GDoN? Mt. Pleasant Mansion for Sale


This old mansion is located at 3324 18th Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Amazing Opportunity! Quite Possibly the largest home in all of Mount Pleasant with an extensive amount of historic Wardman style features that rarely exists in Washington homes these days. With an exceptional amount of sq’ from the outside to the inside you are sure to find elements of Washington from a century ago.”

You can find more info and see a few inside photos here.

I know this isn’t a traditional Monday Good Deal or Not? Post but I couldn’t wait to share this one. I’ve been admiring this home for years. We’ve definitely judged it before but this is the first time I’ve seen a few photos of the interior. Fixed up this could be one of the coolest houses in Mt. Pleasant (though stay tuned for tomorrow’s house of the day). For those who’ve got deep pockets – it’s yours for $1,750,000.


44 Comment

  • When you look at how little a million dollars gets you around here, I don’t know how this isn’t a good deal. Obviously you are going to be spending quite a bit on renovations, but I think you are still going to come out with a good one here.

    I used to walk past this building all the time. It’s great to see it posted

  • I think 1.75 is a steal for this property. Considering rowhomes are selling for a million+ in Mt. Pleasant.

  • I heard a relative inherited this place, it’s really a shame how it has been allowed to fall apart inside. It need someone with some $$$ to show it the love it deserves. A mansion right in Mt. P, how awesome would that be?

  • Interesting story behind this place, particularly w/ regard to the owner. Sole survivor of a fiery subway (read: not Metro) crash some years ago…

  • Wow. I hope this place is purchased by someone with an interest in historic preservation. It has great bones, I’d love to see it restored rather than demolished or gutted (ack!).

  • It’s an amazing house, but I looked at those photos…a disaster inside right now (that said, great old architectural details). I could easily imagine repairs and renovations costing $500,000. The problem with the big houses in Mt. Pleasant is that the people who could afford to buy them and renovate them generally want to live west of the park. So I think the price has to be lowered a lot and/or it’s likely to get divided up…it’s a hard sell.

  • The home was badly damaged in the snow storm.

    I had a friend who really wanted it and had the financing to offer $1.4 million, but it needs SO MUCH work, guesstimate about $1 million in work- it’s really bad inside- that it’s priced out of most budgets. I mean you need to walk in here with $2 million and understand that you need to rip out so much of what makes this place unique. look at the flickr site and look at that bathroom! It needs to be gutted to the support beams and rebuilt from scratch for at least $20k for that bathroom alone. This is no $200k remodel!

    You know when people say a house has good bones? this house does not have good bones, it needs serious interior and exterior work.

    It’s been on the market for around 7 years now.

    what the guy has is a $1 million house that he’s trying to sell for $1.75 million. I would snap this thing up in a heartbeat at $1 mill plus another mill in repairs. but where could someone get that additional $750k?

  • Yeah, I agree with neened. I rehabbed a rowhouse in Mt. P back in 2001-2004. It was an estate sale and in similar terrible condition.

    Even though all of the original details were in place in the house, very little could be salvaged b/c there was so much damage to the plaster and the underlying structure. There was termite damage all the way up on the third floor–the termite inspector was shocked to see that we had to re-install the mansard up there. Pretty much every single window and sill needed to be rehabbed or replaced. And replacement is much, much, cheaper, even if you pay top dollar.

    So I’d estimate the cost of rehabbing a house like this would be roughly the cost of tearing it down and building a new one from the ground up, if you want to do it right.

  • Love this house in principle, but I’m with the buyer-beware crowd, too. I used to walk by it daily, and in addition to the obvious damage the pictures show, for MONTHS there were broken windows on the upper floors. My guess is that there is severe water/animal damage just waiting for the next buyer to repair. I’d say you’re easily looking at $1M+ to restore it to any sense of its former grandeur, and probably at least $500k to do electric/plumbing/roof/etc. just to get it livable. Start throwing in expensive restoration work to preserve the stuff that’s worth preserving, and you’re talking a lofty figure.

