WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever wanted to live inside a former movie theater, here’s your chance.
The old Georgetown Theater on Wisconsin Avenue at O Street has been renovated to look like a 1940s-era movie house, although movies haven’t been shown there in decades.
The original, iconic neon theater sign with glowing red letters was taken down, and last summer it was replaced with an exact replica.
But inside, owner and architect Robert Bell says the building has a new purpose.
“We went from about 6,000 square feet of one use with a little balcony above it, to 15,000 square feet, 24-hour use with apartments above [and] offices in the middle,” Bell said.
“Then we have a large space that we hope will be a fantastic restaurant or a extraordinary retail store on the ground floor and the lower floor.”
There are four two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments that Bell wants to rent for $4,500-$5,500 a month. The apartments, which are each about 1,000 square feet, feature spacious living rooms, working fireplaces and, in some cases, private gardens.
The project includes modern elements such as sleek kitchens with stainless steel appliances, but there are also things like balcony rails from the early 1900s.
“I always use old parts in my building whenever possible, so for example, the mantle in one of the top-floor apartments is a 1780s mantle that came from a few blocks away, via Christ Child Opportunity Shop where I picked it up,” Bell said.
Behind the building there’s a beautiful garden and fountain, and a carriage house with more office space.
Bell says he’s heard from several people interested in the large, ground-floor space, and he’s hoping to lease it soon.
The redone theater sign has only been lit a few times since it was installed, but Bell says he will likely let it glow for several hours each day until he lands a main tenant who will decide how often it’s left on.
Bell hopes his project becomes part of a “renaissance” of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.
“Up the block there are I think 5 different businesses which are now remodeling, having plans being approved or about to start construction,” he said.
“Hopefully this is how good money drives out bad.”
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