Monday, February 18, 2008

Commerce Comes to Georgetown

Commerce Bank, Georgetown, Washington DC, TD Bank, Commission on Fine Arts, Georgetown Retail for lease
Commerce Bank
, the east coast financial institution, is patiently waiting for demolition and construction permits to build their newest location at 1611 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, the site of the former Reed Electric building. The bank, acting as its own developer, expects to receive permits by the end of March and plans to get in the ground shortly thereafter (surely, permitting in Georgetown will be easy). The new bank will sit on the north side of the lot, measure 29 feet in height, and house roughly 4,000 s.f. of space, fronting Wisconsin Avenue. Customers will have access to a parking lot on the lot's southern end.
 "We are interested in developing there because we have had great success in the Metro D.C. area. 

Commerce Bank seeks sites from a retailer's perspective -- focusing on high-traffic, high-visibility sites to develop stores and expand our network of convenient locations. We feel there is a need for our unique type of retail banking in Georgetown," said Rebecca Acevedo for Commerce Bank. Before any construction begins, contractors will first have to demolish the Reed Electric building to clear the way for the two-story bank, which is planned to tie in to the spirit of the Georgetown's classic rowhouse architecture. According to Jim Clark, principal in charge at MTFA Architecture, the firm responsible for the new bank's design, the building's facade will appear to be modern but will "take the rhythm" from the surrounding neighborhood. "The building is regarded as the gateway to Georgetown by the Commission of Fine Arts. The front of the building continues the rhythm of bays from the adjacent row houses, and it is a friendly, modern neighbor to the historic context of Georgetown. The building’s exterior is composed of brick, glass, steel and stainless steel trellises. The great expanse of glass allows the two-story interior to be visible from the exterior which is one of Commerce Bank’s signature features on their bank designs," Clark added. The site is currently zoned C-2-A, so construction will be done as a matter of right, but in addition to the usual list of governing bodies, ie. local ANCs, BZA, etc., the project had been reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts, which reviews projects particularly in historic Georgetown, as well as the Old Georgetown Board, which 'helped' refine its design. Commerce's development team is currently working with three bidders vying to build the bank, but in the spirit of the financial services industry, they have decided to keep the details to themselves. Other potential bidders have little less than a month to make an offer before the March 4 submission deadline.

Washington DC retail news


Anonymous said...

will there be a drive-thru?

David on Feb 19, 2008, 10:42:00 AM said...

Sadly, there will not.

David Garber on Feb 20, 2008, 11:40:00 AM said...

no drive through? that is awesome.

a drive-through in Gtown would be ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

that rendering is sort of .... wrong.

i bought all of the lights for my house from there.

it's toward the top of the 'hill', and there's a bunch of greenery behind it, not 'clear skies'.

but hey, renderings are just that - renderings.

i still think it's a wierd place for a commerce bank though.

there's nothing up there but a 24 hour cafe, antique shops, long and foster agency, and... umm... some other crap.

if they want pedestrian traffic, they shoulda relocated to the old riggs bank site on the corner of M and wisconsin.

or in the building on the corner of wisconsin and K (although it's really too big).

ANYHOO... i guess that's why i'm not in the real estate biz. ;op

Anonymous said...

That is the second site on Wisconsin Avenue that they are taking. I thought they would slow down after the sale, but they seem to be rolling and the subprime mess is not impacting them at all.
Anyways, they are also doing site work for a location just north of Tenleytown.
Thanks for posting this.


Anonymous said...

Why oh why do we need another bank? Banks don't bring anything to the community. And this is a historic section of Georgetown known as Book Hill with lots of unique stores, salons and cafes. A bank bring NOTHING! First the Japan Inn building becomes a bank and now depressing.

Anonymous said...

Having recently moved to Georgetown from Colorado, I am always amazed by the moribund reactions of the vocal "locals" to any change, irrespective of its positive nature. The old Reed Electric building has been a derelict for at least five years. The retaining wall behind it is falling, and the uncared-for building is generally pulling down the area. Banks are clean and responsible businesses. They draw great customers. Book Hill has been doing so well the last couple of years, and the new bank will serve as the foundation for the Hill.

Instead of criticizing a clean and responsible new business, why don't we try to clean up the garbage associated with the rat infested neighboring restaurants? Come on people, WAKE UP! We should welcome Commerce Bank to our neighborhood--I do.


Anonymous said...

I dont see how the "New modern" architecture fits in with the "Row house" look of Gtown! Nice way to cover up crappy design!

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