ANC 6C Votes Unanimously to Support MGM Lobby Office Application

Support Follows Substantial Changes to Plans

Rendering of the southern perspective of MGM offices at 501 C St. NE, showing the glass-enclosed staircase. This concept received unanimous support from ANC 6C Wednesday. Image Courtesy MGM Resorts International

At the July meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C, held Wednesday July 12, commissioners voted unanimously to support the Historic Preservation application for the MGM lobbyist offices at 501 C St. NE. The office, housed in an Italianate building built in 1876, is located on the south side of Stanton Park and across the street from Peabody Elementary.

Neighbors had earlier expressed concern about a proposed rooftop deck and the potential for noise pollution resulting from functions that could be hosted there. The commission had also expressed concern about a corridor connecting elements of the building, and especially about an elevator tower that loomed above the cornice of the building.

In a new plan presented at the ANC Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZE) Committee Meeting that took place July 5, MGM had removed the rooftop terrace from the plans. They insisted, however, that the elevator tower was necessary to ensure building compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

On Wednesday, representatives for MGM presented a plan to the ANC containing further alterations. The new plans contain an interior elevator and an exterior, glassed-in staircase that architects said was similar to the one added to the Northeast Library after its recent renovation. Architects said that the plan was also similar to a concept recommended at a meeting between themselves and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS).

Commissioner Scott Price (6C03) asked why the staircase could not be moved to the interior of the building. The architect replied that if the staircase was placed in the interior of the building, the footprint would take up most of an office and, combined with the vertical area required, would result in the loss of three offices total.

Attendees generally expressed support for the revised structure, as did commissioners. Commissioner Price noted that since the DC Government had received ANC 6C assent for the glass-enclosed staircase on the exterior of the Northeast Library, he found it difficult to withhold similar support for a private party despite his misgivings about the design.

MGM representative said that MGM had been trying to be as responsive as possible to comments from the community and the ANC. She noted that the terrace had been removed from the plans after discussions with neighbors.

“But the plans are constantly changing, and they’re constantly changing because we’re trying to be responsive to every bit of input and feedback that we get back.”

She said that there was a conference call last night with commissioners wherein the plans were presented and discussed for about an hour, to which some of the neighbors had been invited.

The architect for MGM noted that the process had worked, but Commissioner Price disagreed.

“On one hand, you’re responsive and that’s great. On the other hand, you give people one day notice. That to me is not a good process. I don’t know what you could have done, because you made a lot of changes,” he said.

"I’m hoping that the relationship with MGM gets better.”

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