Georgetown’s ‘Crane of Shame’ Removed


Georgetowners woke up on Saturday morning, March 13, to the sight of the neighborhood’s famous abandoned construction crane at 3000 M St. NW being dismantled. A huge crane truck blocked 30th street as ironworkers handled the pieces of the crane — up at the M Street site for almost five years — as they were placed and secured on flatbed trucks.

This is the corner, at 30th Street, that has been vacant for years. Construction ceased during the first months of 2017 — leaving bare girders of a building and a construction crane looming over M Street. Residents and business leaders have complained for years about the interrupted mixed-use (residential and retail) project. The girders of the former Latham Hotel are now covered with artwork to hide the eyesore.

Social media reacted positively to the takedown news on Saturday. After The Georgetowner posted a photo to its Instagram feed (@thegeorgetowner, if you’d like to follow us), it was met with many upbeat comments. Among them: a clapping-hands emoji, a moving emoji of confetti, “Hallelujah”and “Yesss!” Susan Dabbar, vice president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, which owns a building a few doors away on 30th Street, also gave the post a “Yes!!!!!”

It’s safe to say most Georgetowners were glad to see the crane go. Another neighbor said she thought it was a sign of better days for Georgetown’s commercial district.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E classified 3000 M St. NW as a “blighted property” in January.

“The property is currently categorized as ‘vacant’ by the DCRA,” commissioner Lisa Palmer told The Georgetowner at the time. “The only other status is ‘blight.’ Both come with higher taxes and can be a way to get action.

“What we really want is for the project to happen,” Palmer said. “Right now, it is not happening, so we want the crane to come down until it is. Once the construction project begins in earnest, we want an appropriate-sized crane to be put in place and utilized. Until then, we want the property to be categorized as blighted.”

Property owner Thor Equities and architect Shalom Baranes submitted a new design for the planned hotel at the address to D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office last year. 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 is staying with the project, despite the long-barren corner and its now-removed “crane of shame,” as one neighbor called it.

Ironworkers secure a section of the crane on a flatbed truck on 30th Street. Georgetowner photo.

The last of the crane tower is removed on Saturday afternoon. Georgetowner photo.

An ironworker perches on the last section of the crane tower at 3000 M St. NW. Georgetowner photo.

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