| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed

Development News

After years of neglect, former Georgetown Theater coming back to life

The Georgetown Theater in 1913, when it was called the Dumbarton

The former Georgetown Theater will reopen next year, but not as the movie venue it once was. Instead, owner/developer Robert Bell last month began the transformation of the building, 1351 Wisconsin Avenue NW, into a three-story mixed-use project.
Located in the Georgetown Historic District at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and O Street, the original two-story building was the Dumbarton Theatre. It was renamed The Georgetown around 1949 and covered in formstone around the same time. The theater closed in 1986.

Bell, of Robert Bell Architects, says that he'll restore the exterior but cut the interior, adding a basement and third floor.
“A new structure will be built within the historic structure,” Bell says of the project that, with, purchase price and construction costs, he estimates will cost over $7 million.
Bell bought the property in 2013 and settled on it in August of 2014. He says he has approved development plans, “although there are still few things that have to be signed off on. I have four building permits. I need two more, all of which are in the works.”
Bell’s schedule called for interior demolition in August, excavation for underpinnings in September and construction of the new interior steel work by November. He says he will use sustainable design principles for the interior.
“The exterior façade will look like it did in 1945, with a big neon sign that says ‘Georgetown’ and a canopy for a theater,” says Bell.
He added, though, that “I doubt it will be a movie theater. That’s not profitable unless a movie mogul comes along.  I’m looking for the ideal tenant who can use ‘Georgetown’ as a brand.”
The first floor and basement levels will become either retail or an office. The second floor will be commercial as well, for offices. The third floor will be for residential use, probably four units, plus one residential unit in the carriage house behind the building, for a total of five rental units. 

Read more articles by Barbara Pash.

Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts