Mixed Use Project Envisioned for Georgetown Theater Building

Old Georgetown Theater, Soon to Be Empty, Still For Sale


As GM mentioned last Friday, local architect Robert Bell has purchased the old Georgetown theater building at Wisconsin and O. GM has seen the plans and can report that the project envisions a truly mixed use for the building, with residential, retail, and office space all under the same roof.

But first one disappointing feature: it does not appear the Bell will attempt to recreate the whimsical facade that once adorned this building:

Dumbaton Theater


This facade was made out of stucco and did not survive the mid-century installation of the (ugly, in GM’s opinion) formstone that currently covers the front. From the plans, it does not appear that Bell intends to recreate the old facade from scratch either. Oh well, what a wonderful addition that would’ve been?

One thing you can be certain of is that the neon sign will be restored. Bell himself was the primary driver of an effort back in 2009 to get the BID to pay $50,000 to fix up the sign. Although it received regulatory approval, several BID members raised the perfectly fair question of why the BID was spending money to restore a sign for an owner that should have fixed it itself.

While that proposal died, it would seem likely that Bell would move forward with the plan now that he owns the building. In 2009, the plan called for the sign to be painted its original black color with the neon lights colored their original rose hue.

As for the rest of the building, this is what GM has learned: The main part of the first floor will be retail. The existing second floor will be office space. There will be a rear addition (the property goes way back) where four apartments will be located. The rear extension could be somewhat controversial since the property backs up to homes on O St.

Either way, getting this property restored will be a huge boost for this shabby section of Wisconsin Ave.


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6 responses to “Mixed Use Project Envisioned for Georgetown Theater Building

  1. And since you were the one who told me about this development this morning, kudos not only to Mr. Bell for taking on this project but also to you for giving me material for my blog post today: http://blogofthecourtier.com/2013/10/28/new-life-for-the-old-georgetown-theater/

  2. Please don’t tell me the form stone will be retained and restored!

  3. Topher

    It’s not entirely clear from the plans I’ve seen if the formstone will be retained. But if I had to guess, I’d say it will be kept, unfortunately.

  4. I would like to clarify that the Georgetown Theater building is NOT sold. It is under contract and the sale is pending.
    Angie Heon Nys

  5. dave4al

    Curious if you have any more color GM on the alley — Mr. Bell mentioned Cadys Alley as some inspiration but I don’t really know what if anything that means relative to this alley. It sounds from your description that most everything is internal from the front with the exception of some possible residences in the back. I love Cadys Alley and the hidden, European feel that adds to the neighborhoods uniqueness.

  6. So eager to see a renovated facade that looks better than what’s there now – is there a way to economically recreate or reimagine the original facade?

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