The former Bourbon restaurant in Glover Park at 2348 Wisconsin Avenue has sat vacant and increasingly dilapidated since closing in October 2015. Owner of the restaurant as well as the building, Bill Thomas (also owner of Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Adams Morgan under the auspices of Whiskey Ventures LLC), pondered plans over the last six years for a new and larger restaurant, at first estimating that it would be closed only for 10 months. Since then, he has faced the challenges of a small century-old building as well the Office of Tax and Revenue which repeatedly attempted to impose punitive vacant property taxes. One could assume that two years of Covid-World had an effect on such plans as well.
Mr. Thomas hired architect Eric Gronning in 2019 to sketch re-design plans for the new restaurant, which would have been re-named Rosebud. As the years ticked by and property taxes mounted, he eventually abandoned the restaurant plans this year and surrendered his liquor license a few months ago. Now, in quite an unusual move, he plans to convert the property from commercial to residential and build a four-level single family home. It is rare to see a property in a dense commercial strip like ours on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park transformed to a single residential unit, as it goes against the assumption of “highest and best use.” The townhouse is flanked by a massage parlor to the right, and a large restaurant (the closed Social Beast) to the left.
The new house will have three above-ground levels with a rear roof deck, a finished basement which adds a fourth level of living space, a two-car garage, small yard (after scrapping a pool idea) in the back, courtyard in front and will total about 4500 square feet, yet only two “official” bedrooms. Architect Eric Gronning is designing this shift in plans as well. Mr. Thomas has named Vera Structura in Alexandria as the contractor for the project. Since this location has “mixed use” zoning, it appears a zoning variance will not be necessary and they will be exempt from the “green area ratio” restrictions and requirements on commercial buildings. See building plans below.