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GSA Finds Buyer for Long-Vacant Plant in Washington

Auction-winning partnership will build Four Seasons Hotel residences and park in Georgetown.

The squat heating facility that has speckled the Northwest Washington skyline for more than six decades and is part of the General Services Administration’s real estate portfolio finally has a buyer, the agency announced on Tuesday. GSA is selling the property for conversion into residences by Four Seasons Hotels and a public park.

GSA accepted a $19.5 million bid from a partnership called Georgetown 29K LLC to purchase and remove GSA’s “For Sale” sign from the long-vacant Georgetown Heating Plant. More than 10 years ago it generated heat for federal buildings. The property later became a political football in debates between Congress and the agency over GSA’s approach to unloading unneeded federal properties.

“The Georgetown Heating Plant sale is the latest action in our efforts to get excess federal properties off our books while creating savings for taxpayers,” said Dan Tangherlini, GSA acting administrator. “GSA remains committed to using innovative ways to put excess properties to new uses. We are hosting auctions, requesting industry input and offering proposed exchanges, which helps us to deliver on our mission to provide better value to the American people.”

The online auction that lasted from Jan. 18 to March 6 produced at least five bids, and the buyer now has 10 days to put down a deposit and take title by June 12.

After three years of planning, “our priorities have not changed,” said Richard Levy, managing principal of the Levy Group, one of the partnering companies. The goal is to “transform the West Heating Plant into an attractive and contributing building that complements and respects the neighborhood, and create a new park that links the [C&O] Canal and Rock Creek Park with the fabulous Georgetown Waterfront Park,” he said. “We look forward to working with the Four Seasons, Strategic Hotels and Resorts, [the District of Columbia] Office of Planning and the National Park Service, as well as the broader Georgetown community, to make this dream a reality.”

The partnership has been working with design architect David Adjaye and landscape architect Ignacio Bunster.

"We are proud that Four Seasons Private Residences Washington D.C. will be a key component of this transformative community project," said Craig Reid, president of Hotel Operations—Americas for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Noting the support of local leaders, the partnership’s announcement included a comment from D.C. Council Member Jack Evans, who said “this long-neglected property in such a prominent location will receive the careful attention it deserves . . . I know that the Georgetown community is with me on this.”