At the Old Georgetown Board meeting Thursday, Anthony Lanier of EastBanc, Inc. stood before a group of objecting neighbors and the board commissioners saying he, too, objected to the current design of his planned condo building for the Exxon site at 3601 M St.
This was the third time the EastBanc building had been before the OGB and this time it returned with a from the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
One neighbor after another made fervent appeals to the OGB Thursday, expressing concerns over the height and massing of the building, over the design and the buildings role as a "gateway" to Georgetown. One new objection was that the building's industrial design would fit in more along the industrial waterfront area along K Street than it would on M Street.
After all neighbors had had their say, EastBanc's Anthony Lanier took his turn to object to his own project.
"...The design that we are objecting to, including myself, in many aspects and perhaps including our esteemed architect, is a function of combination," said Lanier, suggesting the design has suffered through the review process.
He added that they had to create the "lowest effect of the building equally for all and that ends up being a flat box," which gives it the "Marriott" quality local architect David Bell had complained about.
Lanier said he is "happy to abandon that process" of accommodating through the design.
He did, however, make it clear that the size and the massing were a matter of right for development by the property owner and that those aspects of the plan would not change.
The property owner "has the right to this box," said Lanier, referring to the matter of right development of a 50 foot building for the site.
"We'll come back with a building that addresses many people's concerns and, if I'm lucky, it won't look like this," said Lanier.
The OGB provided feedback for the project the help with the next phase of the design.
Commissioner Anne Lewis took the lead and said flatly, “I think the project has gotten worse.” She seemed to embrace the move to start a-new.
Lewis said she would not object to an industrial style building, but that "there's no rhythm, beauty or elegance of how these pieces have been assembled," in the current plan.
Additional comment included a strong urging to create a public park area into which the building does not or hardly protrudes so that the historic stone wall to the rear of the property is fully visible.
Lewis also said the "entire roof system is not successful" and that she would like there to be no activity there at all.
“There are going to be fat people in bikinis out there and nobody wants to see them,” she commented.
Stephen Vanze echoed Lewis's analysis and closed, saying, "we look forward to a perhaps more picturesque and varied design on your next visit.”
Lanier's other project before the board Thursday, received conceptual approval for a residential project there.