GDS intentions for the two mixed use buildings are also now clearly stated on the website: "GDS plans to lease or sell the Wisconsin Avenue portion of the site to a developer who will construct two retail/residential buildings."
We are the Wisconsin Avenue Gateway Group (WAGG), Tenleytown residents who have significant concerns about the development project proposed by our neighbor, the Georgetown Day School (GDS). As members of the Tenleytown community, we seek a meaningful voice at the table as plans are drawn.
We’re pleased to have this well-respected school in our community. But we’re closely monitoring GDS plans for its recently acquired properties, the Safeway site along Ellicott and 42nd Streets and the Martens auto dealerships and two office buildings along Wisconsin Avenue.
To date GDS has presented an ambitious project that ANC3E chair Jon Bender describes as “by far the biggest project that has come to this area.” GDS proposes to more than double the present school population from 500 to 1200 students and erect two high-rise (80 ft – 95 ft 9 in) retail/residential buildings that house 270-290 apartment units. Both components augur considerable impacts on the character of the neighborhood, on the daily lives of its residents, and on commuter traffic along the two major corridors that flank the project: River Road and Wisconsin Avenue.
We favor active development along this segment of the Wisconsin Avenue gateway to our nation’s capital. We welcome new shops, eateries and housing in mixed-use retail/residential buildings as the way to maintain a dynamic community. We look to GDS to build something great for both the school and for our neighborhood. We are concerned that GDS’s development plan, in its current form, fails to do that.
GDS plans to file for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) to obtain zoning variances and other permissions in order to accomplish stated project goals. To gain approval for a PUD the developer must provide significant community benefits to offset adverse effects, for example, increased traffic, density, and building height. We have yet to see significant benefits.
We invite all community members interested in the future of our shared neighborhood to review the WAGG website and participate in the discussion with GDS.