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Would a Planned Residential Development in Georgetown Derail Plans For the Gondola?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Would a Planned Residential Development in Georgetown Derail Plans For the Gondola?: Figure 1
Rendering of the gondolas, from inside a gondola.

Yesterday, Georgetown Metropolitan opined that if a condo project moves forward at the former Exxon station at 3601 M Street NW (map) it could nix the prospects of the proposed Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola. After a study found an airborne public transit connection spanning the Potomac River was feasible, a DC station that would use the Exxon location as a gondola station or through-way was identified as ideal.

Despite raze permits being filed and the gas station shuttering, the Georgetown Business Improvement District, one of the primary stakeholders championing the gondola project, remains optimistic about the prospects of the site's future as a transit hub.

"We have been in discussions with the city and other parties about acquiring it from the developer for both the Gondola and future Metro expansion when WMATA separates the Blue Line into a new tunnel from Rosslyn to Georgetown," Georgetown BID president Joe Sternlieb shared with UrbanTurf.  "We continue to believe that it's in the best interest of the city and region for the Mayor to acquire this site for future public transportation needs.  It’s our understanding that the condo developer does not yet have excavation or building permits, so, for the time being, it remains on the list of potential gondola station locations."

Would a Planned Residential Development in Georgetown Derail Plans For the Gondola?: Figure 2
Rendering of the planned condo development at 3601 M Street.

The 21-unit condo development by Altus Realty Partners has received concept approval, although permits for razing, excavating and building have not yet been finalized. As currently designed by Handel Architects, the development would indeed preclude a gondola station, as the necessary structure would need 60 feet of street frontage along M Street or a 40 foot-wide clearance, respectively, to be built at the site or behind it on 36th Street.

Location alternatives in Georgetown are less than ideal, being inconvenient either to the neighborhood's primary commercial corridors or to where a potential future Metro station would be located. However, inability to build a gondola station at 36th and M would not derail the project entirely.

The lack of enthusiasm from Arlington County officials, on the other hand, could present another set of problems.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/would-a-planned-residential-development-in-georgetown-derail-plans-for-the-/14288

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