Georgetown Observer September 7, 2011

Washington Harbour's water fountain and pool would become an ice skating rink between November and March.
Washington Harbour's water fountain and pool would become an ice skating rink between November and March.

Washington Harbour Proposes Ice Rink; Arthur Cotton Moore Protests New Designs An ice skating rink has been talked about at Washington Harbour almost since its creation in 1987. Sounds like a great idea, even to Washington Harbour’s original architect, Arthur Cotton Moore, who also created Canal Square on M Street and 31st Street and renovated the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, the Old Post Office building and the Phillips Collection, among others. At the Aug. 29 Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2e) meeting, the current owners of Washington Harbour, MRP Realty, displayed plans for the lower plaza, which includes the water fountain, pool and tower – and an outdoor ice skating rink. Plans for the office-condo complex with its prime spot on the Potomac, seek to “reduce seasonality,” said Charles McGrath of MRP Realty, and make it “more family-friendly” along with minor design changes in the structure itself. Adding white noise to the retail parabola, the fountain would be re-done with programs for water shows as well as become – between November and March – a skating rink (with the Zamboni machine stored in the re-designed base of the tower). Designers of the 11,000-square-foot rink look to ideas from those at the Sculpture Garden, Reston Town Center and Rockefeller Center; it would be the largest ice sheet in D.C. Dockside restaurants will get new cantilever awnings for outdoor bars. Increased foot traffic was a concern, to which McGrath quipped: “Beers are going to have to be more expensive to offset the costs.” 

However, while favoring an ice rink at Washington Harbour, architect Moore brought his own artwork and argued, “Everything can be done without demolition.” In some re-designs, he cited “terrible proportions” and the “uglification of the tower.” Some architectural features of the complex would be removed.

Generally, condo owners and businesses at the complex welcomed the ice rink and other plans -- happy that an owner would be willing to revive and reinvest in the landmark destination. The over-all renovation is estimated at $30 million. Restaurateur Greg Casten was supportive, while condo owner Marty Sullivan disagreed, saying it is “out of scale and out of character” for the place.

Crosses Removed from Iconic Healy Tower After the Aug. 23 earthquake, a crane was sent next to the clock tower of Healy Hall, Georgetown University’s main and landmark building. The crane removed crosses set above the clock face because of worries about stability. The tower and other spires of the building are an icon for all of Georgetown and Washington and can be seen for miles.

“Following post-earthquake structural inspections, three of the crosses on Healy Hall were removed in advance of the projected hurricane,” said Rachel Pugh, director of media relations for the university. “The crosses will be re-installed with new anchors as soon as practical. The removal process involved delicate overhead work and required two cranes. We thank everyone for their cooperation and support as we protect the legacy of Georgetown University.”

Named after university president, Rev. Patrick Healy, S.J., who began its construction in 1877, Healy Hall was designed by the architectural firm of Smithmeyer & Pelz, which also designed the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building.

Student Journalists Arrested Eluding Campus Police, Face Charges  Three Georgetown University undergraduates – Sam Buckley, John Flanagan and Eric Pilch – have been charged with two misdemeanors of destruction of property under $1,000 and unlawful entry. They are suspects in the Aug. 28 damage of Leavey Center offices, as they ran away from officers of the Department of Public Safety. Attempting to see Hurricane Irene damage of the new campus science building, the student journalists were on the top esplanade of the student center. The campus police told them to leave the area due to safety concerns about loose roof material falling off the building which is still under construction. The students ran into the office of the Georgetown Voice, a student campus newsmagazine, and climbed through ceiling panels to escape officers, who called the Metropolitan Police Department. The three damaged that and other student activity offices. Buckley and Pilch surrendered, but Flanagan went through a fourth-story window and fell two stories, breaking his leg, and was sent to the nearby hospital.

Buckley and Flanagan are co-editors of the Voice’s blog, Vox Populi; Pilch has written for the Voice as well. Flanagan is also known outside the college campus for his work as a member of the redistricting working group on the neighborhood’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission. His proposal – which was voted down – advocated three ANC student districts.

Pleading not guilty, Buckley, Flanagan and Pilch have a  Sept. 21 court hearing. Before going through the offices of the Hoya, the other student newspaper, and the Debate Team, the three so severely damaged the Voice office that it could not publish an edition last week, according to the Voice.

Ex-Pelosi Staffer Takes Helm at Georgetown University Public Relations  Former senior aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Stacy Kerr was named Georgetown University’s assistant vice president for communications. Kerr will head up the communications office and serve as the university top spokesperson to the media. She has a decade of experience on Capitol Hill, having worked for Pelosi, before serving as press secretary for Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“I am honored to be joining the exciting community of world-class educators and staff at Georgetown University and to use my background to further its mission of preparing the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the world,” Kerr said in a press release. Kerr succeeds Julie Bataille, who left to become communications director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

ANC Approves K Street Restaurant; Criticizes O Street Homeowner The ANC approved the voluntary agreement and a new application for a liquor license for Malmaison, a restaurant – soon to open at the corner of 34th and K Streets – from the owners of Cafe Bonaparte. The new dessert cafe’s name is a reference to Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison; it can translate into “naughty house” or “ill-fated domain.” The Alcohol Beverage Control protest meeting is scheduled for Sept. 14.

In other design requests, commissioner Jeff Jones showed annoyance at the owner of 3254 O Street. The design for a second story above a back garage was denied, as Jones said that this scheme has bounced around for 10 years. Neighbors of the residence in question left the meeting smiling. Five Guys restaurant was asked to redesign its new awning with fewer “Five Guys” logos (not five) on the umbrella fabric. Designs for a planned four-story condo at Grace Street and Cecil Place was opposed as being out of size and out of whack with the secluded neighborhood.

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