39 Comment

  • I’m sorry to say there’s another one happening soon at 67 V St, so your sunsets will be blocked from that angle too 🙁

  • i think what makes this worse is that the original owner of the house sold it almost 2 years ago. The investors/bank that bought it sat on it until a few weeks ago when they sold it for a $250k profit for just sitting on the property. Work has been non-stop since. And I fear the other house that sold a few weeks ago on the block for $850k will also pop up too…

  • i rent a couple doors down from here and i naively hadn’t paid much attention to all of the pop-up discussions but i sure as hell am now. it’s hard to express in a photo/comment how truly massive this thing is and how much it really does impact the houses around it.

    also i think the construction company had a hand in chopping down one of the last mature trees on the block that was in the front yard of the house next door- big old cedar tree gone yesterday. am i a real adult now that i complain about shade trees going missing?

  • I’m sorry but I don’t really think it’s fair to complain about this until we know what it looks like. We live in a dense urban neighborhood (I’m also a Bloomingdale resident) and increased housing is good for everyone. I agree that there should be stricter regulations on the appearance and their intrusion on neighbor’s property, but if done right, they are not all bad.
    I know I sound really cold-hearted to say this but you’re not really entitled to a view of the horizon when you live in an urban core.

    • This is on my block. And i think that you will change your tune when they build it right next to your home, blocking out the sun and limiting what you can grow in your backyard. Oh and allowing you to listen in on the noise from 3 homes at once.

      • I live in a pop up in the middle of a block of rowhouses. I don’t hear any of my neighbors through the walls, and they don’t hear us through the walls.

        • Because you live in the acoustic reflector that the sound bounces off of. Todd is commenting on the fact that his neighbor’s outdoor noise used to go up and out and he wouldn’t hear it. Now it bounces off the taller house and on to him. Kind of like yelling in a courtyard is louder than yelling in a field.

          • We can hear our neighbors when they are outside too. I would assume that anyone with neighbors can hear them. You and I appear to have interpreted Todd’s comment differently.

  • Doesn’t look huge to me! Glad to hear other rowhouses on that block will also pop up soon!

    • Why are you glad H street? I wonder….

      • Why do you think I am glad?

        I see investment, people employed, tax revenues being created and additional housing supply coming online. Exciting!

        • You can have those without negatively impacting neighbors and future single-family home markets. Hence the pending R-4 revision.

          • Well, now that you mention it, i’m saying both…. i do agree that Crin has also has a point about reflected noise…but i also hear plenty of sound from both the upstairs and downstairs apts in the next door rowhouse through the shared wall…when there are 3 of them there won’t be a place in my house i can go to get some quiet.

            But the larger point is this….i didn’t buy my house to live next to a condo…i bought under a set of conditions that included: 1) having only one home and not three next door with any additional fire risks, flood risks and all those other things that can occur; 2) having relative privacy in my backyard instead of bbqing in a panopticon 3) having sunlight in my backyard to grow things; 4) not having my former view now blocked with a view of a giant 40 ft wall next door replete with windows looking into my backyard and windows. …

            Now if a developer wants to make a buck on the property next door and it changes these conditions then i deserve at minimum compensation…. otherwise, they are just making a buck at my expense.

          • Understand those were the conditions that you thought you were buying under. However, they weren’t grounded in the zoning rules. If you made incorrect assumptions when you purchased your home, why should you be compensated?

          • @Todd – you forgot a condition: 5) zoning rules permitted exactly the development about which you are now complaining. I know, that one’s pesky, but ignoring it in the context of this discussion is disingenuous. And sorry, you don’t deserve compensation when your life is affected by legal actions that have long been contemplated by the zoning code. The neighborhood did not become encased in amber when you purchased your house. I’m not saying it doesn’t stink – it does. But it’s party of city living, and you knew it when you bought.

          • you prchased with knowledge of the existing zoning laws. if you want control over your neighbors property you must use your political power to change zoning/create historic protections. I get you don’t want anything to change, but don’t complain about a risk you should have been aware of. If you cared that much about backyard privacy you should have purchased in a historic district, a gated community, or bought a larger lot.

        • Oh i thought you might just be a cantakerous bastard that enjoys seeing other people frustrated by inconsiderate developers or i thought you might just be a speculator that enjoys making a buck at other people’s expense.

          • I’ll tell you why….because the development of a condo that shares a wall with my home affects my property value. AND it affects the quality of living that i have in my home. Period. The zoning laws are less interesting than the market dynamics.

