Old Georgetown Board Doesn’t Support Design for Exxon Condo Project

by Lark Turner

Old Georgetown Board Doesn't Support Design for Exxon Condo Project: Figure 1
Rendering for Georgetown Hillside.

Another design for the condos planned for the Key Bridge Exxon site in Georgetown has been panned by both the neighborhood ANC and the Old Georgetown Board.

Developer EastBanc has long been planning a residential project on the site of the Key Bridge Exxon station at 3607 M Street NW (map). The latest proposal calls for about 27 units adjacent to the famed Exorcist stairs.

But both ANC 2E and the Old Georgetown Board issued strong opinions this week suggesting the project doesn’t fit with the neighborhood’s character. The ANC chose not to endorse the project, its resolution said, because “the industrial/modern design is not in keeping with the use of brick on commercial and residential structures in this part of Georgetown.”

On Thursday, the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) also passed on the latest design. ANC 2E Commissioner Tom Birch, who attended last night’s meeting, said the OGB largely agreed that the design he called “kind of somber” wouldn’t work in Georgetown.

“It’s back to the drawing board,” Birch told UrbanTurf on Friday. He was quick to add that while the organizations aren’t opposed to modern structures in the neighborhood, the site needs a more nuanced and set-back facade than the one presented — which he called largely similar to previous iterations.

The ANC and OGB consider the site an important one in part because it sits near a primary entry point into the neighborhood. Birch advised the developer “to look at the kind of materials that are used up and down M Street” for the next design.

EastBanc didn’t respond to a request for comment on the ANC’s resolution.

See other articles related to: georgetown hillside, georgetown exxon, georgetown, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/georgetown_organizations_pan_design_for_exxon_site/8213


  1. Greg Hudgins said at 2:04 am on Saturday March 8, 2014:
    This is very disappointing - this is a beautiful design and would be stunning in that location. The subdued color - black - is a nice addition at that end of Georgetown and brings it into the 21st Century. It compliments the Ritz project as a contemporary building in the area, plus some of the newer projects on M. Enough of the old, in with the new already.
  1. Adam L said at 2:45 am on Saturday March 8, 2014:
    Can someone explain what about an Exxon station is "in keeping with the use of brick on commercial and residential structures in this part of Georgetown"?
  1. Delempicka said at 6:53 am on Saturday March 8, 2014:
    How disappointing. I think we need a New Georgetown Board.
  1. James said at 1:03 pm on Saturday March 8, 2014:
    "Old" Georgetown Board says it all. Time to change them out, methinks. Typical "Bored" of Neighborhood Directors.
  1. Boris said at 5:27 pm on Saturday March 8, 2014:
    It is a beautiful design. The ANC's decision makes it a loss for Georgetown and Washington, not that the "decision makers" will understand it. Handel Architects does not need Washington. It's the other way around. Note to the writer: when writing about architecture, is it really hard to mention the architect's name?
  1. tim said at 4:46 am on Sunday March 9, 2014:
    Not surprising at all. This knee jerk anti-anything slightly different is par for the course in Georgetown unfortunately. Georgetown has been in gradual decline for several years now as 14th street and Downtown rise. Attitudes like this will only hasten the decline.
  1. h st ll said at 2:05 pm on Sunday March 9, 2014:
    Yeah, the rendering is beautiful. Hopefully it is not changed much!
  1. John said at 4:20 pm on Sunday March 9, 2014:
    Wonder if the people "loving" this design were hired by the developer and architect. This is a terrible typical unimaginative box design. It does not fit the Georgetown historical architecture.
  1. Boris said at 6:05 pm on Sunday March 9, 2014:
    Is it too much to ask to keep the discussion substantive? a) I am not working for EastBank or Handel; b) I am not wondering who "John" is working for; c) what is "imaginative" design? I'd like to learn, no BS;
  1. Nimby4Life said at 9:10 pm on Sunday March 9, 2014:
    @John, right on. This is Georgetown, not NoMa or the Navy Yard. Goodness people, Georgetown is historic. It will be fine without new development. Try building that ugly crap on Capitol Hill or Crestwood. Georgetown is not on the decline and the suggestion that it is is absurd. Georgetown's biggest challenge is trying to accommodate the ever increasing commercial (pedestrian) traffic. It may not be as hot as Columbia Heights, but people aren't fleeing the neighborhood. Property values are not on the decline.
  1. Bernardo said at 3:32 pm on Monday March 10, 2014:
    Baffled by the decision. This bureaucratic system is in place in large part to protect the property values of current owners. If you reduce supply you inflate prices. The design was great and its a shame this project is getting delayed.
  1. Jay said at 5:13 pm on Monday March 10, 2014:
    Good for the board! While it is a nice design and appeals to those who like its trendy, modern appeal or those want something new and cutting edge. One need to look no farther than the Georgetown waterfront or even the campus itself to buildings put up in the 70's, 80's, and 90's that already show their age and are ugly eyesores. Georgetown demands a certain aesthetic and this certainly does not meet that requirement. Back to the drawing board!!
  1. SW, DC said at 6:26 pm on Monday March 10, 2014:
    who cares. I live in SW, minutes from G-town and haven't been in ages. It's stale and overpriced. It's for a certain kind of people and frankly they can have it. I do like the design though...
  1. Alex said at 9:24 pm on Monday March 10, 2014:
    Have to say I'm a little disappointed in the OGB's decision. This building is refined and doesn't draw attention to itself, while advancing Georgetown into the 21st century. Georgetown is a historic district, not a museum dedicated to colonial architecture. We should take note of comparable neighborhoods in other cities: Tribeca, Chelsea, Soho- these iconic NYC neighborhoods manage to introduce modern architecture while still being respectful of what exists. Above all, this is about creating a building that speaks to the past, both in materials and in scale. To me, this does both.
  1. Howard R. said at 12:31 pm on Wednesday June 25, 2014:
    Seriously!?! This is a stunning design in a town where that compliment is not heard often. Have no connection to anyone around this. Just believe the developer has done a great job of creating an iconic design for what can be an iconic location. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Wait, let's create a cutesy Georgetownesque. facade to really spark the imagination and grow the brand and mystique. Really sad and disappointing for the greater city. The comment about other cities introducing counterpoint design to celebrate and enhance the original historic architecture is spot on. What a shame.

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