V Street Pop Up Update – Formerly The Ella and now The Ava units not Selling

1013 V Street, NW

Thanks to all who sent emails/tweets about Sunday’s Washington Post story on the V Street pop up.

“The three-unit condo building, dubbed The Ava, has gone nearly 12 months without selling its middle unit and penthouse. Dropping the prices to just under $700,000 and $800,000, respectively, has yet to yield buyers. (The less-expensive bottom unit sold in August for $375,000.)”

72 Comment

  • Good. This was an obnoxious project and hopefully it deters other builders from doing something similar. DC still has plenty of space to re-develop and develop that the necessity of crazy pop-ups such as this are unnecessary.

  • Thus spake the market. This should put a damper on tasteless pop-ups.

    • It’s not empty because it’s tasteless, it’s not selling because the units are incredibly overpriced for what you’re getting.

      • It’s actually a combination of both: If it were less tasteless it would sell. If it were less expensive it would sell. That’s how real estate works.

      • Accountering

        I agree on the overpriced. I don’t know how they think they are getting $800,000 for the penthouse, it just isn’t worth that. I am sure they have gotten offers in the $700,000 range, but $800,000 is just too much for that spot.

        • Agreed, stupidly overpriced. They should have carved this up into single floor apartments at a lower price point ($400K). Who wants a 2 floor, 1800 sq foot apartment at $800K? DUMB.
          Another fatal flaw is no elevator. I know that they were trying to appeal to families with the large duplexes, but no family is going to walk up five stories to carry their groceries.
          With such questionable design and architectural choices, it immediately makes a potential buyer question the quality of the work behind the walls. I’d also be concerned about the legality of the pop-out on the front and the buyers’ responsibility to fix the developers’ bad choices.

          • justinbc

            I think no elevator might be a bigger flaw than the pricing. Plenty of people in this city can afford to pay whatever, but they expect certain conveniences for that amount of money.

          • I’m pretty sure you’d only have to climb three flights of stairs to get to the top unit if it is two story unit. Small but significant difference if you ask me.

    • justinbc

      If you think this will change the “tasteless pop-ups” supply at all you don’t really know the market.

      • It will help. The developers could get this type of pricing on a per-square-foot basis if the rest of the development was high end enough to support it. Think the units in the Central Union Mission building. The message the market is sending here is that the whole package matters.

        • justinbc

          It’s not going to stop them from being built. It might slightly tell them that “hey, you have to let the neighborhood catch up to your outlandish pricing”, but the building will go on regardless.

  • The units themselves are shoddy with no attention to detail. The front door buzzer/screen in the unit has the power cord running through the wall and then a big black power plugged into the outlet below it. The after-the-fact fire escape in back blocks all the windows. half the building is stairs. I wouldn’t buy this place even if it wasn’t a hideous popup.

  • I wonder when beating up on this project will begin to be mean? Never? …..
    Too many developers who don’t know s*** are getting into DC real estate and places like this are the result. The flippers who know, really know their business, know how far to take a project. They get in get it done get out. Their projects – all parts if it condos – sell in a reasonable time frame.
    The original sin with this project seems to be that the developer went to far and reached (ugh) to high – both metaphorically and physically. While I suspect that eventually many of the houses on this bock – on both sides – will have pop-ups I doubt any will go this high at least not in the next 20 years. It is an expensive project for people who already paid a pretty penny for this and since I guess many of these are already renoed by owner/occupants or developers it may not make sense for many. If the developer had kept it to two units at reasonable prices then they would have sold. It is telling that the cheapest sold (poor owner of that is going to have to wait until the other units sell if he wants to get out of the property). Why the developer thought someone would want to spend that kind of cash in DC (not NYC) for a walk-up is beyond me. There are nice units for that price in other buildings that have elevators (and don’t look like an elevator shaft) why would you pay that and have that kind of daily trek?

