Monday, November 16, 2009

Hotel Follies Continue in Dupont Circle

Washington DC commercial real estate propertiesThe 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 Andrulis Janezich Architects, Morton Bender, Dupont Circle real estate, retail for leaseHPRB 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


Anton on Nov 16, 2009, 8:23:00 PM said...

According to Wikipedia, in architecture, a "folly" is a building constructed strictly as a decoration, having none of the usual purposes of housing or sheltering associated with a conventional structure. In the 18th century English gardens and French landscape gardening often featured Roman temples, which symbolized classical virtues or ideals. Other 18th century garden "follies" represented Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, or Tatar tents, to represent different continents or historical eras. Sometimes they represented rustic villages, mills and cottages, to symbolize rural virtues. "Folly" is used in the sense of fun or light-heartedness, not in the sense of something ill-advised.

Ken on Nov 16, 2009, 9:40:00 PM said...

Oh, thanks. We used it because the name of the company is N Street Follies. "Futile" might have been more apt, but that would not have tied the title to the story. But thanks.

realWashingtonian said...

According to Merriam Webster's On-Line dictionary, "folly" is defined as "1: lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight;2 a: criminally or tragically foolish actions or conduct b:obsolete : EVIL, WICKEDNESS ; especially : lewd behavior;3: a foolish act or idea; 4: an excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking; 5: an often extravagant picturesque building erected to suit a fanciful taste."

In this case "criminally or tragically foolish actions" might be the most appropriate meaning, as it characterizes well the way that the owner of the land ruthlessly got rid of the previous residents, and also defines the unfortunate result of building a very large, very dense, almost solid, five story box on the rear of those structures -- out of scale with the lovely historic buildings on that charming block of N Street.

poo poo said...

maybe we should call it Folly Towers?

Anonymous said...

If we are speaking of architecture, than "Anton's" definition of "folly" is correct and "Real Washingtonian's" definition is incorrect. If we are speaking of "realWashingtonian" than "realWashingtonian's" definition of "folly" is correct and Anton's is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Oops. N Street Follies Architects forgot to do a proper survey of the property. Plan proposes demolition of a 110 year old party wall half owned by Tabard. Not allowed.

The Follies continue.

Anton on Jan 15, 2010, 2:15:00 PM said...

Opps, Anonymous is wrong on both counts.

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