          • Ok, but what actual evidence of a negative property value effect is out there? It’s often stated but I’ve never seen empirical evidence. Your larger point was that you bought under a set of conditions that were not consistent with the zoning laws; I don’t understand how compensation would be due. You bought under a market price that incorporated the zoning laws. Now you want compensation for someone exercising the options that are afforded to them under the zoning laws that were in place when you purchased your house?

          • quality of living is subjective, but market value is not. If your neighbors pop-up, you live in a place where people are willing to live in multifamily dwelling. this equals increased property value for you once you sell.

    • Must. Not. Feed. The. Troll.

      • Nate and DCD….clearly the rules as they are written never envisioned popups… so to say that this is “permitted” is just as disingenuous ….when in reality the matter was not taken up because the phenomenon never occurred till now and the zoning has not been adjusted to account for it (until the recent proposed amendments). Lots of things are legal but not correct (like stealing houses from old people who are delinquent on their mortgages). Just because someone can legally do something doesn’t make it moral or correct. I can legally construct a 20 foot clown on my roof, but i don’t out of consideration of those that may not love that… But whatever, if you get it or not, others do get it as Mendlesohn recently proposed the same thing (solar easements) complete with rules for compensation…it’s been done for years with other sorts of easements. It’s not new and it’s not a mystery how it is implemented.

        • Todd, I think you’re grasping at straws here. The zoning ordinances, as currently drafted, permit increasing the height of existing buildings. Just because you never thought it would happen doesn’t that it wasn’t envisioned. (As an aside, I don’t know when the first pop-up in an R-4 zone happened, but it’s not a terribly recent phenomenon. Unless you’ve been in your house for 30 years or so, I don’t think you can claim that this came out of the blue.)
          “I can legally construct a 20 foot clown on my roof, but i don’t out of consideration of those that may not love that” I double you can legally do that, but I’d certainly like to see it!
          We’ll just have to disagree that, as a blanket matter, it’s “not correct” for a bank to foreclose on someone, whatever their age, when that person defaults on contractual obligations. Just out of curiosity, in your opinion at what age does a person become exempt from paying his or her mortgage? 65? 68?
          It was Grosso who introduced the “solar easement” bill, not Mendelson, and even if it was law, you’d still be out of luck. It is limited to compensation when solar access to an already-existing solar energy system on a rooftop is blocked, as long as the homeowner has received a very specific solar easement. Sadly, it does not cover (I) you having to BBQ in the shade, or (ii) any detrimental impact the pop-up might have on your cherry tomato, basil, or zucchini plants.

          • DCD, ..just read the myriad articles about mortgage firms foreclosing on elderly folks….CityPaper did an entire series on it sometime back…not mortgage defaults, but people who had tax liens from the city but didn’t even know it…it’s a well documented and known phenomenon and the perpetrators are within their legal rights to buy up these properties, but it’s not moral. Geez take a look at the entire financial meltdown (Magnetar and otherwise) all within the law but all essentially immoral and detrimental to the social contract. The presence of law certainly does not define the limits of the social contract. In fact, the idea that we should do what we can do is one of the greatest misconceptions of freedom to beset the “american democracy” (which a recent Princeton study says no longer exists by the way)So no it’s not grasping at straws at all…it’s simply one of the major flaws in our system…there are people who are willing and able to exploit the law to their own ends and do so at the expense of other people. It happens all the time and in the past ten years it defined our economic landscape (economic meltdown). Egregious popups are just one representation of that….and in this i means irresponsible pop ups…because whether or not you believe it, i’m not against all of them…in fact i think they can be done right. But mostly not and certainly not at all by developers.

          • Congress should hausmanize these row homes. It would be a rough change for sure, but it would keep millionaire homeowners from complaining about evil developers violating the social contract. Please don’t compare much needed new housing stock to the financial meltdown and the decline of morality and America.

          • You wrote, “like stealing houses from old people who are delinquent on their mortgages.” That is not the same thing as buying up a tax lien, whether it’s properly placed or not.
            Regardless, are you seriously comparing pop-ups to the economic meltdown/mortgage crisis? If so, perhaps a few deep breaths are in order to help you regain perspective. I understand you feel ill-used by the developer putting up the pop-up in question, as well as society as a whole. But that’s pretty out there.