    • I’m surprised they’re saying the first unit “sold.” When I bought my unit in 2010, you could not get a mortgage for a unit unless 50% of the units in the building were under contract. I had to wait until 2 more units in my building went under contract before we could all get mortgages and move in. I wonder if the purchaser either paid cash, or is still under contract waiting for another unit to go under contract?

      • The second floor unit was under contract this summer, and the for whatever reason in Nov/Dec the deal fell through. The first floor unit closed this summer.

        • Ah, thanks for the clarification. That would really stink. I was lucky, I had a place, so I could wait for the others to go under contract and I actually ended up being one of the last to move in because my contract stipulated that I didn’t have to try to sell my old condo until they had 50% under contract.

  • Someone had the wherewithal to mark this place on Google Maps as the “Monstrosity on V” when you type in the address. These sellers are out to lunch with these prices,but then again we had an overpriced place sit for almost a year on our block that sold at almost asking to a couple moving in from out of town. Maybe that’s what they’re holding out for?

  • guess what else is not selling…. those rowhouses on either side of it. If i were the owners, i’d be suing the owner for having robbed them of their property values which, given their place on U street…should be handsome otherwise. And the DC gov’t for having failed to protect them from such a debacle.

  • If the first unit sold for 375K, how can they justify a 325K and 425K markup for the top 2 units? I don’t see anything spectacular in the pics of these units. It looks like your standard Reno minus granite counter tops.

    • The sold unit is only the ground floor. The other two units are floor-thru duplexes (i.e. double the square footage).

  • How about a Kickstarter campaign to buy this property out of bankruptcy as soon as it lands there in order to tear it down and rebuild the original house? it wouldn’t be a profitable investment but would be a great benefit to the neighborhood.

    • Accountering

      You have to be kidding me. You think spending 1.2 million or so to tear this down, and rebuild the tiny hose the predated it would be the best thing you could do for this neighborhood with that money?!

  • I kind of like it, and I don’t think it would impact the resale value of the town homes next to it at all. It doesn’t seem that expensive to me either – especially looking at real estate recently – seems comparable to many 2 bed, 2 bath prices around this part of town. And even if they are a bit cheaper, they aren’t brand new and don’t have the high end finishes (at least clean, new, modern) that this has.
    Haters be hatin’.

    • You must be kidding. This is easily the ugliest popup imaginable. It is a veritable poster child for anyone who wants to keep popups out of their neighborhood. A building does not have to mimic the colors or design elements of its neighbors to fit-in, but this is just so aggressively ugly that it will never been an asset to the neighborhood. The front and unwindowed sides just look cheap and thoughtless. This unit might have had a chance of selling a year ago, but the market has cooled since then and I suspect people want something more than an ugly building with the ugliest version of the tile work you see in every current cheap flip.

    • Sounds like damage control…

    • I love it when the agents/ owners of ugly real estate find the PoPville comments section!

      • Hi Miss Patty.
        I wrote the original post. I’m an architect and a DC resident with absolutely no affiliation with this building – agent owner or otherwise. Just a resident of Mt Vernon Triangle. I just didn’t think it was that bad. I love how European cities mix in weird modern buildings with the old traditional city fabric. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not so well. Either way, I like the mix. This is by far not a perfect example, but I kind of like weird. So, to the poster above (MJ), no, I’m not doing damage control for anybody, and Miss Patty, unless you have something to add, then your false accusation about me is not needed. Pop Up!! – Teri.

        • Yeah, but Europeans actually have (1.) aesthetic taste and (2.) very strict planning and zoning rules. I also love the “weird modern buildings” in Europe abutting classic architecture, but this would never get built in Europe. The only thing driving the construction of this eyesore was $$$$ (the true harbinger of the American aesthetic)

          • I made a similar point above and it’s important to note that one need not go to Europe to find examples of buildings that vary in design cues but look good together. Just walk through Shaw and adjacent neighborhoods. Part of the problem is the scale–you can have a building with a lot of mass on a block with row houses but you better be sure that the variation doesn’t look ridiculous like this.

