Check Out the New Apartment Building Coming to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


Thanks to a reader for sending.

From Mac Realty Advisors:

“MAC Realty Advisors, LLC (MAC), on behalf of NOVO Development Corporation, successfully arranged an investment from a boutique private equity fund for the acquisition and development of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, an existing used car lot located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC. In addition, MAC placed a senior construction loan from a regional bank for the transaction, which closed on February 19, 2014

NOVO Development Corporation, headquartered on Capitol Hill within walking distance to the site, will build a five story, 77-unit residential building with a one-level parking garage.”


32 Comment

  • Well, they got quite the bankable address for advertising, just ignore the SE …

    • Exactly. “The other 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

      • Trying again…
        “The [i]other[/i] Pennsylvania Avenue.”

        • OK… so, HTML with carets around it (proper HTML style) doesn’t work, nor does BBCode (or whatever it’s called — like HTML but with brackets instead of carets).
          Wasn’t somebody using HTML in a comment on here last week?

    • One of my favorite memories is walking into Trusty’s in 2006 or so and seeing the bartender ask an older women in a fur coat with a suitcase if she wanted to wait inside for her cab. In a rather condescending way, she indicated she would rather wait outside.

      When I asked the bartender what was going, I was told for some reason instead of dropping her an the Willard, a cab driver delivered her to the same address in SE.

  • Heinous.

  • No retail? Sigh.

    • the retail a block up sat empty for a year or so…

    • Because of the bridge, Barney Circle, and traffic flow, this location really may not a good location for any retail other than something like a dry cleaners or a 7-11. And there are other retail/commercial properties up and down PA avenue on the east side of 8th that have either sat empty or look like they are empty so I am not sure they would have had success attracting anything.

  • what an eyesore! People are just supposed to ignore good taste in the hope of someone being dim enough to mistake them for president? oy!

  • Tough crowd here. Compared to other new construction in the city, it looks fine to me. I like the clock tower portion. I like that the first thing you see when you cross the bridge will no longer be a parking lot selling used cars. I like that the added density on that portion of Pennsylvania (couple with the new building at the New York Pizza) may activate this side of Penn Avenue with some more retail/restaurant options.

    • I’m always wondering if the people criticizing buildings like this are also the ones saying that popups look just fine, or if they’re completely non-overlapping groups.

      • And I always wonder if these are the people who say all pop-ups look bad. Sounds like some overlap is our best bet! 🙂

    • Agreed – I live a block away and don’t think it’s so horrible. It’s by far a lot better than the shady used car dealership that was previously there!

      • I guess better than what was there is one way to decide if something is nice or not. Missed opportunity is another. It just looks like something you’d see in Herndon at a strip mall or something. Without the context of the article, I’d have guessed this was in Fairfax.

        Also, @textdoc, I don’t mind pop ups depending on how they are done. Not sure what that has to do with this though. This isn’t a pop up. They aren’t adding on to an existing structure. They started from a blank slate and came up with this.

        • +1 It just looks blocky and tacky. Compared to an empty strip of land or used car lot, sure it’s an improvement, but there’s just no creativity here. Why not really play up the White House angle and build something in a neoclassical or palladian style?

  • I seriously want to know what people want if they find this heinous, ugly, or whatever. Is it amazing? No. But does it maximize the buildable square footage while providing much desired density and activity on that side Pennsylvania Ave while not being a glass and metal box? It does.

    Also, does this building and its residents walking to the metro mean DDOT will start to enforce the public space violations caused by these garages:

    • What I’d want is probably not something feasible for that neighborhood since it would likely be too expensive to build for the return on investment. That said, there are plenty of smaller condo buildings throughout the city that appeal more to me than this style, and truthfully I’d prefer any of the glass boxes being built throughout the city to this. I’m hard pressed actually to think of any new construction building in the city that I like less than this. I am not asking you to agree with me, just answering your question.

    • maxwell smart

      This is just as generic and uninspired as a glass box and somewhat even more offensive because it looks like what someone who has never been to DC imagined the buildings looking like. It’s entirely faux-historical style made up of stock building decorative components. No design. No thought. This adds nothing to the fabric to DC and does nothing to promote design. As a building that sits at something of a gateway into the city, we deserve better.

      • It might as well have been designed by committee with the Capitol Hill historic folks breathing down their throats.

        It’s unfortunate that the horizontal bands clash so much with the vertical bay windows. Plus, what a missed opportunity to play up a White House look.

    • I don’t know why everyone assumes that everyone else wants a whole lot of additional density. I see this building as a possible means of addressing the DC family homeless crisis and it could significantly address the numerous families in need of housing, but I don’t suppose that’s the kind of “density” anyone’s talking about here. Unless of course it also includes a sidewalk café or dog grooming valet

  • This building looks like it belongs a few blocks from Ballston.
    The problem with this (and any) new apartment building is that the market under-values buildings aesthetics since the benefits accrue to the entire community (rather than just residents). While any developer will prefer a better looking building to a worse looking one at the same price, there’s very little market incentive to invest in design. It’s only when you get to the very high budget range prestige address type buildings that people are willing to pay for looks.

  • justinbc

    It’s really not that bad. