Conversions Planned on Thomas Jefferson St.; Neighbors Concerned
By June 26, 2023 One Comment 1090•
A 300-unit conversion has been planned for two Georgetown office buildings, located on the southern end of Georgetown, near the waterfront. An affiliate of Potomac Investment Trust has plans to convert a portion located at 1000 and 1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW. Architect Shalom Baranes Associates, established in 1981, will be running the design for the two buildings’ conversions.
The conversions at 1000 Thomas Jefferson St. NW would include a two-level addition as well as a penthouse with residential units on upper floors and commercial use on the lower levels and add between 95 and 115 residential units. The 140 parking spaces and loading areas are planned to remain in use.
Plans also call for 1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW to be turned into a mostly residential building with three additional levels and a penthouse. The first count for units in the building is 170 to 220. Below ground parking spots are also planned to remain.
A submission to the Historic Preservation Office, dated June 14, states: “The project consists of two adjacent lots located one block off the Georgetown waterfront and south of the C&O Canal. The adaptive reuse of these two significant office buildings in Georgetown presents an opportunity to convert currently vacant/underutilized commercial areas to vital residential, commercial and retail uses, and to reinvigorate this section of the Georgetown neighborhood.”
The submission goes on to say that considering the challenging commercial office environment in the city, the proposal will adapt and reuse two existing office buildings and their conversion to primarily residential use. “For both sites, portions of the existing buildings will be demolished to reduce the overall floor plate sizes to allow viable residential floor plates with appropriate plan depths. Existing facades will be removed in their entirety and two to three new floors will be added vertically. Ground level areas are being designed to permit retail and some commercial uses as illustrated in the floor plans for each building,” the submission added.
For both sites, each residential building will provide affordable housing as required by the District of Columbia Inclusionary Zoning provisions.
Neighbors say they are not pleased with the news of the construction, however. A condominium building sits directly behind 1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, in very close proximity.
Condominium board member Jeanne Jordan said in a letter: “Not one of [the] renderings in the package submitted to the Old Georgetown Board shows the buildings south of the canal on 31st St. NW.”
Jordan also mentioned that the renderings do not show low-profile buildings next to the condos and directly behind the subject property, or the small-scale 19th century townhomes to the immediate west.
Bill Starrels, a longtime resident and board member of the condo commented that when the buildings were constructed in the early ‘80s, they complimented each other. “The height of the buildings was purposely uniform with open setbacks,” he added. “This ensured that there is ample sunlight and openness for the 60 percent of units that face Thomas Jefferson Street.”
Starrels is worried that that proposed massing would result in the “dwarfing” of the condos. (Starrels also serves as a photographer for The Georgetowner.)
The letter went on to explain the importance of maintaining the historic integrity of Georgetown.