The Georgetown Heating Plant. Courtesy of GSA.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
On Wednesday, the Georgetown Heating Plant was auctioned off for $19.5 million, following several weeks of online paddle raising by five anonymous bidders. The winning bid came from “Bidder #2.”
The auction for the former General Services Administration (GSA) 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, technically started in mid-January, but the first bid of $500,001 (just one dollar over the minimum deposit) didn’t show up until February 14th. Within a couple hours, a second bidder jumped in, bidding $700,001. A third bidder entered the game the next day, bidding $905,000.
Since then, the asking price for the plant has been steadily bid up. The auction was scheduled to “soft close” on February 19th at 5pm, but the rules state that the highest bid must maintain its status for 24 hours. So, in short, the bidders that are beat out had a day to think over whether or not they want to enter a higher bid. For the last two weeks, it has been a battle of 24-hour one-upmanship between Bidder #2 and Bidder #5. It wasn’t until Wednesday at 12:46pm that Bidder #2 was able to hold the high bid for a full day.
(Note: While the auction has closed with a high bid of $19.5 million, GSA will now review all the bids before announcing a winning bid and thus declaring the property sold.)
Now that the auction has closed, the big questions are who owns the winning bid and what will they do with it. The property was decommissioned in 2000 and completely vacated in 2012. The 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. At an October meeting about the auction, Jennifer Steingasser from the Office of Planning stressed 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.
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.
“Get a preservation consultant on your team, and listen to that person,” urged David Maloney of the Historic Preservation Office.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/georgetown_heating_plant_sold_for_19_5_million/6700
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