        • My, that’s a lot of defensiveness for someone with no affiliation. Ok, honey, fine. You’re not affiliated. But for the sake of your professional reputation, you probably shouldn’t attach your actual name to that opinion. I don’t think many people would trust an architect who thinks this is ok, and who thinks that shiny = high-end.

          • justinbc

            I really don’t find it that hard to believe that someone would find this building aesthetically pleasing, especially in a blog with a readership of hundreds / thousands of people. Hell, over 5,000 people in the US bought a Nissan Cube last year, and that’s arguably much more offensive.

    • The pop up is bad, and throws an definite eyesore into a nice short row of homes, but when I’m on foot in this immediate area there are so many other large condo or apt buildings of equal or greater height within spitting distance that I find myself a little less offended by this building then everyone else seems to be…

      • Everyone keeps yammering about the deflated property values of the neighboring properties. The reality is if these sell for $700K per unit, or hell, even $500K per unit, the value of the neighboring properties is not going to diminish. In fact, it only makes them more attractive for developers who might come in a repeat this “monstrosity” with similar ones. Which honestly is probably the right thing to do anyway. With a 2% population growth annually, the reality is small 1,100 square foot homes in the middle of the city are an endangered species if not protected by some historical designation.

        I doubt anyone who owns those houses are too concerned about their property values if they plan to sell. They are probably just angry that they have to look at this odd thing all the time. In 10 years when that block is all four stories high, no one will notice the Ella/Ava.

  • brookland_rez

    Good. serves them right.

  • 5 or 6 units (instead of 3) at half the cost would have done the trick.

    • Those would be so tiny, though. What is the footprint on this place? 13’x30′ or so? And how much of that is taken up by staircase between units?

      • The Ella is waaay deeper than 30 feet. Maybe the original structure was 30 feet? They popped this up and nearly all the way back to the alley. The developer popped this building out in every possible direction (up, front, back)!

  • Meanwhile, that popup on K and 6th NE closed for $950K for the top unit and $770K for the bottom unit. Granted, the interior of the K St one is nicer than the Ava, but I still think those are insane prices for condos (and I own a house around the corner).

  • “Mr Falkner, Tear Down This Pop-Up!”

  • Who wants to be hated by their neighbors? (and pay for it too?)

  • though i don’t think that this building is great looking, i’ve always thought that that street would look very cool if all the other rowhouses sold there over time and similar (but differently colored) popups came up around it, creating a colorful wall of 4-5 story buildings on that street. based on the hate this building has gotten, though, i don’t think anyone else will dare build a popup there

    • Emmaleigh504

      I think this will be a very interesting street once the neighbors join in. It may take a while with all the pop up hate.

  • I toured this building a year ago and was not impressed. There was a lot of evidence of poor workmanship beneath the shiny finishes. I can’t imagine that anybody is willing to pay $800K+ for what is essentially a 5th floor walk up apartment. No way I’d pay that kind of money and have to schlep my groceries up that many stairs. The ground floor unit had a patio off the back, which was nice until the agent said that the patio was deeded to the penthouse, so even through you had a door and window facing the patio, it wasn’t yours to use.

    • So not only did the penthouse have to walk up all those stairs, if they wanted to use their patio they had to walk all the way down all for over three quarters of a million? Wow it is soooo surprising no on rushed to buy that. (I do wonder if they lone occupant is using it and if so won’t be too upset if whoever buys that enforces the ownership). Again these developers didn’t seem to know what they were doing.

    • That sounds like an awful arrangement for both the ground floor owner and the penthouse owner. Would have been a lot smarter to do a roof deck for the penthouse and give the patio to the ground floor.

  • What’s the German word for Schadenfreude?

  • I would be worried about the whole thing falling over if I purchased one of the units. I mean, one little earthquake and it looks like the top floors would topple over onto the adjacents row houses.

  • One of the ugliest things in the city. seriously. I’d be embarrassed to even live on the same block as it.

  • Honestly, it looks like a periscope spying southward. Hopefully the buyers of the top condo will decorate in a nautical theme.

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