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Faced with a community that’s of many minds on their proposal for a 227-room luxury hotel, developers Brian Friedman and Matt Wexler have tried to make the building as inoffensive as possible while making good on their investment. In the latest revised submission to the zoning commission, the building’s facade—-which began, several years ago, as an all-glass checkerboard pattern—-has turned into traditional black brick, differing substantially from the July version. In response to neighborhood noise concerns, what used to be an outdoor pool on the third floor has been put inside on the first floor, the Champlain Street lobby has shrunk down, and the top floor has been set back.
The new application also has some world class architect blather to describe what it’ll look like:
A materially contextual response in massing in design, creatively imagined, will foster a sense of community. At street level, a glazed green brick datum will engage with trees and reiterate the landscape. The material response and color scheme of the building’s skin—-brick in black and cream—-will accent the neighborhood’s graceful contours. Seeking neither to borrow nor oppose, this building will be realized intuitively with reverence to existing heritage. The muted presence of a black brick building will recede into shadow and silhouette its surroundings, respecting the aesthetic and cultural heritage of its neighbor. Repetitions of the familiar—brick, double-hung windows, cream and black exteriors—-will resonate with the community. The Addition’s facade, with cream window frames and black sashes, will converse with surrounding architecture and flora, and the deep green of ivy growing against the black exterior will settle eloquently into relief with the landscape.
You’ll barely even notice it, they swear!
It’s unclear that’ll sway local residents, though. Even though they’re willing to waive the use restrictions of their zoning overlay for a hotel, the Reed Cooke Neighborhood Association has steadfastly insisted that the project is simply too big for Champlain Street, and they’re the kind of folks the zoning commission listens to when deciding to grant big exemptions like this project will require.
And yes, if you hadn’t realized already, the hotel will displace the offices of the Washington City Paper.