The following was written by PoPville contributor David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings.
Photo of the Gryphon in July 2017 from google street view
A team of developers briefed Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont at its regular monthly meeting February 14 on its plans for the proposed “Penelope Hotel” at 1337 Connecticut Avenue NW, south of Dupont Circle. The space currently hosts “The Gryphon” bar and restaurant.
Photo by David McAuley
As currently planned, the hotel will have 73 “keys” and space for a bar/restaurant on the Connecticut Avenue. Since it is located on a wedge-shaped block, it will have entrances both on Connecticut Avenue and 18th Street.
Felipe Serpa, Development Manager at Valor Development, told the ANC the developers were close to a deal with a hotel operator and would be “back in front of you guys” when the deal was finalized.
The purpose of the briefing was to present the construction schedule and let the ANC know about possible disruptions to Dupont life, such as the closing of traffic lanes on 18th Street and when construction cranes will be used. The developers are adding an additional floor to the existing five-story building.
Exterior construction work is scheduled to begin on April and end in February 2019.
The plan presented to the ANC said a crane would only be onsite for three Saturdays between April and June. On these days, one lane of 18th Street will be closed. The presenters said the project would maintain a minimum width of eight feet of sidewalk space on the Connecticut Avenue side at all times.
An inspector for the solid waste division of DC’s Department of Public Works, who has appeared at this and several other ANC meetings to introduce herself, took an opportunity after the presentation to remind the developers about some of the details on properly disposing of construction debris and display of appropriate permits.
A 2014 article in the Washington Business Journal says Valor Development planned in 2013 to add an additional story to the building and convert the top two floors to eight luxury condominiums. However, at the time of the article’s publication, Valor had a new plan, this time to convert the two upper stories to 21 “microunits” with no parking provided.
In November 2017, DC Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward Two) introduced a bill that would provide a tax abatement of $200,000 per year for ten years, beginning 2020, to the Penelope Hotel. See the text of the bill here. The bill has been referred to the DC Council on Finance and Revenue.
The briefing from Valor Development was purely informational and ANC2B did not vote on the matter.