The Gondola Dream Lives On

The dream of a aerial gondola lives to see another day. That’s because Chairman Mendelson has restored a line item to the budget for the purchase of the former Key Bridge Exxon property, which would be the likely terminal point for the gondola.

Quick backstory: The Exxon property was sold in the early part of last decade. Several different developers, including Eastbanc, have sought approval to build an apartment building on the site (much to the consternation of some Prospect St. residents who would have their views of the Potomac slightly impacted). But nothing went forward. And in the meantime, the Georgetown BID began pursuing the idea of building an aerial gondola between Georgetown and the Rosslyn Metro station. A study commissioned by the BID decided that the Exxon site would be the best location for the Georgetown end of that trip. And last year Brooke Pinto successfully got money set aside in the budget to buy the property. The ostensible reason was to build electric car charging stations. But the potential gondola use was also contemplated. Moreover, if Georgetown ever gets a Metro station, this location would be a likely candidate for an entrance.

Yesterday Mendelson said that the city made an offer for the property, but wasn’t very aggressive about it. And the mayor apparently dropped the item from her proposed budget. Thus Mendelson’s actions yesterday restored the item.

Will the mayor be agressive this time? Time will tell. And even if she does successfully acquire the property, the approval (let alone construction) of the gondola is still very remote. But it’s not zero. So hope is still alive.


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