GM obtained architectural drawings for a project planned for the former Marvelous Market property at Wisconsin and P, and man are they not going to get approved.
You can see the Wisconsin Ave. elevation above. It’s a bit hard to make out at first, but it is essentially a four story building, with a penthouse, and then a two story tower. The new building would take up the entire parking lot/courtyard in front of the historic building. And it would then swallow up the old building as well, as you can see from the P St. elevation:
The white box in the middle with the five second-story windows is the old market building. The new building would essentially cover the west side and the roof of the old building.
Elevations can sometimes be deceiving, because you don’t know which parts are foreground and which are background, but the overhead confirms that the new building will basically swallow up the old:
(It looks like possibly there would be an atrium separating the old and the new building)
The north half of the current building (which appears to be a more recent addition) would be demolished for a rear yard.
There would apparently be two levels of underground parking. But there is some confusion over the curb cut. The elevation (the first picture above) makes the curb cut look about as wide as it currently is, but in the wrong location (it’s too far north). The overhead drawing has the curb cut in the right spot but would call for a much larger curb cut (25′ to the ~16′ the currently exist).
There would be some sort of a roof top patio with a jacuzzi, etc. And of course, don’t forget that ridiculous tower.
In short, this thing is a mess. And the Old Georgetown Board is going to laugh it out of the room. There is no way a new building would be allowed to diminish the old building so dramatically like that. And a five to six story building would dwarf the buildings around it. Plus, that tower looks like some sort of a faux Victorian cupola that would look totally out of place on top of a primarily modern building.
GM is somewhat surprised to see a proposal put forward at all. The current owners of the building have expressed an interest in selling it. Perhaps they’re trying to get a plan approved in order to increase the sale price. Or perhaps a potential buyer has emerged who wants an approval before closing the deal. Either way, they’re going to be disappointed because this is not going to get approved.
GM believes a plan to build out from the north half of the building could work. Say something like this:
Ideally you could remove the parking entirely and create an entire pedestrian plaza. It would increase the value of the retail space in both the old and the new buildings.
It’s frustrating to see a developer put forward a plan like this. It indicates a total lack of understanding of how historic preservation works. This is not simply GM using historic preservation to prevent more development. He’d love to see more development throughout Georgetown, especially on underused open spaces like the various parking lots around Georgetown. He is also for the various plans to convert the gas stations to residential. But this plan is bad and should be rejected wholesale. The developer should fire their architect and they should hire a Georgetown one who knows what it takes to get plans approved here (there’s one right next door!).