingly well-known community, crowdfunded investment model. In a recent blog post, the firm wrote that it forsees “a large, institutional developer from another city (or country) backed by a big investment fund” claiming the project. But, they wondered:

What if the larger community had the opportunity to buy the property? What if for the first time, you could invest in and own a piece of the profits created from this type of project; be able to weigh the trade-offs between community benefits and profits first hand?

In addition to the zoning and historic oversight issues that make the project unattractive to many a developer, it is larger, by many magnitudes, than the previous Fundrise projects. And, the team acknowledges that if the final selling price is something close to $15 million, the Fundrise model will not work. However, they are interested in assessing the interest, and posed the possibility to the public.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/fundrise_wants_to_crowdfund_the_georgetown_heating_plant/6625


  1. xmal said at 4:05 pm on Thursday February 7, 2013:
    Seems like fundrise will have the same problems as any other investor---how to make the space pay (plus the herding cats premium). This building seems right for a climbing gym---we've been missing one here for a long time!---but how many memberships would you need to sell to break even?
  1. mona said at 8:19 pm on Thursday February 7, 2013:
    I think if the roof of this building could be opened up to let light in and a center courtyard made you could make some cool 2 storied loft like condos. Its in GT so people will pay out the nose for it. But the other problems that would come with converting this to residenital and cleaning up grounds of the place and permits may make even those price to high to consider
  1. makeba said at 8:22 pm on Thursday February 7, 2013:
    This is a project that requires more than just raising funds. It is multifaceted in many ways. My advise is to leave it alone. Unless you plan to sell it off to an investment fund or you have a management team in place to deal with it. Not to surpress the dream...God knows, I dream bigger than most people, but this is a project that could crush your company if you dont approach it correctly. Leaving your rep tarnished and the 'funding' platform left in question. Tread wisely.
  1. rdhd said at 1:59 pm on Friday February 8, 2013:
    Or to combine suggestions #1 and #2, it could be a huge REI. Add natural light to the center of the building through the roof, put in a huge climbing wall, etc. And voila, perfect REI location.

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