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The West Heating Plant Goes Up for Auction Friday Morning

It’s one of the last large parcels of land in Georgetown.

The West Heating Plant goes up for auction Friday morning. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

The General Services Administration’s online auction of the West Heating Plant building and land in Georgetown starts Friday at 9 AM. To the government the 110-foot Art Deco plant on 2.08 acres of land is surplus property. But to a number of developers it represents a challenging but potentially gleaming opportunity; it is one of the most valuable undeveloped pieces of real estate in Georgetown. How long the auction lasts will depend on the number of bids—it could last several weeks—and will officially close 24 hours after bidding has ceased, according to GSA.

The bidding will happen eBay style on a GSA website. The registration deposit is $500,000, the starting bid is $500,000, and bid increments are a minimum of $200,000.

What it will become is anybody’s guess, but the term “mixed use” comes up in almost every discussion. The adjacent Four Seasons Hotel has long eyed the property for conversion into condominiums. Some neighbors and community groups, including Ward 2 council member Jack Evans, have proposed that part of the land be set aside for a public park. In addition, whoever becomes the purchaser will have a range of zoning and environmental regulations to navigate. Also, because it is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the developer will have to please two very tough architectural review boards: the Old Georgetown Board and the US Commission of Fine Arts.

As to when the winning bid will be announced, GSA’s Mafara Hobson says, “we won’t have a date until the bidding activity stops after a period of 24 hours after the closing date, and at that point we can announce the winner.”

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