22 West is a nine floor condo building practically overflowing with luxury amenities at the corner of 22 and M Streets downtown. Images on the building’s website show a wondrous world of sun-drenched wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, round and healthy trees built into balconies and a stunning minimalist rooftop pool. The cheapest one-bedroom units go for the mid $800,000s. The most expensive near $4 million. In other words, we’re talking big money here. An attempt at perfect urban living. An investment worth throwing around quite a few dollars.
Unfortunately, even the District’s most deep-pocketed housing tycoons are no match for Exxon. Long before developer EastBanc Inc began constructing its new building, an Exxon station occupied the corner of 22 and M Streets. When it came time to sit down and negotiate the rights for the land, the oil company refused to budge, says EastBanc Executive Vice President Mary Mottershead. For roughly a year, the developers tried to cajole the oil company and station operator to leave. What happened next?
Simply put, this:
Exxon agreed to upgrade their station, which was in need of some new equipment anyway, and EastBanc paid for a new canopy, which is now a green roof, says Mottershead. From their perches above, “none of the residents can even know that there’s an Exxon station there,” she adds. EastBanc has a history of transforming ugly urban vistas into pastoral scenes. In 2004, the company completed construction on similarly sumptuous 3303 Water Street, a Georgetown condominium building overlooking the Potomac, the quaint neighborhood canals and…a Pepco substation building. What did EastBanc do? Let’s just say that project could serve as the model for the image you see above. But, if you want an up close look, says Mottershead, “It’s a 15,000 square foot roof. You can see it from the Whitehurst Freeway, as you’re buzzing by.”