    That said, it’s a great set of bones on a wonderful lot. I recall that it was for sale a few years back with a listing price that was somewhere north of $4M, so expectations have come down. The notion of putting $2.5-3M into this place doesn’t strike me as ridiculous, because, once rehabbed, I think it would be worth that. You’d just need (a) the money to do that and (b) the patience to have a work-in-progress for probably a year or more. My dream scenario is for someone to buy this and then convince This Old House to make it the next season’s project.

  • The buyer will have to factor in the cost of the exorcism. I lived across the street from that house for six months, and am quite convinced it’s haunted.

    Still, if I had all the time and all the money in the world, I’d be on it in a heartbeat. Assuming that heartbeat wasn’t coming from under the floorboards.

    • What makes you think it’s haunted? I lived around the corner about five years ago, and even though it looked abandoned, someone was living in it at the time. So there would often be lights on, even though from initial appearances it looked like nobody had lived there in decades.

      Taxes for 2009 were $175,005. Yow!

      • $175k??!? Sounds like someone lost the exemption from the vacant property tax rate. I wouldn’t fault you for using the term “motivated seller” if that’s true.

      • ah

        I’m not seeing that — the OTR listing says the taxes are $6800 for the first half, which is right around the correct amount for a house assessed at $1.4M.

        They seem not to have paid their taxes for a couple of years though, and owe nearly $70k.

        • From the Redfin listing:

          Finances & Fees

          * Tax Year: 2009
          * Total Taxes: $175,005
          * Total Taxes Frequency: Annually
          * City Tax: $175,005.00
          * City Tax Frequency: Annually

    • Dude. that place definitely looks haunted.

  • This house breaks my heart – so much lovely detail but from what people are saying so much of it won’t be salvaged. As a lover of historical buildings you want someone to come in and save all of it and it’s so sad to hear that can’t be done. Hope that Mike W. takes a LOT of pictures so everything can be preserved through film. (PS Mike W. totally digging what you’ve put up on Flickr so far)

  • That house is amazing. The nicest in Mt. Pleasant, without a doubt. I hope its new owners treat it with the respect it deserves.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Make sure you check the House of the Day post tomorrow. It is my favorite house in Mt. P that I think even tops this one…

  • This is one time I’m praying for a disgustingly rich person with taste to come along and save this place.

  • Just one other consideration with this place: it’s in an historic district, and from what I understand, the local board in Mt. P can be awfully demanding about how things must be done. Especially with this, which is such a prominent and historic property in Mt. P, the buyer should expect that nothing will happen cheaply or without bureaucratic hassle.

    Also, kind of interesting to note that it’s listed at the assessed value from the city.

  • Can anyone help me to purchase this home? I only have a dollar saved. Whare r u Pop.

  • There is no such a thing as “Wardman style”. Wardman built houses in the popular styles of the day. When you read “Wardman style” in a real estate ad, please translate as, “I want to sell you this house.”

    That said, I do hope this beautiful Edwardian (1909) gets some TLC.

  • i offered the guy 1.8MM cash for it a couple of years ago.

    too bad he thought the offer was too low.

  • If it’s worth so much, why can’t this owner get it fixed.

    I mean, it’s worth more, as-is, than it costs to rehab. So, the seller ought to get a $1 million loan to fix it up, and then offer it for sale.

    Alternatively, the owner could at least get a loan to fix the roof and structural issues, and then put it on the market.

    But, I think $1.7 million is a bad deal and a non-starter.

  • wasn’t the vacant property tax just repealed? i’m pretty sure it was. i wonder what effect that will have on the house sitting vacant until someone meets their price…

    • ah

      Now they have a “blighted” tax–this is headed in that direction from the looks of the outside. They jack you for 10% if it’s blighted, but nothing more if it’s just “vacant”.

  • PoP, I swear you’ve posted this house before… on GDoN or HP… maybe 6 months to a year ago…

  • Some of the floor plan layouts / drawings are posted on the blog roll as the seller’s wife is an architect and recently drafted these up

    The back taxes are definitely due to the fact that the seller lost the homestead deduction because they placed the property in a corporation name as opposed to an individual, so lesson learned here to say the least, expensive at that.

    As to the condition, definitely not for the faint of heart as it will require patience and dedication to get this back to its original state of historic appeal and a bit of cash.

