ANC 2E was slightly more enthusiastic about a proposal for a 27-unit condo project in Georgetown on Monday, passing a resolution suggesting developer EastBanc’s latest designs for the building on the site of an M Street Exxon Mobil station are moving in the right direction.
EastBanc presented the ANC with six different options for the building facade. In early March, the ANC and Old Georgetown Board said that earlier designs did not fit with the historic character of Georgetown or the fabric of buildings up and down M Street. The planned 27-unit condo project at 3607 M Street NW (map) has drawn the ire of neighbors, particularly those neighbors with hillside views on Prospect Street above the project, who say they believe the building could dangerously destabilize the hill — not to mention obstruct their views of the Potomac.
Though ANC 2E Commissioner Bill Starrels originally proposed simply reiterating the ANC’s prior opposition to the project, Commissioner Tom Birch, who had been vocal about his dislike for the previous design, urged a more nuanced take. The ANC did not voice any kind of final support on Monday, but Birch suggested that at least some of the designs presented were good options for the site, and his fellow commissioners ultimately agreed (with one abstaining).
“I don’t see any productivity in stonewalling the project month after month,” he told UrbanTurf on Tuesday.
“[The design] is moving in a direction which backs away from the sort of monolithic monumentality of what we saw in earlier designs, and the verticality is more appealing to what we expect on this streetscape in Georgetown,” Birch said. “We might want to say that we would favor materials that are those found in other structures around M Street, which include limestone or gray stone.” Those ideas became part of a resolution that was passed by the ANC on Monday.
Birch did pan a few of the presented designs, calling one reminiscent of a “Mayan temple.” Other commissioners were more critical. Ellen Steury flatly said the design wasn’t right for Georgetown.
“To me it does not fit at all,” she said. “It looks like a latter-day addition, and it looks to me to be dramatically different (from what’s there). I like this better than I did before, but it still for me doesn’t seem to fit the neighborhood.”
A man representing the Prospect Street neighbors opposing the project also indicated his opposition for the project at the meeting. But though Birch said the ANC was aligned with the neighbors on issues including the mechanical penthouse on the new project, he suggested the design, at least, was much better than alternatives for similar sites.
“In the past, old gas stations have given us Williamsburg-style banks,” he said. “That’s not the direction we want to be going in.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/georgetown_anc_says_latest_design_for_exxon_condos_more_appealing/8419
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