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Long-Planned West Heating Plant Redevelopment Files New Zoning Application

A rendering of the West Heating Plant redevelopment in Georgetown

The team behind Georgetown's West Heating Plant project is approaching the latest in a series of hurdles in its six-year effort to redevelop the World War II-era plant. 

The Levy Group and its partners, through the entity Georgetown 29K Acquisition LLC, filed a map amendment application with the Zoning Commission Thursday to establish mixed-use zoning on the site at 29th and K streets NW.

The team, which also includes New York-based Georgetown Co. and Four Seasons Residences, is planning to turn the property into a 60-unit condo building with a 1-acre public park. The 2-acre property does not have a zoning classification because it was previously owned by the federal government. 

The plant was decommissioned in 2000 and the Levy Group team acquired it from the government in a 2013 auction. The six years since have been filled with public meetings and approval processes. The team in 2017 received approval from the Commission of Fine Arts after three tries. In January, the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation approved the project. 

Richard Levy, head of the Levy Group, said the Mayor's Agent approval was the biggest hurdle to clear, and he is now working to secure financing and hopes to break ground by January.  

"We knew it was going to be difficult," Levy said. "We did not know it was going to take this long, but it took time for the community to really understand and embrace it." 

The latest application, first reported by UrbanTurf, appears to be one of the final hurdles the team needs to clear. The timeline section on the project's website lists six public bodies the project needs to go through before breaking ground, with the Zoning Commission listed as the final one after the Mayor's Agent. 

"The redevelopment of the property will be made possible only with the proposed zoning map amendment since the property is unzoned and otherwise would not allow for construction," said the application, signed by Goulston & Storrs attorneys Allison Prince and Cary Kadlecek. "The zoning map amendment will allow for an active reuse of the historic WHP site, which is pervasively contaminated and has sat vacant and abandoned for nearly 20 years." 

UPDATE, MARCH 22, 4:10 P.M. ET: This story has been updated to include comments from Levy.