The saga surrounding five townhouses being converted to a hotel in the middle of Dupont Circle, the former Gralyn Hotel and Woodbine Apartments, continues as DC real estate tycoon Morton Bender, his N Street Follies Ltd. (NSF) and their latest architect, Andrulis Janezich Architects, go before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) this week for review of the developer's newest site plan. In addition to HPRB, the group's plan is pending before the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a special exception to construct a hotel in the Dupont neighborhood; the BZA decision is expected December 8th. For the first time since the property was purchased in 1988, it looks like NSF will be able to secure HPRB approval for a conceptual design with the support of the Dupont Circle Conservancy and the ANC.
Architect Anton Janezich said his team has been working on the design for approximately six months, but indicated he was not well-versed in the previous designs for the site. The plan will leave the historic townhomes at their current height; the architect says the planned rear addition will not be visible from the street. In total the 5 townhomes make up approximately 98 rooms with an estimated 58 below grade parking spaces.
The HPRB staff report gave approval to the revised conceptual design, adding that when/if the BZA approves the necessary exceptions, the staff will work with the architect and developers to move forward on a solid plan for N Street.
In an appearance before the BZA in October, Architect Stan Andrulis said the plan retains "93 percent of the existing buildings" based on square footage. In that meeting, the discussion over the plans and the presentations from both the developers and opponents eventually ran out of time, forcing the BZA to postpone any further discussion or decisions until all parties involved had time to speak at a later date. It remains to be seen whether they can get through it all in December, a minor miracle giving the years of fighting that have taken place until now.
Washington DC Real Estate News