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.”