Local group to protest construction project

Foggy Bottom’s governing group is pledging to protest the University’s plan to build a multimillion-dollar office building when it goes to the city’s zoning board for approval Nov. 15.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted at a rare special meeting Thursday to oppose the new office complex slated for 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. The session was held after the group’s monthly meeting Oct. 17 could not reach a voting quorum and ended abruptly after chairwoman Florence Harmon stormed out after members disagreed on the project.

The commission operates as a liaison between community members and District agencies to give local residents a voice over issues that directly impact them.

“The ANC is the only organization that has great weight, and the zoning commission is supposed to recognized that,” Harmon said at the meeting.

The ANC pushed back on the University’s offer to build a row of affordable housing units along F Street in return for an additional 40,000 square feet of space for the office complex. The University refuted neighborhood concerns, citing traffic and construction reviews conducted by GW’s operations team.

The commissioners agreed that the project must offer community amenities that benefit the neighborhood in return for increased space.

Neighbors proposed locally owned and operated retail space in the new GW structure to replace the restaurants on site that will be forced out – Froggy Bottom Pub, Mehran Restaurant, Panda Café and Thai Place.

“I think that’s the point, is that it’s mom and pop places and not chains,” Harmon said in the commission’s resolution. “We want what we have there now with businesses that are open later – not a dry cleaners that closes up at 5:30.”

The commission also echoed concerns raised by residents of the President Condominium in mid-October. Tenants and landlords of the 2141 I St. building said construction and noise would deter potential renters.

The proposed design for the property includes an alleyway directly adjacent to the condos with a loading dock and 179-car parking garage.

Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight said the University will remain in discussions with neighbors regarding the project “with the goal of addressing the concerns raised at Thursday’s meeting.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.