Neighborhood amenities will be offered as part of the redevelopment project.
George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc on Tuesday emphasized the importance of good neighbor relations and open dialogue while introducing himself to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2A, a group that represents area neighbors and provides recommendations on issues that affect the community.
Understanding a university has an impact on its neighborhood, Dr. LeBlanc said he wants to make sure that it is a positive one, with neighbors continuing to have access to many university-sponsored events and resources.
“I want to be a good neighbor to Foggy Bottom as president,” he said.
Dr. LeBlanc also told commissioners that while he has plenty more to learn about the area, he and his wife, Anne, are settling into the neighborhood and are enjoying exploring their new surroundings.
“When I say we live in the neighborhood, we really live in the neighborhood,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “We’re across the street from 1,000 freshmen.”
In a separate update Tuesday, the ANC heard more about plans for 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue and Rice Hall, which will be redeveloped by Boston Properties, under a long-term ground lease from the university, into a mixed-use property including office and retail space similar to The Avenue.
Boston Properties will offer several public amenities as part of the project, after having consulted with the ANC on neighborhood needs. It will offer funding for improvements identified by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for the existing Foggy Bottom Metro Station entrance as well as fund significant improvements to several area parks.
The university also provided an update on relocation planning for administrative offices currently housed in Rice Hall.
Commissioners expressed appreciation for the amenities identified and voted to adopt a letter of support for a filing with the Zoning Commission.
Also Tuesday, the ANC heard from community members concerned about a proposal to install a helipad at George Washington University Hospital. The commission ultimately voted to postpone the issue for further discussion after GW Hospital and the commission could not come to a consensus on the language of the agreement. The hospital is jointly owned and operated by a partnership between the university and a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.