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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Neighbor complaints over another alleyway threaten to hold up construction

Updated Sept. 20 at 7:08 p.m.

Strife with neighbors over a public alleyway has once again put a hitch in GW’s construction plans as Foggy Bottom representatives decided to hold off on approving the University’s latest project.

Stephen Joyce, chairman of the President Condominium on I Street, said Wednesday that tenants are concerned with GW’s plans to widen an alley behind their building. He said construction in the alley could impact parking and trash collection, and said the University hasn’t been clear about its timeline or plans.

“We haven’t really had much discussion,” Joyce said. “We got a nice presentation last November, but the University began prioritizing other projects.”

His concerns threw a wrench into the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s plans to support GW’s plans to build an office complex on Pennsylvania Avenue. The representatives were about to sign a resolution backing the University, paving the way for D.C. Council to also allow GW to move forward.

Florence Harmon, the chair of the ANC, moved to delay the group’s statement until Joyce’s concerns were addressed.

The conflict comes after a skirmish this summer between Foggy Bottom leaders and GW over closing an alley to start building a 12-story megahall on H Street.

David Avitabile, GW’s land use counsel, said the alley widening would allow construction trucks to enter the alley more easily. He said city agencies, like Pepco and D.C. Water, have already signed off on the plan.

Avitabile said all the other surrounding properties have given their thumbs up, and the President Condominium made a written agreement with GW about the alley last year.

“To be honest, I’m surprised to hear all of this,” Avitabile said at the meeting. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to work out the issues in any more detail that they already are now.”

Residents had complained construction would cause noise, traffic and pollution when GW presented its plans for the office complex last year.

The Square 75A construction project, which will demolish a block of buildings and townhouses on Pennsylvania Avenue, comes with a $4.1 million benefits package for neighbors. The University has promised to pay $50,000 to landscape the area around the President Condominium. Construction is slated to begin in 2015 at the earliest.

This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:

The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the name of Stephen Joyce. It also misidentified a quotation from David Avitabile. Additionally, The Hatchet misreported that Florence Harmon moved to delay the ANC resolution to next month’s meeting, but that approval only hinges on Stephen Joyce’s concerns, not a timeframe. We regret these errors.

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