Resistance by the Old Georgetown Board may delay the target August opening date for the proposed 7-Eleven store at 1344 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
In an April 4 meeting, the OGB voted down the proposal for the new convenience store citing multiple concerns, the foremost of which was the obstruction of many of the store’s windows.
“Virtually every window facing the street is blocked,” Thomas Luebke, an OGB spokesperson, said. “There was very little sense of transparency. That was the number one issue.”
OGB asked 7-Eleven to reconfigure the interior arrangement of the store as well as the main entrance to increase the number of unobstructed windows.
Luebke said that the store’s prominent location in Georgetown made the board especially sensitive toaesthetics.
“This is pretty much at the heart of the commercial district,” he said. “It’s difficult to make these historic buildings work for a modern convenience store.”
A 7-Eleven was previously housed at 1600 Wisconsin Ave. NW, but the store closed down several years ago and was later replaced by Edible Arrangements.
The OGB meeting was not the first time the proposed convenience store chain met resistance from local residents.
At an April 1 ANC 2E meeting, Commissioner Bill Starrels described aspects of the 7-Eleven building proposal as “trashy.”
Architect Robert Bell, whose firm is located on 3218 O St. NW, expressed concern about the types of customers that the store would attract.
ANC 2E Commissioner Tom Birch told the hoya that he was not opposed to the 7-Eleven, provided that the store’s design did not attract too much attention.
“It should have a very low profile and fit in comfortably with the commercial aspect of Wisconsin Avenue,” Birch said. “I think the people who own the building have decided [that] this is the tenant they want to sell it to, so we’ll make the best of it.”
7-Eleven will revise its proposed interior plans and resubmit them to the OGB.
“I have no reason to think [that] it won’t go forward, but it will continue [to be] reviewed,” Birch said. “I think [that] it will be a few months before reviews become final and 7-Eleven gets the building permits.”
Representatives of 7-Eleven had not responded to requests for comment by press time.