3000 M Street, NW
Dear Mr. McEneaney:
In its public meeting of 21 April conducted by videoconference, the Commission
of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed concept design for a new mixed-use building at 3000 M Street, NW (case number OG 21-270). The Commission approved the concept submission, adopting the report of the Old Georgetown Board and providing the following comments.
The Commission members expressed support for the new building, which they said would reflect the prevailing architectural variety and scale of the M Street corridor within the Old Georgetown historic district. For the development of the design, they suggested studying several elements of the four building masses along M Street: the character of the one-story segment; the tectonic expression of the brick piers that terminate above the storefronts; and the amount of differentiation among the window proportions and details, particularly for the two easternmost building masses.
The Commission and the Old Georgetown Board look forward to further review of this project. Please coordinate the next submission with the staff, which is available to assist you.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Peter McEneaney, Senior Vice President
25 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
cc: Michael Winstanley, Winstanley Architects and Planners
Encl.: Report of the Old Georgetown Board, 21 April 2022
OG 21-270 (HPA 21-474)
3000 M Street, NW
(Square 1197, Lot 862, 863, 7000 through 7008)
Construction of six-story, mixed-use building plus penthouse
(Reviewed in concept as case # OG 21-270: Sep 2021, Oct 2021, Nov 2021, Dec 2021, Feb 2022)
REPORT: The applicant, Thor Equities, proposes to redevelop the subject property for a new six-story mixed-use building in the former location of the 1980 buildings that most recently housed the Latham Hotel at the south side of the property and Le Madeleine along the M Street frontage. The hotel was closed in 2012 due to extensive water damage, and the building has changed ownership several times since then. An original proposal to renovate and reglaze the hotel tower and redevelop the two-story retail frontage was approved by the OGB and CFA in 2017. A second proposal for an extended-stay hotel use was then reviewed, involving the replacement of the entire hotel tower’s cladding but retaining the existing steel structure, but was also not developed. Demolition of the front retail building and skin began, but work was suspended in 2018, and the tower crane remained in situ until 2021.
Beginning in 2021, the OGB began review of a new proposal for the property—a similar configuration of a tall hotel block at the rear and retail along M Street, but with an entirely new structure to accommodate the higher ceiling heights desired for contemporary hotels. This development team has been through a long but productive review process over the past nine months, resulting in a design resolution that breaks down the scale of the large building into smaller sections: four pieces along M Street of varying heights and architectural character—similar to the development pattern along M Street—each with at-grade retail use and generally with 2 or 3 levels of hotel above. The taller section at the rear, which will have frontage on 30th Street and the historic C&O Canal mule yard (owned by the National Park Service), is 64 feet tall as measured from its M Street frontage, plus a large penthouse structure; its height is mitigated somewhat by step-backs on its elevations.
The OGB’s review has brought about the refinement of the design, which began as a large L-shaped mass at the south and east sides of the site surrounding a single-story retail pavilion facing M Street. The OGB advised that the project massing should be reconfigured in order to bring the height, massing, and scale of the project into harmony with the existing historic context; the OGB urged the applicant to minimize the height of the corner building to three stories, and to incorporate significant separation from the larger tower at the rear and the lower volumes along M Street. The applicant returned with a reconfigured design in which the M Street frontage is articulated as four distinct volumes, with the hotel block located to the rear with minor projections of hotel area to the north above the 3rd level. Concept reviews in late 2021 included guidance to minimize the scale of the rear of the building with a greater setback at the top level of the 30th Street and mule yard facades; the OGB continued to express concerns about the height of the rear tower and penthouse, suggesting that some of that program should be eliminated to allow the penthouse to drop in height, and the OGB recommended against extensive rooftop terraces.
At its meeting on 3 February 2022, the OGB recommended approval of the concept design with conditions for specific adjustments at the one-story M street facade; at the recess between the volumes along 30th Street; to resolve the geometries of corners and step-backs at the upper levels of the hotel, particularly at the southeastern corner; and to coordinate window types between the front and rear of the tower. The applicant submitted revised documentation that addresses these comments.
RECOMMENDATION: NO OBJECTION to concept design for the construction of a six-story, mixed- use building, per supplemental materials received 13 April 2022. File design-development submission at DCRA with detailed and dimensioned drawings for review by the Commission.