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Georgetown’s West Heating Plant becomes D.C.’s newest historic landmark

The industrial building previously provided steam heat to the city’s federal buildings

Photo via Mr.TinDC

Over two years ago, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) chose not to designate Georgetown’s West Heating Plant a historic landmark, but it looks like it’s changed its mind. The D.C. Preservation League recently nominated the 1948-constructed industrial property for the historic designation, and the HPRB has approved the nomination.

The six-story building, located at 2900 K Street NW, was originally constructed to supplement the Central Heating Plant at 13th and C streets SW. Designed by consulting architect William Dewey Foster, the Georgetown structure was approved in order to provide steam heat to the increasing number of federal buildings in the city.

In the D.C. Preservation League’s historic designation application, they praised the industrial building for its “understated,” streamlined facades of buff-colored brick. The application further reads:

“The building was modern not only in appearance, but in the engineering of its systems and its steel and masonry structure. Furthermore, it was crucial to the federal government’s planning of the nation’s capital, especially the expansion of agency headquarters in the Northwest Rectangle and elsewhere.”

In a Washington Post article published in November 1948, the building was also described as the “most modern heating plant of its kind in the country.”

The planned redevelopment of the West Heating Plant.
Rendering courtesy of The Levy Group and Adjaye Architects

For years now, Washington, D.C.-based developer The Levy Group has planned on redeveloping the West Heating Plant into a 60-unit luxury residential complex with an elevated one-acre public park. Also planned is an exterior steel frame and large metal balconies. Curbed DC reached out to The Levy Group, but did not receive a response back by the time of this article’s publication.

In September 2017, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2E gave support to the project. The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved the concept only a few months prior, while the Old Georgetown Board rejected the plans.

Application for Historic Landmark Designation [Historic Preservation Review Board]

Fresh battle brewing over Georgetown heating plant's historic status [Washington Business Journal]