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Powerhouse Brings Unique Event Space to Historic Georgetown Building

A new event space at 3255 Grace St. NW is now open.

Powerhouse, a new event space in the heart of Georgetown's shopping and dining district, transforms a warehouse into venue for soirees, weddings, corporate events and more. The building, located at 3255 Grace Street, can be accessed by the alley next to Dean & Deluca or from a bridge over the C&O Canal.

Built in 1917 by the D.C. Paper Manufacturing Company, the building was later used as a storeroom for the DC streetcar system, according to the Powerhouse website

The building is perhaps best known for the 150-foot, white smoke stack, which has been "an iconic part of the Georgetown skyline for almost a 100 years," Roger Whyte, director of events for Rise Events and the Powerhouse, told Patch in an interview.

The new venue is the realization of an idea by Ben and Daniel Miller, the brains behind Popularise and Fundrise. Popularise crowd-sources ideas for businesses or uses for vacant buildings or lots. Fundrise raises funds directly to make a real estate vision a reality.

The brothers are the sons of prominent real estate developer Herb Miller, who just recently moved out of his Georgetown home and into a new 14th Street area condo.

The elder Miller said of Georgetown, "The city's moved east," and he compared his bustling new neighborhood of 14th Street to the streets of Paris, according to the Washington City Paper.

Though their father may have called it quits in Georgetown, Ben and Daniel evidently think Georgetown has enough cachet to bring their latest business idea to the neighborhood.

While the building with its smokestack is "definitely a Georgetown landmark" there is also an appeal to what the new owners and their architect John Nahra have created for the space, Whyte explained.

Nahra is known for his work in urban mixed-use commercial development, according to his biography on the Catholic University of America School of Architecture website where he is listed as part time faculty associate at Catholic.

Powerhouse is somewhat unusual for DC in that it is strictly an event space, not also serving as a gallery, private club, historic home or museum as many other event locations do.

And when it comes to uses, the options abound.

"We’re open for anything," Whyte said.

The nearly 6,600 square-foot venue boasts two levels and can host a cocktail party for up to 480 guests.

This weekend Powerhouse is hosting a public open house for neighbors.

According to a post on the Georgetown community list serv, curious neighbors can stop by between 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday to get a tour of the new venue and to have questions answered by Powerhouse staff. 

norma February 13, 2013 at 08:39 PM
I hope and wish they will be VERY careful about noise & music!!!!!!!!
Shaun Courtney February 13, 2013 at 09:55 PM
I have to admit, I am surprised I didn't hear more about parking concerns at the ANC, especially since the bowling alley had to jump through so many hoops over noise concerns around the C&O Canal (and of course the residents of the condos there). I'll have to double back with the commissioner for this area to see what happened. Thanks for your feedback. -Shaun
BPB February 14, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Here are the kind of classy events we can expect to see at the Powerhouse: http://gregslistdc.com/event/2013/art-soirees-love-power-party http://gregslistdc.com/files/vdaypowerhouse.jpg
BPB February 14, 2013 at 04:57 PM
The Powerhouse never applied for a liquor license or for permission to change the building's exterior, thereby avoiding the Old Georgetown Board and the ANC.
Shaun Courtney February 14, 2013 at 04:59 PM
The only thing I can think of is that they might have had to get the use approved. But you're right on the liquor license part-- they leave it to the caterers to have the license.

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