Last month the new Safeway opened up at 1855 Wisconsin Ave. This was a huge construction project for Georgetown, but it was just one of many construction projects either complete or on the drawing board for upper Georgetown. Going all the way back to the major Hardy School renovations, the northern quarter of Georgetown has gone through a significant amount of construction and there is no end in sight. Despite the benefit of a beautifully renovated school and a new palatial supermarket, the neighbors are starting to grumble.
The string of major projects in upper Georgetown starts at least as far back as the Hardy School renovations, beginning in 2005 and only ending in 2008. (You could even perhaps argue that the Georgetown Project of several years prior was the real beginning of the construction streak).
After the Hardy School renovations there was (and still is) the Georgetown Library reconstruction. Then, of course, there was the Safeway project, which brings us up to today.
On the horizon are at least four more significant construction projects: the Jelleff field renovations, the Fillmore School conversion, the Hurt Home, and the Safeway annex (it’s not really an annex, but for now that’s what GM will call it).
At last week’s ANC meeting, a cohort of northern Georgetown and Burleith residents aired their objections to EastBanc’s plans for the Fillmore School. While their frustrations seem to relate primarily to the project itself (they don’t want it), one of the related complaints they had was that there has been too much development in their part of the neighborhood. Few of the neighbors were still around by the time the ANC discussed the Safeway project, but one would imagine their objections would be similar: too much construction leading to too much density.
GM generally doesn’t like the use of the word “density” as a bogyman in Georgetown. Without density, Georgetown wouldn’t be what it is today (besides, when people complain about “density”, they are often really complaining about parking). But there may be something to the argument that there has been too much construction in upper Georgetown over the past five years. What do you think? Should there be a moratorium on major projects like the Safeway annex or the Fillmore School in upper Georgetown for a couple years?