Business Ins & Outs: Founders Bank Opens, Qatar buys Hollerith House & More

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New plans for former Latham Site at 3000 M St

IN: FOUNDERS BANK OPENS

Former executives of the Bank of Georgetown — acquired by United Bank in 2016 for $269 million — opened Founders Bank (as in Founding Fathers) last week. The business-oriented bank now has a branch at 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, with corporate offices at 5101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. CEO Martin McCarthy heads the inaugural team with Jonathan Higgins and Gerard McLoughlin. (Another founding director, Domingo Rodriquez, died in January.) McCarthy worked at the Bank of Georgetown, founded by Curtin Winsor III and Michael Fitzgerald in 2005. Vincent Burke III is chair of Founders Bank (in organization). The bank starts with $30 million in funding.

IN: QATAR BUYS HOLLERITH HOUSE FOR $17.75 MILLION

Hollerith House at 1617 29th St. NW was sold to the Embassy of the State of Qatar for $17.75 million, after being listed in September of 2018 for $18.75 million, according to the Washington Business Journal. Herman Hollerith, founder of the Tabulating Machine Company at 31st Street and the C&O Canal, built the four-story house in 1911. His company later helped create IBM. (One of his great-grandsons is the Rev. Randy Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral.) A few blocks away at 1219 28th St. NW, Qatar also owns a former D.C. public school, which houses the Qatar Defense Attache; its embassy is next to Rock Creek Park, just across the bridge from Georgetown at 2555 M St. NW. Also of note, Qatar partnered with Hines to develop CityCenterDC.

OUT: HSBC LEAVES R STREET

HSBC, the bank at Wisconsin Avenue and R Street NW, has departed Georgetown, leaving one branch in D.C. In 2018, with total assets of $2.558 trillion, Londonbased HSBC (the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited) was ranked the seventh largest bank in the world and the largest in Europe. The property at 1715 Wisconsin Ave. NW previously housed the Japan Inn restaurant.

Front of Georgetown Tobacco

GEORGETOWN TOBACCO ORDERED CLOSED

In business since the 1960s, Georgetown Tobacco was ordered closed until May 15 by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The classic shop at 3144 M St. NW had remained open after Mayor Muriel Bowser’s temporary shutdown of nonessential businesses due to the COVID19 pandemic. Georgetown Tobacco owner David Berkebile said the business was now set up for delivery and mail order.

NEW PLANS FOR FORMER LATHAM SITE AT 3000 M

Owners of the site of the former Latham Hotel at 3000 M St. NW have new ideas for the property. This is the corner that has been vacant for years. Construction ceased during the first months of the Trump administration — leaving bare girders of a building and a construction crane looming over M Street.

Thor Equities and architect Shalom Baranes have submitted a new design for the planned hotel at the address to D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office, according to Urban Turf. The latest proposed hotel has eight stories — and 256 rooms — above a single story of retail. Plans call for below-ground spaces of three floors. Roof decks are also proposed, especially for the penthouse level.

Citing a loss of retail tenant commitments, Thor Equities continues with the project, despite the long-barren corner and its “crane of shame,” as one neighbor calls it.

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