As president of CAG I participate in many meetings. Recently CAG hosted a meeting at the CAG office with 20 concerned neighbors and ANC2E Commissioner Monica Roache regarding new developments at the former Georgetown Residence at 2512 Q St. The building, where many Georgetowners spent their final years, is being converted into a short-term rental apartment with a minimum rental term of 30 days. The owner, Holladay Properties, has terminated the occupancy of the retired tenants to permit renovation of the 96 units in the building. We understand that the owner has offered to readmit the retirees once the renovations have been completed, but there will be no kitchen or food service within the building. Rents will surely increase, making it even more difficult for the retirees to return. As of February, the website still stated the building would remain a retirement home after its renovation. However in December 2015, the Holladay Company announced to a few neighbors that this wasn’t the case.
The major concern expressed by the neighbors (pictured above with me [in vest], Monica Roache [left of me], John Lever, CAG Historic Preservation Chair [yellow tie], and Eileen McGrath [hidden from view]), was that the apartment building has only 11 parking spaces, and that many of the new, more transient, tenants of the restored building will have automobiles that will occupy already congested parking lanes in the area. It is also likely that some of these tenants will seek to obtain Ward 2 parking permits. Also, many short-term tenants may use vans to bring furniture to the building, creating congestion at the entrances to the building.
Solutions to these congestion issues are not easy to solve. Fewer apartments and longer lease minimums would be a better fit for this part of the historic neighborhood. If the Holladay Properties were to make significant alterations to the interior units, which currently are small (350 to 500 square feet) apartments, there may be grounds to require them to apply for approval for these modifications from the DC Office of Planning. If the exterior of the building were modified, they would need to seek approval by the HPRB and the Old Georgetown Board (Commission of Fine Arts). Already the owner has indicated that they will replace the windows of the building, which will require such approval.
On another matter, thanks to board member Victoria Rixey, volunteer consultant Tara Sakraida Parker, and pro bono attorney John Lynham at Foley and Lardner LLP, CAG is starting an exciting – and much needed – planned giving and major gift program. CAG offers a range of programs that are free of charge to residents of Georgetown. These programs include Concerts in the Parks, monthly public meetings on issues of importance to residents, our monthly newsletter, and advocacy and support for residents who feel that development projects may contradict historic preservation, zoning standards, or quality of life – such as the situation described above.
These activities require staff support, office space, equipment maintenance and supplies. The annual membership fees and proceeds from fundraising events such as the annual CAG Gala do not cover all these costs. Because many dedicated CAG members may want to help CAG protect our historic neighborhood and improve our residential community in the future, we are instituting a planned giving program. Please see Victoria Rixey’s article on page 6 for more information.
I look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting on May 24 at Georgetown Visitation to honor outstanding Georgetowners!
Bob vom Eigen,