          • Yes, many people are angry simply that the architecture on these pop ups sucks and it degrades the “architectural heritage” of the hood…. I agree…but i think that many others are angry that in general alot of the pop ups being built (just like the one in this photo on W) are a big fat FU to the neighbors on the street…they are INVARIABLY a developer from outside the community (Beasley is one who has multiple projects going on here in Bloomgindale)….who are playing an economic “game” which they contend it by the rules (nevermind who wrote those rules is the power elite with civil society being squeezed out of the conversation (again, i reference the princeton study). IN the end, it is an outgrowth of a system that is based purely on rules (laws) rather than on values. This the greater point that i’m making….the weakness of our system is that too many people treat their businesses like a game and if they are inside the rules (their prerogative) they are good….but that’s just not the case. Cigarette companies still sell poison….legally. Investors play the games that destroy millions of people’s retirement pensions. We are a society that has focused too much on our law and justifying our actions accordingly. Thus, the economic meltdown and all sorts of folks that feel justified in their actions, but who are slowly degrading the trust and the quality of civic life. You may be able to do something legally (like build a 40foot popup next to my house). It doesn’t mean that you should or that it is good to do that. The solution in this case is to create a system where the neighborhood can weigh in on the design of these popups and the compensation due to people who may lose quality in the long run. I think we are moving in that direction …at least i hope we are…

          • Todd, thankfully, you seem to have a number of options. Option A: Lobby the government/zoning folks to change zoning in your neighborhood. Option B: Seek Historic designation along with your neighbors. Option C: Sell your house for a tidy profit, buy elsewhere where such construction is not permitted by right. (Make sure to do your homework this time around.) Option D: Continue whining on a blog.

          • Fortunately, I’ve been doing quite alot of lobbying with the council and the DCRA and if you paid attention i was even quoted recently quite extensively in the media coverage. So my message is getting thru to someone…. but thanks again for reminding me of my options. I also prefer not to desert my neighborhood just because speculators are invading it. Blogs are public opinion forums sorry if you can’t take an opinion that is contrary to your own without disparaging it. At least DCD and Nate are making an effort at an argument. You didn’t even sign your comment. C’mon…whose whining here?

          • Accountering

            The hysterics are a bit much eh? Invading your neighborhood?!? Seriously?
            They are buying property at arms-length, then investing sizable sums of money to create value for future buyers, and to earn a return for their investment. Lets lay off the hyperbolic war language. This isn’t GWB invading Iraq.

          • Seriously…. there are 3 popups scheduled for my block as of right now. Sorry, that’s an invasion. It will totally change the streetscape and the architecture of the block as well as all the other things i mention (reduced views, increased noise, parking issues…etc.etc)….and i just heard today that 42W is adding ANOTHER FLOOR….this is rivaling the famous V street Monster. And that’s only a small number of the total popups being erected in Bloomingdale. Sorry if it hasn’t hit your block yet…i’m sure you’ll get your chance and then you might feel differently.

  • How much are you willing to pay for a sunset?

  • It’s always confused me why parts of Shaw are in historic, protected areas, along with LeDroit, but Bloomingdale is not.

    • Historic districts are created by communities, not the city. The residents of Shaw and LeDroit Park got together, applied to be a historic district, hired out the historic research and survey (or did it themselves) to convince the HPRB why they should be a historic district. HPRB approved their applications. If Bloomingdale wants to be a historic district they just have to apply.

  • Popups, honey badger of the housing market.

  • All this talk about having bought where zoning laws permitted larger new building is beside the point. Even if the zoning laws had prevented such, when the area became ripe for development, the zoning laws would have been changed. I saw this happen with a large change of zoning laws in NYC some years back. Did the residents of many low-rise brownstone neighborhoods organize against it? I am sure some did, but real estate developers have much more power, especially when there is a need for more housing. The new buildings that were built (and are still being built) there have uglified a large swath of my old neighborhood. And much of the neighborhood had landmark protection as a historic area. They just up zoned the avenues at the edges, and streets left out the the landmarked area because they had (very low rise) industrial buildings on them historically.
    It’s not that I’m against new development or new housing, but I do believe it could be done at shorter heights and with better looking architecture, to preserve the beauty of the neighborhood that was such a draw to build more housing there to begin with. But developers make more money with taller buildings, more units per building, and little attention to good design. Interesting that developers of 100 or so years ago weren’t interested in building ugly, out-of-scale buildings, but everybody seemed more interested in creating neighborhoods pleasing to the eye and pleasant to Iive in.

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