ANC Update: GSA on Heating Plant Sale; Safeway Traffic; 'It's Not About Macaroons'
Georgetown's and Burleith's advisory neighborhood commission (ANC2E) met Jan. 3 at Georgetown Visitation Prep. Among other updates, here are the main headlines:
Tim Sheckler of the General Services Administration explained the process of the impending sale of the West Heating Plant on 29th Street, just south of the C&O Canal. Future bidders, such as those from the Levy Group and EastBanc, and a Fox5 News camera were also in the room. As it is designated Federal property, the plant and its land will be sold to the highest bidder "as is, where it is" in an online auction. The future buyer must contend with any cleanup, and the land is unzoned. GSA will simply sell the property without regard to its future use. There is no federal transfer to consider, Sheckler said, and there is no "financial angel" to pass the land to D.C. and its community for greater future control. Developers already have plans for the site which include condos in the plant building and parkland to the south at K Street and Rock Creek. (The Levy Group with partners which include the Fours Seasons Hotel Corporation has a comprehensive plan for such redevelopment.) A Jan. 26 public scoping meeting is planned for the community. The property will be marketed in the spring with an approved sale expected by August.
Safeway's Craig Muckle talked to the group about traffic concerns at its south entry on Wisconsin Avenue. The light for cars leaving the store get a left-turn green and then a right-turn green. The sequence leaves some cars waiting a little longer for their desired turns. (There is a north entry from the garage as well.) Some wondered whether an additional lane could be made for separate left and right turns onto Wisconsin Avenue; others said that would having pedestrians crossing three lanes at the sidewalk. Safeway and the District's transportation department will discuss the three-lane exit option; the ANC will comment on that decision then.
Macaron Bee, coming to 1669 Wisconsin Avenue, got approval for its tri-fold window from the Old Georgetown Board with re-design requests. Shopkeepers plan to sell pricey macaroons (that's the English spelling) to sidewalk sweets-lovers. The design is fine, but its intent is under scrutiny. That window could be used to sell almost anything and cause a noisy crowd along the sidewalk. Maurine Littleton, whose gallery is next to the new macaron shop, said she did not like the arrangement and added, "It's not about macaroons." Littleton, Kathleen McGarrah of the French Apartment and others said they preferred that customers go into the store to buy their cookies and coffee. The commissioners appeared sympathetic but wanted "to give the business a chance." Without mentioning the sidewalk service window, the ANC resoluton supported Macaron Bee's re-designs.