    Most of the people expressing interest have been those interested in keeping in its original design layout as a single family home although a few have suggested B&B for the neighborhood.

    As Mike W. pointed out he will have some nice photographs up soon which will show a bit more detail.

    • A B&B or boutique hotel (lord knows it’s big enough) would actually be a wonderful idea for the neighborhood.

  • oh my god I love this house so much. I REALLY hope whoever buys it restores it to its former glory.

  • Think about it, the most this house would sell for – FULLY RENNOVATED – would be $2M or $2.1M; the ‘hood simply won’t support a higher price at this time. Subtract the fact that it needs about $1M in renovation (at least) and the current value is $1M or $1.1M. The place is WAY over priced.

    I hope they come to their senses and accept a viable offer so that it can get the TLC and attention that it so desperately needs. If the current owner continues to neglect it, it’ll need to be raised in 2 years.

  • I’ve been looking at the pics all day and have totally fallen in love with this place. Too bad I don’t have a few million lying around to swoop in and restore it to its former glory.

    It also looks like it was split up to be apartments or a rooming house at some point in the past.

  • I know the owner and lived there when he first bought it in 1996. Great house, unfortunately he let the roof go since it was so expensive to fix, and only “demo’d” areas inside and never repaired anything. it had a chance 10 yrs ago. now, i’m not so sure.

  • So can someone explain the history of this house and its ownership? We live around the corner and just assumed that squatters were living in it because it was in such bad shape. Is that not the case? And who owned it before? A taxi driver once told me it had been a half-way house of some kind that he had dropped incoming residents off at… Mostly just curious who has lived here before and who does now and how it came to be in such a sorry state. It would be an amazing place if someone had the money and inclination to fix it up. The land it sits on alone is impressive.

    • What follows is a quote from the owner’s wife, posted as a comment on the photos I posted to flickr after the open house a couple weeks ago – updated with 114 photos now

      Hi there, I’m the wife of the current owner and I love the pictures you took. I would like to correct something in your statement though. We are not the second owners, we are actually the third owners.
      We bought the house from these two ladies that were running an institution for veterans with disability benefits. They had turned this single family mansion into a type of rest home to house 20 male patients. They had partitioned the rooms to accomodate this new use for the house and all their patients. In the process they had to incorporate fire code requirements for that type of building use.
      My husband and I were turning the house back to what it used to be by taking down all the walls they added to house their 20 patients and their live-in staff of three. This work we were doing by ourselves. Our work crew was just my husband and I and to be totally honest I was just his second set of hands.
      I would love to talk to you more about this if you are interested. I can also see from your pictures that you are interested in details. There are some wonderful details that are quite unique to the construction of this house and that we uncovered through the course of the work we did in undoing the institution that I think you might find interesting. The original owner was a mason and we discovered masonic detailing throughout the house.

  • The listing agent should be admonished for suggesting this is a Wardman house; in fact, they could be held liable. It is not a Wardman. It was built by the Benjamin B. Knell company for owner Charles Schafer beginning in 1909. Its architect was Albert Groenner.

    RE agents tend to perpetuate the idea that Wardman built everything in the city: he did not, and in fact there were dozens of similar sized developer companies responsible for thousands of homes built in DC.

    We did get involved in a legal case once researching a house that an agent had sold claiming it was a Wardman, when it was not!

  • A recent article in the Northwest Current covering the history of the home and all the owners can be found here;

  • Here is the history of this house:

    A young musician with a life ahead of him was grievously injured in fire, and received a large lump sum settlement. He came to Washington, D.C. and bought a large wreck of a house with the sum, but didn’t have enough income to keep it from going disastrously downhill.

    Since then life has stopped and the cost of rescuing the place has gone up. He should be commended for his good taste in preserving the place – at least he didn’t sell it and turn it into that grotesque condo-mansion next door that ruined another grand home in Mount Pleasant. But he might be condemned as well for holding onto this place, demanding too high a price while it rots.

    The photos are great, we all take a prurient interest in seeing such decay. But the fact is the place is so far gone now that someone may just want to tear it down soon. Its a real shame.

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