Key Bridge Exxon Condo Design Admonished by Neighborhood

Called 'Marriott-Hotel Quality' and Too Tall

An architectural rendering of the proposed condo complex, as designed by Handel Architects
Courtesy of the Washington Business Journal
An architectural rendering of the proposed condo complex, as designed by Handel Architects

EastBanc presented its revised design for a high-end condo complex at 3601-3607 M Street (the gas station property next to the Exorcist stairs) during the April 4 meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E.

Jack Davies, philanthropist, AOL International founder, co-owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, lives on the 3600 block of Prospect Street and spoke about the proposed condo's height on behalf of his neighbors and himself. "The revised proposal does not address neighbors' concerns." The backyards of Prospect Street look out towards the C&O Canal, Key Bridge, the Potomac and beyond. "People in the pool on the roof would be a disruption," Davies said. "This will lower property values." Davies called for the condo height to be capped at 40 feet and four floors instead of the proposed five floors.

Georgetown architect Robert Bell, designer of the Volta Place police station condos, called the design "Marriott-hotel quality." For such a signature site, he said, "It's a shame that Georgetown does not have a stronger stand for historic contexts."

As for history, the 19th-century stone wall on the 3600 block of M Street would be hidden behind the five-floor building, seen only from the narrow space at the Exorcist stairs between the Car Barn and the future condo.

EastBanc's Mary Mottershead showed drawings of a green roof as high as the top of the wall and said that she considered the view from Prospect Street only slightly obstructed. The condo will contain 35 to 37 units.

The property is owned by DC gas station king, Joe Mamo, who also owns Parker's Exxon on MacArthur Boulevard, Georgetown Exxon at Q Street and the Watergate Exxon. Key Bridge Exxon will close by the end of July 2012.

In a related action, the ANC approved EastBanc's redesign for 1045 Wisconsin Avenue: condos at the C&O Canal to be built in the parking lot of the Verizon building across from Grace Church.

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Apr 8, 2011 at 5:53 AM Nancy Carpenter

Not a good idea...planning to protest.

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Apr 11, 2011 at 6:35 PM Jerry A. McCoy

What an awful, sterile design.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM Former Georgetowner

That is butt ugly.

There are any number of historic buildings they could take a cue from to do a riff on. I've never understood why a building has to thumb its nose at its locale, context. It would be one thing if it were a gorgeous modern design with some statement to make, but that is just mediocre, monolithic, and butt ugly. Shameful. Shame on the owner and the architect.

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Apr 25, 2011 at 3:53 PM Scoot

Georgetown architect Robert Bell, designer of the Volta Place police station condos, called the design "Marriott-hotel quality." For such a signature site, he said, "It's a shame that Georgetown does not have a stronger stand for historic contexts."

Funny ... can someone explain to me the historical importance of an Exxon gas station? Or is this story really about taking a stand for an unobstructed river view?

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May 9, 2011 at 6:07 PM Glover Parker

I cross the key bridge both ways every work day. While the Exxon station is no architectural wonder, the proposed new condo simply doesn't blend into what is there. It also looks like it is stuffed into the space.

And I can understand people not wanting their views blocked. Why don't they go back to the drawing board to create something that fits and also make the structure lower.

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Aug 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM Andrew

Forget the Exxon, are people saying that these condos don't live up to the stunning architectural quality of the beige 80s condo building to the left or the haphazardly renovated backs of the row houses on Prospect St.? I'll grant that the car barn is a nice building, but these new condos aren't any worse than most of the surrounding development (with the exception of the car barn). And, people don't want to waste a river view by having anything less than floor-to-ceiling windows, which are hard to blend into a classic style.

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