Eastbanc's plans for the Georgetown Post Office have faced several recent setbacks, first the Office of Planning (OP) decided that a commercial use was not appropriate and now the Old Georgetown Board (OGB) had plenty to criticize about the new residential design. The new planned structure will be a three-story residential building, home to nine condos to meet OP's demands. CORE Architect's project architect, Guy Martin, faced the OGB Thursday and left without project approval.
Before they got to work, board member Stephen Vanze commented, “You're able to get a lot done in a month,” in reference to the quick switch from commercial to residential designs. when the design still called for a commercial building, Vanze told Martin that his initial impression when looking at that plan was "this is perfect."
Other OGB members also commented favorably on the earlier design in November. Anne Lewis said the design was "elegantly done" and that the commercial building plan was the "right thing to do here."
Unfortunately for Martin and his client Eastbanc, the love affair ended Thursday.
"I’m bothered about how it looks right now," said David Cox.
The concerns largely focused on the shift from the new building being of a supportive and secondary nature in design to having its own unique presence. The previous plan for the building included a glass hyphen connecting the new structure to the existing Post Office building. "The success of the [previous] scheme was that it had a hyphen," commented Lewis. The new building exists as its own and is more"expressive" as Vanze put it.
In addition to the negative feedback on the design and requests for further elevation studies, a neighbor attended the meeting to protest the project and to offer a petition from others in opposition to the current design. Neighbors are concerned about the modern design in addition to privacy issues, noise and foot traffic.
The board members acknowledged that Martin and Eastbanc have been pulled in different directions and are getting conflicting marching orders. Just the same, the OGB asked the team to reevaluate the design.
“You came in with such a beautiful scheme. The standard that you set for yourself was so high," said Vanze.
With reporting from Alaisha Key.