Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CDC Meeting Tomorrow; a new Museum for Downtown?

The next CDC meeting will take place on Wednesday--details are below. The agenda looks to be rather light, but the first item caught our attention: a proposal to redevelop the former National Bank building at 14th and G St. downtown by an organization called "the Armenian Genocide Museum of America". Might DC be getting a new museum in its downtown core (and the second to deal with the unpleasant yet important issue of genocide)?

This project had, admittedly, slipped through our radar. Of course, it's not in the Logan Circle/U St. area we typically cover with this blog, but anyone who has walked along 14th St. into downtown knows that the National Bank building is a building with enormous potential to be redeveloped. With regards to the Museum itself, the museum's website indicates that it "will be the premier institution in the United States dedicated to educating American and international audiences about the Armenian Genocide and its continuing consequences. " The website lists initial plans to develop a 50,000 sf complex with room to expand "before 2011".

Curious to find out more? Attend tomorrow's CDC meeting!

*Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 7:00 PM
The Washington Plaza Hotel
# 10 Thomas Circle, NW*Agenda

*-- Approval of Agenda

-- Concept Review and Zoning Variance Request for a project at the southeastcorner of 14th and G Streets (former Federal American National Bank building)
Owner: Armenian Genocide Museum of America
Presenter: Martinez & Johnson Architecture
The architect will make a concept presentation. The project has beensubmitted to HPRBfor concept review at the March 27 hearing. In addition, this project is requesting a zoning variance regarding exemption from the rear yard requirement.

-- DDOT Public Space Permit for a new driveway at 1050 K Street, NW
Owner: The Lenkin & Tower Company
Presenter: TBA
This Public Space Permit is needed to install a new 20 foot drivewayapron on 11th Street.
Project will also include two new handicap ramps at 11th and K Street corner; new stonepavers along 11th and K Streets; repaving of an alley; and installation of landscaped planters.


Anonymous said...

That proposal has been kicking around for years. First, someone wanted to make that building a museum of the Cold War, then the Armenian group came along a few years ago. I think the story was they don't have very much money and still have to do some fundraising. the building has been sitting like that as long as I've lived here, and it's a shame. It's gorgeous.

Jason said...

I think the museum could be a cool one but like Mr. T said--it's all about funding...I wonder how many groups are currently planning/hoping to put a museum downtown? I know that near the Nats Stadium, city planners were hoping to install some museums.

Anonymous said...

An Armenian Genocide Museum? Talk about appealing to a limited audience. I think a memorial might be more appropiate. I hope something else goes in there. Like some good retail, we could use that more than another museum.

Mr. 14th & You said...

This isn't a political blog, and I don't want to turn this comment thread into that...but I want to respond briefly to "anonymous" above. The museum *sounds* like something that would attract a niche audience, but that's likely due to the fact that the vast majority of us (myself included) are unfamiliar with the Armenian Genocide and what, exactly, it entailed. This was a significant event in world history, and involved peoples in addition to the Armenians who were systematically targeted for extermination in the immediate aftermath of World War I.

American knowledge of history--particularly global affairs during the 20th century--is woeful. I support anything that encourages a broader and deeper understanding of how our world has been shaped during the past century, and a museum such as the one discussed--attempting to explain and promote understanding of an event which so few people today seem familiar with--seems to accomplish that. I would much prefer an institution such as that to take hold rather than the aforementioned "good retail", which would likely include some national chains, some high-end boutiques, and some expensive steahouse and/or asian fusion restaurant. As if we don't have enough of that type of thing in DC already.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here. I disagree completely. This city is wonky enough without the addition of musuem dedicated to the Armenian genocide. What's next? The Rwanda musuem? The Sudan Museum, the Kosovo/Albanian museum? The museum of future genocides to come? I know I sound cynical. I don't mean to take anything away from these atrocities, I asure I am very much involved with charitable giving to some of these conflicts. Maybe we should just have a Genocide musuem to honor all of the Genocides?

Mr. 14th & You said...

"Maybe we should just have a Genocide musuem to honor all of the Genocides?"

No, anonymous, we should build another Nordstrom's. Why bother with promoting the understanding of atrocities and significant events of recent history, when we could be shopping? That's about as non-wonky as you can get, eh?

Mr. 14th & You said...

FYI, I'm turning off comments for this post because, as I mentioned above, this is not a political blog and i don't want it to turn into one. We can be emailed if anyone feels an overwhelming urgency to continue this discussion.