Popping up by H Street and K Street, NE

3rd and K Street, NE

Thanks to a couple of reader for emailing and tweeting about these new pop ups. First one is from K street NE across the street from Indigo restaurant.


Here’s what the one above looked like in April:


The second one below is from 9th and H Street, NE.



25 Comment

  • That K St one is just ridiculous. It’s been nothing but a facade propped up for months and months and all of a sudden in a matter of weeks this monstrosity went up. The house next door has been under renovation FOREVER too- have no idea what’s going on.

    • justinbc

      What’s ridiculous about it?

      • brookland_rez

        Yeah, I don’t see the big deal about the K St one. It’s a little bigger than the other houses further down the block (past the one next door and the church), but I think it’s fine so far. I believe that corner is owned by the church, at least it used to be when I lived over there.

    • The k street one had a stop work order on it at one point. Does anyone know why? Also does anyone know why the facade, which was crooked, was preserved during the demolition? Why didn’t they just tear it down to begin with?

      • This property at 3rd & K NE is technically not a popup. It was planned and permitted that way, hence keeping the facade. But then the facade fell (or was purposefully torn down) which meant that the building was razed without a permit, for which DCRA issued the stop work order. The developer has obtained the raze permit and modified their plans so that this is a new building instead of a popup.

        • How convenient.
          Development in this city is a haphazard mess.

          • the original facade was pretty ugly. It been ugly since I got to the neighborhood in 2000. No idea why they even wanted to preserve it. Its an end unit so the bigger size seems ok.

        • Thanks. I agree with other commenters that the new building actually looks pretty decent, so no hostility towards the new house from me, and in any event who cares what I think since I don’t own the property and they’re within zoning rules, blah blah blah.

          But I still don’t understand why they just didn’t get a raze permit and bulldoze everything, including the facade, to begin with. Is there some rule that makes it easier to build if you keep the facade? And then when a light breeze knocks the facade down, the developer tells DCRA “Oh shucks, look what happened, guess we have to build a whole new house.” Is getting a raze permit a PITA?

          • Re. “Is there some rule that makes it easier to build if you keep the facade?” — Yes. I believe it’s more difficult to get a raze permit than to get a permit for construction behind an existing facade. That’s the reason you sometimes see developers tearing down everything but the facade.

        • I go by there often and witnessed them tearing down the facade late one evening, pretty much while it was dark which seemed strange

  • As a neighbor, at this point I don’t care how much of a monstrosity the house at K and 3rd ends up being. Anything will be less of an eyesore than the empty hole it’s been for the last nine months.

  • Both look good imo

  • I don’t understand the hostility towards “pop ups.”

    In most instances the renovated “pop up” looks great and much better than the original (as is the case here).

    • +1000000000000

    • I completely disagree with “in most instances the renovated pop up looks great and much better than the original.” Granted, I have seen some popups done well. The one across the street from my house is an example of a popup that fits the character of the block and actually looks good. However, most popups I’ve seen are horrendous (check out K and 6th NE) and pay no mind to the architecture of the original house or the block. I wouldn’t mind them so much if the developer wouldn’t just slap a square box with vinyl siding on top of a brick house, sometimes removing original architectural details to do so.

  • Pop-ups just don’t seem to bother me like they do so many others on here. Admittedly, they do sometimes look out of place when there’s only one in a neighborhood, but in time other houses and buildings will expand and we’ll have harmony once again. Not a big deal to me. By the way, I really like the two-story house next door with its double bay and walk-out balcony in front. Nice. But if the owners wanted to add a third floor onto it, fine. Let them. And without rancor.

  • I’ve been excoriated on this blog for making this comment previously, but greatly expanding a house like this is unfair to neighbors. It should be damn easy for this city to put reasonable limits on how much a residence, especially a connected residence as in this case, can be expanded. Nothing should be allowed that will adversely affect the home value or quality of life of neighbors.

    • The great thing about your comment is the city already has such regulations in place – they’re listed in the zoning regs under maximum building height and maximum allowable lot coverage. Given that there are a lot of areas that aren’t built out to the max allowed by zoning, you’re going to have to argue that the city should down-zone large swaths of the city.

      • janie4

        For me, it’s about light and air rights. DC has a very mature tree canopy which limits light as it is, so really big additions can make a place to be very dark.

        The light and air in the back yard of the person next door can be (and should be) a valuable marketable commodity. New York gives buildings the right to build above their current height, which conveys to a new owner, but nearby buildings can buy those rights to protect their current light. I can live with pop-ups being an eyesore, even though I mock, but the massive extensions on the back and popping one or two floors as well can really affect the back yard of adjoining properties. I view it as a taking that should be properly compensated. Not that it can’t be done, but the neighbors should be compensated.

  • I wonder if there is as much resentment towards the purchasers of these pop ups as there is as much anger against the developers?
    I personally don’t have an issue with pop ups especially when it’s an owner occupied space and they are trying to add on additional living space(because many of these homes have very small footprints.) It’s cheaper to do this than to have to sell and buy into a larger place these days.

  • Can these really be considered pop-ups or has my own definition of a pop-up wrong? I always thought it pertained to adding extra floor(s) to an existing building where 9 times out of 10, the addition does not match the existing structure at all.

    These two just look like totally new construction save for the front facade of the second one.

    • I didn’t understand how the first one qualified as a pop-up either until I read some of the comments and looked again at the photos — apparently the project demolished everything behind a 2-story facade, kept the facade propped up for a while, and then rather sneakily got rid of the facade (going beyond what their permits allowed them to do).
      So it began as a “renovation” and then turned into completely new construction.

  • Pop them all up and let the market sort it out.

  • I live on the block as the 9th and H pop-up. It was previously abandoned and occupied by squatters, so anything will be an improvement. That said, the developer is building a 3rd floor plus roof deck on a block where every other home is 2 stories, and turning it into 2 condos. It is better than an empty house with squatters, but that’s a low bar.

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