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Responses to Loose Lips columnist Jeffrey Anderson’s explanation of how and why the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility hasn’t delivered the cost savings it promised (“Power Outage,” Sept. 8) came in the form of numbers. Edward Yim, associate director of the District Department of Energy and the Environment’s Policy and Compliance Division, left a comment with statistics suggesting that energy consumption has decreased significantly in the city, given population growth. Those figures weren’t enough to convince everyone, however. Commenter In Shock! wrote: “The city is getting reamed by the SEU, got reamed by solar contractors … what a joke.”
Responses to Andrew Giambrone’s article on developers’ efforts to register the Fannie Mae building on Wisconsin Ave. NW as a historic landmark (“Preserve Judgment,” Sept. 8) were also divided. Observers on both sides of the issue responded with passion.
“This fake-colonial building is strikingly ugly, and we would do a lot better putting up something attractive,” bohrer commented on our website. On Twitter, Greater Greater Washington’s Neil Flanagan (@jg_bollard) called the landmarking “an abuse of historic preservation laws.” In response, @OpulenceHazIt explained in jest that the building is “a contributing structure. In that it contributes to Ward 3’s suburban whiteness.” Flanagan also compared the Colonial Revival style to smooth jazz. (Does that make architect Leon Chatelain Jr. the Kenny G of D.C.?) One of the most scathing critiques came from City Paper’s own Concrete Details columnist, Amanda Kolson Hurley (@amandakhurley). She tweeted: “Since when did warmed-over Colonial Revival from the 1950s get landmarked? If Ward 3 would rather keep a massive mediocrity bc it’s familiar than consider ANY new building, things are worse than I thought.”
Others offered a round of applause for the developer. “Bravo, Roadside Development, for not erasing a placemaking landmark, given how many landmarks that already have historic preservation ‘protections’ are sacrificed to the God of Development by the District government,” commenter aerie wrote.
Would that be a reference to the Spring Valley parking lot controversy of 2015? In a strange coincidence, the architecture of both the Fannie Mae HQ and the Spring Valley shopping center refers to the historic structures of Williamsburg, Virginia. We invite the readers who love Upper Caucasia’s retro, lily white vibe to drive south and see the real thing.
Here in D.C., the battle over boring brick buildings continues on Oct. 26 when the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board considers the petition. —Caroline Jones