Prospect Street Homeowners Knock EastBanc . . . and the ANC

The initial architectural proposal for the condo units (pictured here) were widely rejected, and the recent ones didn't fare any better
The initial architectural proposal for the condo units (pictured here) were widely rejected, and the recent ones didn't fare any better

Prospect Street residents whose backyards would be almost level with the top of the proposed Key Bridge Exxon condo on M Street are not feeling the love from their Advisory Neighborhood Commission, to say nothing of the developer EastBanc, which presented its redesign of the project after scrutiny by the Old Georgetown Board at the May 2 ANC meeting.

Prospect Street resident Jack Davies said that the redrawn design "doesn't address our concerns," and argued further that "the view from Key Bridge [looking toward Georgetown and the homes up on Prospect Street] is iconic."

"The ANC should reflect the needs of the neighbors," Davies said. "The ANC resolution lacked teeth." He said neighbors had asked for a delay and for more discussion about a 40-foot limit. However, he was not suggesting that nothing be built, he said. "We could live with a compromise."

Robert O'Malley, who lives right next to the infamous Exorcist steps, said he hoped people would not be looking back at the project "after five years and asking, 'How did that get by?' The Old Georgetown Board brushed us off. They don't have their heads screwed on right. The ANC needs to be more emphatic. Think about the future before it is too late." Shannon Pryor, another Prospect Street resident, cited the natural green strip of land in the back of the properties and added, "You're devaluing our property."

Commissioner Bill Starrels, whose district within the condo project and the Prospect Street homes lie, said the ANC resolution "could have been tougher." Commissioner Tom Birch said that the ANC could ask the Old Georgetown Board to lower the project's height to 40 feet.

EastBanc presented its design for a high-end condo complex at 3601-3607 M Street to the Old Georgetown Board April 7, and was sent back to the drawing board. While some OGB officials agreed with Georgetown architect Robert Bell's opinion that the condos, as drawn, had a look of "Marriott-hotel quality," others found the design unfriendly and uninviting to pedestrians. The OGB did not object to the 50 feet of the condo project. EastBanc modified the design with a more brick look and a more obvious sidewalk and entryway as well as making the rooftop pool area smaller and the penthouses lower.

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

During the same presentation, EastBanc said it had "simplified and cleaned up" its design for the Verizon property at the C&O Canal and Wisconsin Avenue, after OGB review, and added more red brick to the look of the future condos.

The Old Georgetown Board will meet May 5 at 9:15 a.m. at the National Building Museum.

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Mon, 22 Dec 2014 16:21:48 -0500

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