Here’s the unusual Spring Road Pop Up from Behind


“Dear PoPville,

Saw the post about the unusual Spring Road pop up.

Additional information about this construction – they took down about 6 trees lining the alley in order to build the addition. And there was a really nice backyard before, which has been converted into what I think will be patios for the first level and parking spaces.

And a historical fact: the alley to the left of the addition was once a road called Cedar Road. If you look at google maps satellite view, you can see the gap running from Spring to about Upshur that used to be the road, which is now mostly empty space between row houses and parking areas. My deed actually describes two parcels – the one where my house sits and a portion of land that was called “Cedar Road – Closed”.

Last time we looked from the front – 1300 block Spring Road, NW

29 Comment

  • An innovative design for an unusual lot. Looks nice.

  • Yeah, this looks nice. Looks like the OP has a tall fence around their backyard so it doesn’t even interfere with their ‘viewshed’ either. win/win.

    • I don’t see how one can assert that it doesn’t interfere with the “viewshed” — maybe if the OP is in the backyard and standing right next to the fence it doesn’t, but otherwise it does. The building is taller than what was there before and it’s no longer possible to see over/past the top of it.

      • No one owns the view out from their property.

        • No, and more’s the pity.
          For about 80-90 years after these houses were built, the views were basically the same.

          • 80-90 years of stagnation is not something to be proud of. Imagine if the district didn’t depopulate following Bolling v Sharpe. We might have had housing growth decades ago.

          • “Stagnation” is your opinion. The District certainly had population loss (and other issues) in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and part of (IIRC) the 1990s, but population growth and preservation of historic architecture don’t have to be incompatible.

          • “historic architecture” is your opinion. But you might not have thought this architecture so historic if this pop-up took place in the 1960s.

          • Things from ~100 years ago are generally regarded as historic.
            Lots of the pop-backs/sleeping-porch conversions I see look to have been built between 1960 and 1980. Most of those don’t go well with the houses they’re attached to, and don’t look so great even in and of themselves.

  • So much better than before, and who cares about the 6 trees that were taken out. This alley was/is so sketchy that the absence of places to hide (ie, TREES) should clean up all the crap that goes on here.

    • So rather than patrol the alley, the solution is to kill all the trees?

      I’m tired of mature alley trees being sacrificed for more parking and popups.

      • I agree, losing the trees is a bummer. I live on Spring and I must say that part is disappointing, especially as the Spring Road side has hardly any trees. That said, the alley has been sketchy so I continue to hope this might improve some of the issues–more light and more people around leaves less room for shady activity. What most concerns me about this pop-up right now is the crew (they’ve been awful to neighbors, leaving trash and construction debris everywhere, nails that cause flat tires, not to mention a dumpster taking up parking for months). Once folks move in, the parking on Spring will continue to be difficult. Spring Road needs zoned parking if we’re going to accommodate this construction and the one on Quincy.

        • Yikes! It’s not already zoned??

        • contractors pay a whole lot per month to put their private property on the street ($75-$150) than city residents do to put their private property on the street ($3). I’m ok with it.

          • And I missed the part about that block of Spring not being in the RPP program. So the residents are paying nothing to the city to store their private property in the public right of way while the developers are paying $75-150 per month.

            Also, it’s a very simple process to get your street in the RPP database. All it takes is 75% (I think) of residents to sign a petition.

      • to be pedantic, you’re not losing trees to pop-ups. you’re losing them to rear additions. at our house, i felt terrible about losing a mature maple tree when doing a rear addition. but what was i going to do about it? just not build?

  • To be clear, the original poster is not the person who sent this photo. The city views change, that’s part of what’s great about living here. Sad about the trees though, having nothing to do with the view.

  • Not only did they take out trees. They built all the way to the alley. And then straight up from there. I was surprised they were allowed to build the actual structure right up against the alley. What I really HATE about the house is the little part that pops up above the other roofs. If you live in this neighborhood there has always been a privacy zone from the roof line up. Because of this we have never needed shades in the second level bathroom – it’s just a line of roofs. Now hundreds of people like myself have lost that zone of privacy above the roofs. That stupid pop up is so small it seems pointless to mess up the roof line for. It looks like a prison guard tower – peering into everyone’s backyards and windows. obnoxious.

    • Is that little part for roofdeck access? Beause if they took out ground level possibilities a roofdeck would be an option. Of course their view is going to be good – at least until some other person does a big pop-up/addition and then we can listen to the people who bought in this “view-blocking” project talk about how a pop-up/addition blocked the view from their roofdeck.

    • Zoning regulations require a side yard of a certain minimum dimension if the building doesn’t span the full width of the lot. The regulation compels most people to build all the to the property line, or in this case the alley.

  • DC is turning into Atlanta. When I lived there, the big thing was adding a story to single family houses, usually really ugly. Atlanta is a city no place should emulate.

  • I have to wonder what the floor plans will end up like. Seems like they might end up being a bit awkward.

  • It’s so wild looking at Google Maps for 1337 Spring Road. The street level view shows the house shortly after the trees were cleared and renovation began. But if you move one click to the west, you can see the huge swath of foliage that was removed from the alley.
    I’m all for progress and housing density but the glut of condos going for half a million+ just widens the inequality gap and drives the middle class out to the suburbs. We need affordable housing for families. Pretty soon we’re going to be San Francisco.

    • If the condos cost 500k and up, that suggests there is no glut, eh? Have you tried to buy a condo lately? How would requiring a SFH (which goes for a lot more in CH) make housing affordable for families? How many houses now are group homes, inhabited by singles who can’t afford a condo, because there are not enough, among other reasons?

      • The problem is that developers who are converting rowhouses into condos usually aren’t converting them into 1-bedroom condos that singles could actually afford, but rather into multi-bedroom “luxury” condos that drive up the prices per square foot not just for comparable luxury properties but for older, non-luxury ones too, meaning that housing becomes even less affordable.

    • “Pretty soon we’re going to be San Francisco.”

      Actually, my own comfortable retirement requires that. Nothing wrong with our culture of making money.

  • I don’t mind height as long as it’s not ugly. That box on top is just ugly.

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