Neighbor warns Hillel construction could interfere with next-door Episcopal Church

The GW Hillel building will be demolished this summer. The new space will feature a ground-floor entrance, instead of steps, which Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth hopes will be more inviting to students. Hatchet File Photo.
A 145-year-old church on 23rd Street could be crowded out by the GW Hillel’s multi-million dollar construction, a Foggy Bottom neighbor warned Wednesday.

Sara Maddux, a longtime resident, raised concerns that the Hillel’s redevelopment could block the “air and light” surrounding St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, located at the corner of 23rd and H streets.

She added that the construction site is just blocks away from the Science and Engineering Hall site, which has clogged up traffic.

“Poor St. Mary’s has already faced damages because of GW [construction],” Maddux said.

Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, Hillel’s executive director, outlined plans for the new space, which will be about 25,000 square feet, at the meeting.

The building would have four floors above ground, two of which GW would rent.

Director of Campus Planning Susie Cora said construction on Hillel could possibly interfere with existing construction on the Science and Engineering Hall, but that GW would arrange so that sidewalk closures would not overlap.

The renovations would make Hillel the “hub and home” for their 3,000 undergraduate members, Kaiser-Bluth said.

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