What's Hot: Arlington County Approves Missing Middle Zoning | Move-In Ready Townhomes at EYA's Northeast DC Neighborhoods
HPRB Moves the Georgetown Heating Plant Development Forward
The Commission of Fine Arts' (CFA) unanimous decision last May to support the conceptual design of the redevelopment of the West Heating Plant in Georgetown seemed to pave the way to eventual approval. Of course, that was until the building was designated a historic landmark six months later.
Now, however, it seems that CFA may have led the development team to get ahead of themselves design-wise, complicating matters going forward as evidenced by yesterday's rollercoaster Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) hearing on the matter.
Georgetown Companies and the Levy Group are teaming up with the Four Seasons in hopes of turning the long-dormant heating plant and adjacent industrial site at 1051-1055 29th Street NW (map) into a 60-unit luxury condo building overlooking a one-acre, elevated public park.
When presented with a design that largely deferred to the existing plant, the CFA expressed their wish for a “less literal” building and a less "suburban" park, a directive that led architects Sir David Adjaye and Laurie Olin to reconsider the building and park designs.
The resulting design, which garnered the support of the CFA and various Georgetown community organizations, runs afoul of the Office of Planning (OP) and historic preservation directives — especially post-landmark designation.
That tug-of-war between ambitious and inspiring design and the letter of the law was on full display at the HPRB hearing, leading the Board to vote in favor of the conceptual design against OP's recommendation while parsing through some of the finer points of OP's report.
HPRB voted in agreement with the first three points in the report: that permitting demolition would run counter to historic preservation mandates, that the concept doesn't align with the historic preservation standards of the Secretary of the Interior, and that it may be feasible to either repair or reconstruct the brick façade.
However, the Board disagreed that the design is "architecturally unconvincing and does not achieve meaningful historic preservation".
"It speaks to the character of an industrial building in a way that allows for the ideas of the industrial building to still be there, some of the character to remain, but allows for, one, reinterpretation of those ideas, and two, room for this new residential use, which I think is necessary," explained Chair Marnique Heath. "I think the building has to go through a reinterpretation and significant modification to make it appropriate for residential use regardless of how we move forward, so I think some leeway should be given there."
story continues belowloading...
story continues above
The Board also narrowly voted that the applicant had justified its case for constructing a 110 foot tall building. The existing building is 110 feet high, a height incompatible with the Georgetown Historic District.
The votes included comments from the Board on what they hope to see in the design moving forward, which, for most, is simply more historic elements preserved in the final project. Some also stated that the layering effect of the design could be somewhat simplified and that the horizontality of the balconies disrupted the verticality of the overall design. Heath also expressed her wish that the Board had also had an opportunity to see and opine on the previous design the CFA had voted on.
The development team has the option of amending the design to return to HPRB, but will likely now apply for a hearing with the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation in hopes that it will find the project to be one of "special merit" that would justify demolition. Additional images are below.
See other articles related to: georgetown, georgetown heating plant, historic preservation, historic preservation review board, hprb, west heating plant
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/hprb-approves-the-west-heating-plant-development/13901.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
The 650,000 square-foot project, designed by Adjaye Associates and Hickok Cole, will ... read »
The new development keeps humming along in DC's Buzzard Point.... read »
It is early in the year, but there are already a number of areas around DC where home... read »
Today, UrbanTurf is taking a look at the tax benefits associated with buying a home t... read »
If you are tired of getting lost in their stores, IKEA has a new location planned tha... read »
At an ANC 4A meeting on Tuesday night, representatives from Whole Foods said that the... read »
The application to raze the infamous fast food location at New York and Florida Avenu... read »
While homeowners must typically appeal by April 1st, new owners can also appeal.... read »
The application has been filed for the American City Diner along Connecticut Avenue i... read »
The largest development on the boards for the H Street Corridor is planned for a fami... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
- A First Look at the Five-Building Centerpiece of the St. Elizabeth's Redevelopment
- The Stacks, Brooklyn Bowling and a Vermeer: The 5 Developments on the Boards for Buzzard Point
- DC's 14 Million-Dollar Neighborhoods in 2023
- A Look At The Tax Benefits of Buying a Home Through a Trust
- IKEA Opening Small Format, Delivery Only Location in Pentagon City
- Whole Foods at Walter Reed To Open This Summer
- The End is Here: Raze Permit Filed For Wendy's at Dave Thomas Circle
- How to Appeal Your DC Property Tax Assessment
- Raze Application May Spell The End For One of DC's Last Diner Buildings
- 200-Unit Apartment Project Planned For Autozone Site Along the H Street Corridor
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro