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The Stealth Makes Itself Known on Florida Avenue

The Stealth at Florida Avenue NE. Photo courtesy of Todd Bissey.

The Stealth at Florida Avenue NE. Photo courtesy of Todd Bissey.

The 4-Unit Boutique Building Went on the Market in Mid-July.

This article appears in the August edition of The Hill Rag available at newsstands now. 

The Stealth condo officially hit the market in late July, bringing four new two-level, three-bedroom condos just north of H Street. Sales are by the Bissey Team at John C. Formant Real Estate.

The triangular lot – bounded by Florida and West Virginia avenues and 9th and L streets NE – resulted in a creative layout that from the air looks like its namesake, a Stealth Bomber. The triangular shape allows each unit to have windows on three sides and to share just one wall with neighboring units. “It’s like having an end unit for each unit,” said Colin Johnson, a member of the sales team.

Todd Bissey, another member of the sales team, said that because the project is ground-up construction it does not have some of the design limitations you might find in a pop-up condo conversion. When a townhouse is converted to two units the upper unit often lives like a house, but the lower floor is an “upside down” house said Bissey. Each of the four units at the Stealth has its own private entrance and is laid out like a traditional home with a kitchen, living space, and bedroom on the first floor and additional bedrooms on the second floor. “Both units live like a house,” said Bissey.

Finishes throughout include hand-scraped hardwood floors, German-manufactured Poggenpohl cabinetry, Bosch appliances, and custom, two-level crystal chandeliers. The two bottom units have ground-floor patios and the upper units have expansive rooftop decks that add nearly one-third more square feet of usable space. The roof deck, covered with weather-resistant materials, is wired for a television and has a small sink and mini-fridge to accommodate rooftop dining.

The project is a few blocks north of H Street with its growing restaurant and nightlife scene and just east of the soon-to-expand Union Market development. With its location on Florida and its site-specific design, “It really has a unique urban feel,” said Bissey.

The Stealth is listed at $998,500 for the upper units and $798,500 for the lower units through John C. Formant RE, 202-544-3900.

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Featured Properties by Compass

H Street Mansion Offers Opportunity to Make Your Mark on Historic Home

The grand staircase at 1252 Maryland Ave NE. Photo by Compass.

The grand staircase at 1252 Maryland Ave NE. Photo by Compass.

1252 Maryland Ave. NE Was Once the Washington Junior College of Music and Education.

This article appears in the August edition of The Hill Rag available at newsstands now. 

An historic Capitol Hill-area home that once served as the Washington Junior College of Music and Education is on the market for the first time in years, having being owned for the better part of the last 70 years by one generation or another of the Eubanks family. The mansion at 1252 Maryland Ave. NE is on the market for $2.25 million, listed by Taylor Carney of Compass*.

Built in 1893 by developer John H. Bushner, the 6,380 square-foot, 6-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom, corner lot mansion was the largest of 19 homes constructed by Bushner and designed by prominent DC architect Appleton Prentiss Clark Jr.

In an interview Carney said that “1252 Maryland Ave. NE encompasses all that a true DC home is known for: history, prominence, and original details.”

In 1947 Gustavia and James E. Eubanks purchased the home for $15,000 for the use of the Washington Junior College of Music and Education, which had some 200 students at one point. The school offered coursework in piano, violin, and voice as well as sight singing and music appreciation, according to The House History Man.

Andrea Kelly, the Eubanks’ granddaughter and the mansion’s current owner, grew up in the family home. Kelly’s parents met when her father was a music student at the college, and she would later raise her son in the very rooms where she grew up.

“All I remember was waking up to music and going to sleep to music,” said Kelly, whose mother used to wake her children with John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post.” But shortly after James’s death in 1957 the college ended. In the mid-1970s Mrs. Eubanks sold the family home.

“I felt that the house was taken away too soon,” recalled Kelly, who at the time was just starting her career and unable to afford the upkeep and care of the family home.

Over a decade later Kelly and her husband Archie saw that the house was again on the market, as a foreclosure, so they decided the time was right to bring her childhood home back into the family’s stewardship.

For the next few decades she and her husband restored the home, undoing the modernization efforts of the various interim owners.

Kelly said there were nights when they stopped work mid-task, giving in to sleep beneath the very drop cloth they had used after a hard day’s work.

Their work shines through in the refinished original heart pine wood floors, in the restored plaster work, and in the original pocket doors that now hang upstairs.

Observed Carney, “Aside from the grand staircase, what I love most about this house is the natural light. With six skylights and oversized windows throughout, it beams off of the original heart pine floors.”

Kelly said the decision to sell the family home was a bittersweet one, but as she retires she is ready to pass on the responsibility of stewardship. She hopes the new owners will leave their mark on the home and continue to realize how important it is to the history of the city and the immediate neighborhood.

“What is it about the house?” Kelly asked herself. “It’s life-changing to live there.”

The home at 1252 Maryland Ave. NE is showing by appointment only. Contact Taylor Carney, 202-602-8080, or taylor@compass.com.

*Compass is the sponsor of District Source. 

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27-unit Condo Proposed for Historic 9th Street Shaw Building

1851 9th St. NW formerly the Odd Fellows Hall. Image from DCRA PIVS.

1851 9th St. NW formerly the Odd Fellows Hall. Image from DCRA PIVS.

Plans for a new 27-unit residential building on 9th Street in Shaw stumbled coming out of the block during a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing Tuesday, with commissioners questioning the necessity of a proposed fifth floor and exactly what relief was required for the project because of new “pop-up” regulations impacting its location in an R-4 zone.

The building at 1851 9th St. NW was originally built  as Odd Fellows Hall, serving a fraternal organization for African Americans, and was most recently used as a school. The hall was built in 1932, designed by architect Albert I. Cassell, according to the U Street historic District application.

Now Hollow Creek Investment Group, LLC with plans by Arcadia Design proposes to convert the structure into a condo building.

The developer proposes to provide 10 parking spaces at nearby parking lot for a term of two years. The building will include a mix of units from a studio to several three-bedroom units:

  • one studio
  • 3 one-bedroom plus dens
  • 5 two-bedrooms
  • 9 two-bedroom plus dens
  • 9 three-bedrooms

During a hearing Tuesday, BZA members took issue with the fifth floor addition, which will allow the fourth floor units to become duplexes and to gain rooftop access. The BZA was confused as to whether the project should have the old or new R-4 zoning regulations applied.

“We’re gonna have to have some regrouping,” said BZA Chairman Lloyd Jordan, who opted to delay further review of the project until the R-4 question is answered.

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Two More Historic Mt. Vernon Triangle Buildings to be Relocated

Two More Historic Mt. Vernon Triangle Buildings to be Relocated

Douglas Development wants to relocate and preserve two more historic Mt. Vernon Triangle buildings–bringing the total for their project to four–as part of the second phase of their major office development at 655 New York Ave. NW. The project architect is Shalom Baranes Associates.

The two buildings at 605 and 607 New York Ave. NW would be moved to the western edge of the site, placing them adjacent to an 1880s livery stable structure at 621-25 New York, next to which one of the previously relocate buildings,  639 New York Ave. NW now sits.

The D.C. Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff report supports relocating the two buildings to make way for the new office structure proposed by Douglas.

“…It would locate these small scaled buildings adjacent to and clustered with similarly sized historic buildings that would create a stronger critical mass of historic buildings rather than have them separated from other historic buildings by a large infill building,” the HPO staff report states.

The new office building  would share parking and a loading entrance with the first phase of the project, currently under construction.

Douglas is not the only developer moving parts around Mt. Vernon Triangle. As we previously reported, IBG Partners moved 465 New York Avenue about 30 feet and is incorporating the renovated 1902 building it into the new Homewood Suites hotel currently under construction.

Thursday the Historic Preservation Review Board will review Douglas’ request to demolish four non-historic structures on the site and to move the two additional historic structures.

Featured image is 655 New York Ave. NW rendering from Douglas Development’s project webpage

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Adams Morgan Affordable Housing Goes Solar with $1.4 Million Renovation

Photos from the ribbon cutting for Ontario Court. Image from Jubilee Housing's Facebook page.

Photos from the ribbon cutting for Ontario Court. Image from Jubilee Housing’s Facebook page.

Adams Morgan affordable housing development, Ontario Court, celebrated its recent $1.4 million renovation which preserves 27 affordable residential units and makes it among the first affordable housing buildings in the city to install solar panels on the roof.  During a ribbon cutting Friday the project team and local officials converged on the property at 2525 Ontario Rd. NW to recognize its creative financing through both public and private resources.

“We are so pleased by this renovation,” said Jim Knight, president of Jubilee Housing in a prepared statement. “Not only does it guarantee a place in the neighborhood for another generation of families, but it creates new opportunities for those who are handicapped and makes Ontario Court a part of the greening of the city. We are grateful to our partners for their creativity and expertise in making this project work.”

In addition to the solar panels, which are expected to help offset some of the building’s utility costs, the renovation included the addition of new handicapped ramps,  five handicapped-accessible units and other improvements like hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades. 

The Ontario is part of non-profit Jubilee Housing’s ongoing investment in Adams Morgan and in economically disadvantaged residents of the District. Despite the investment in renovations, the building can offer units affordable for families making as little as $19,000 a year; the renovation financing will maintain that level of affordability for 30 years, according to a press release. The project  benefited from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

 

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Dupont’s St. Thomas Project Approved, Height Refinements Still Needed

Dupont’s St. Thomas Project Approved, Height Refinements Still Needed

CAS Riegler‘s proposed redevelopment of historic St. Thomas Episcopal church in Dupont Circle faces ongoing design refinements as community members and the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) continue to call for a reduction in the overall height and scale of the new church and residential development at Church and P Streets, NW.

Thursday the project was slated for the HPRB consent agenda, but the board opted to comment on the latest design iteration before taking a vote. The board called on the developers and their architect Hickok Cole Architects to continue working with Historic Preservation Office staff to “reduce the presence” of the project particularly its perception from a pedestrian level.

Chair Gretchen Pfaehler said the height needs to be “even less understood and present along Church Street.”

The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) passed a resolution at its most recent meeting in which it continued to oppose the project as designed because of the height and perceived massing. The ANC called for the visible parts of the building to be between 40 and 59 feet tall, reflecting earlier comments from the HPRB about potential appropriate heights for the project.

During her comments, Pfaehler noted that the 40-59-foot discussion during previous reviews was “not a datum point,” meaning she did not necessarily want the developers to abide by those exact numbers. Rather Pfaehler emphasized the importance of refining the pedestrian scale of the project

The board voted 4 to 1 to approve the project, pending ongoing design refinements to be worked out between staff and the developer.

St. Thomas perspective view Church Street, June 2015.

St. Thomas perspective view Church Street, June 2015.

 

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Ivy City School Subject of Next Community Redevelopment Process

Crummell School

The Crummell School in Ivy City. Image from the Facebook Page Campaign to Save the Crummell School.

Around the corner from Greenhat Gin distillery and a few blocks from the brand new Mom’s Organic Market in Ivy City sits the Crummell School, the subject of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s latest “Our RFP” project. The city plans to seek redevelopment offers for the school building and its vacant lot at 1900 Gallaudet St, NE.

The building served as a school for the largely African-American population of Ivy City from 1911 to 1977 and was later used for a variety of community purposes. During the Gray administration the school was slated to become a new bus depot for buses traveling between New York and D.C., but that plan was ultimately nixed following intense community pushback in 2012.

A group of residents are using Facebook to organize in support of a new community center at the former school.

The school building is a landmarked structure recognized both by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board and National Register of Historic Places. Any future redevelopment would be required to restore and incorporate the historic structure into the new project. You can learn more about the history of the school and its relationship to the community here.

The Bowser administration is seeking community feedback on the future development of the Crummell School site prior to releasing a request for proposals for redevelopment. The first meeting is July 29 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Bethesda Baptist Church, 1808 Capitol Ave. NE.

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465 New York Tops Out, Hotel Delivery Expected February 2016

465 New York Tops Out, Hotel Delivery Expected February 2016

Donohoe Construction Company and ABI Construction placed the final beams at the top of IBG Partners’ new Homewood Suites hotel coming to 465 New York Ave. NW in Mt. Vernon Tringle on July 16. The new hotel, designed by WDG Architecture* with construction designs by BBGM, will include 160 rooms in a 13-story building with three levels of below-grade parking.

The topping out brings the building to its highest point and marks a significant step in its construction, which began in April 2014.

The 95,303 square-foot hotel is notable both for the continuity it brings to the north side of New York Avenue–filling a gap adjacent to the Yale Steam Laundry condominium and Yale West apartments also by developer IBG Partners–and for its inclusion of an historic home in the building design.

Last July specialist firm Expert Home Movers moved the 1902 townhouse about 30 feet west on the site via 20 hydraulic motorized dollies with a total of 160 wheels. IBG Partners are restoring the historic structure as part of the project.

The hotel is slated to open in February 2016.

Featured image courtesy of Donohoe Construction Company.

*Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected to note that the hotel was designed by WDG Architecture. BBGM did the construction drawings.

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Contentious Hine School Project will be ‘Connective Tissue’ for Eastern Market

Hine School Groundbreaking, from left to right ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, Ken Goulding of Stanton Development, Mayor Muriel Bowser, EastBanc's Anthony Lanie, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, DMPED Brian Kenner and former Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.

Hine School Groundbreaking, from left to right ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, Ken Goulding of Stanton Development, Mayor Muriel Bowser, EastBanc’s Anthony Lanie, Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, DMPED Brian Kenner and former Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.

When the Hine School delivers in 2017, it will have been more than nine years since the District government under then Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a request for proposals to redevelop the middle school sitting on a prominent lot across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Eastern Market Metro. Friday, developers, community leaders and city officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the new development project that will bring 116 market-rate units, 46 affordable housing units, retail and office space to Eastern Market.

“These things generally start off with a clever developer, a stupid city and a victimized neighborhood. And this was no different,”  said developer Anthony Lanier of EastBanc to knowing laughs from those gathered in attendance.

Lanier said the project was moving forward because the community, city and the developers were able to work through their issues and come together as a team. After numerous legal disputes, that is, of course*.

One speaker after another credited the dogged determination of community leaders to get the most out of the project and the developers’ compromises to find an agreeable balance between maximizing an urban infill, transit-oriented development and respecting the historic neighbor around it.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said despite the at-times contentious nature of the negotiations between developers and communities, projects are “almost always better for it.”

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg said the project would enhance the greater Capitol Hill community.

Acknowledging that there were and still are those who are unhappy with the density and mass of the building to come, Oldenburg said she hopes when it is completed the new “economic vitality” the development will bring will help change those perspectives.

“We can stand here and see its future before us,” said Bowser as she stood 50 yards from a ditch filled with rubble, surrounded by construction vehicles on a site where six weeks ago stood a middle school.

Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen, who was involved in the project from the beginning as chief of staff for then Councilman Tommy Wells, said he did not think the day would come but he was glad that it had.

“It will be the connective tissue between Barracks Row and Eastern Market,” said Allen.

The project is slated to begin excavation work within the month and will deliver in summer of 2017.

Artfully arranged construction equipment.

Artfully arranged construction equipment.

*Editor’s Note: This article incorrectly stated there were numerous lawsuits. There was one lawsuit with several rounds of appeals. H/t @RosinaPhoto for keeping us honest.

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Tenant Group: Developers Want to Create ‘Instant Georgetown’ throughout DC

IMG_0976-1024x768

A D.C. tenant advocacy group is calling out developers for “displacing low, fixed, moderate income people” and rallying support for the tenants of Museum Square–the Mt. Vernon Triangle apartment building at the center of a dispute between largely low-income tenants and the property owner who wants to redevelop the building.

D.C. Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition (TENAC) called on residents of the District to contact the District Council in support of the Museum Square tenants and in support of affordable housing throughout the city in a press release issued Thursday.

Museum Square tenants, many of whom make up what remains of D.C.’s Chinatown population, received notice last summer that property owner, the Bush Companies, planned to sell the building and its land and that they by law had the opportunity to purchase their units first.  The owners of Museum Square filed a $250 million Offer of Sale with the District government in June 2014 simultaneously notifying they could exercise their rights under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) at that price, which came to about $830,000 per unit in the 302-unit building.

Lawsuits between the tenants and the owners and the owners and the city ensued. The tenants won a law suit in April when a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that the owners of Museum Square violated TOPA with its $250 million offering.  But that victory may not be enough to keep the tenants in their homes: in September, Bush Companies’ Section 8 contract with the federal government will expire.

Tenants recently held a rally to draw attention to their cause.

“Even if the owners are successful in opting out of the Section 8 contract, tenants plan to use vouchers to remain in the building,” according to a press release about the rally from the Legal Aid Society of DC.

“Canceling the Section 8 contract would be a blow to the tenants, a significant loss of affordable housing in DC, damaging to the priorities of Mayor Bowser and the Council, and only an empty victory for the owners. Tenants are asking the District to intervene to help them save the building and preserve the subsidies.”

TENAC also balked at the TOPA offering, saying developers through the city want to convert D.C.’s neighborhoods into an “Instant Georgetown” at the expense of affordable housing.

“What’s happening at Museum Square is what’s happening all over the city – and that is developers taking over every rental property in sight, redeveloping them so only the rich can afford them,” the organization wrote in a press release. 

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