The 52-year-old Mayflower Hotel is due for a facelifting and possible small-scale expansion. But there's a hitch. The original architectural-structural drawings cannot be found.
"We've tried the District Building but the drawings are not longer on file," said Kingdon Gould, one of the principals in Maywash Associates, owner of the landmark hotel on the east side of Connecticut Avenue NW. The 600-room, 100-suite hotel also borders DeSales Street on the north and 17th Street on the east.
Gould, an investor-developer who returned last fall from an assignment as Ambassador to The Netherlands, said yesterday that the current owners are planning major renovations and new public spaces on the 17th Street side, where the hotel is nine stories high, as opposed to 12 on Connecticut.
"Current zoning would permit us to add several stories on 17th Street," said Gould, whose fellow owners are Ulysses G. (Blackie) Auger, D. F. Antonelli Jr. and the estate of William Cohen.
Gould recounted yesterday that the Mayflower was designed in the early 1920s by Warren & Wentmore, a New York architectural firm that specialized in hotels.He said that Robert F. Bereford of Washington did many of the drawings. Longacre engineering and Construction was the general contractor. Owners have even advertised in Engineering News Record, a professional trade magazine, offering a reward of $2,500 to anyone able to produce the building plans.
"While not absolutely essential to renovation and an addition," Gould said, "it would save a lot of trouble and digging into the foundation for structural information if we can get the original plans or a copy of them."
Gould also said that it is known that the Mayflower's basic structure is steel, whereas many present-day downtown buildings are reinforced concrete. The Washington architectural firm of Weihe, Black, Jeffries and Strassman has been retained for the planned renovation-addition to the hotel located near the new Farragut North Metro station.
The promenade through the Mayflower, from Connecticut Avenue to 17th Street, and some of the public meeting rooms and first floor facilities were refurbished two years ago for the Mayflower's 50th anniversary. Gould said that the hotel has been "doing well" under the management of Western International, a subsdiary of UAL, Inc., which also owns United Airlines.
He added that the hotel was originally planned by developer Allen E. Walker, who expected to name it the Walker Hotel. But foundation problems were encountered and new owners christened it the Mayflower in 1925.