For about the last three years, many Georgetown residents have wondered what is going to happen with the steel skeleton that sits on the corner site.
The steel structure on the site is all that is left of what was The Latham Hotel. When the hotel closed, the property was initially sold to the development firm SB Urban. The company originally planned to replace the hotel with so-called micro-unit short-term residences but instead sold the property to Thor Equities, the current owner. In turn, Thor Equities has proposed a mixed-use building of retail, dining, and lodging.
Several years ago, Thor Equities received approval to go forward with the hotel and retail project that reused the existing structure and kept it at its original height.
Zoning for the site allows a 50-foot maximum height, consistent with the other buildings along the M Street commercial district. However, in the spring of 2020, Thor returned with a new proposal for a much larger and taller hotel building that would demolish the existing structure. This larger project requires zoning relief. This revised proposal from Thor was resisted by the Old Georgetown Board. Since then, Thor has submitted additional proposals – none of which has been approved.
Thor is expected to present another proposal for the OGB review in October, but those who have seen that new proposal say it does not address OGB recommendations made in September. These are the recommended changes by the OGB which CAG supports:
• Refine massing, height, and scale;
• Remove two stepped up glass boxes of massing above the palazzo;
• Reduce scale of the corner four-story palazzo massing, so it reflects the townhouse wide existing massing along M Street;
• The height of the palazzo should be three stories, not four;
• The glass pavilion should be revised to better reflect the geometry of volumes in Georgetown;
• The height of the south massing bar cannot exceed the size of the existing structure;
• Step back the upper floors of the south massing bar to reduce the impact of the project on the mule yard;
• Rethink proposed terraces;
• Work with the National Park Service as the design develops
In other words, that skeleton of a building on the corner of M Street & 30th Street is likely to remain in place for some time to come as the approval process seems likely to drag on.
P.S. At least the unsightly crane that loomed over the site was removed earlier this year.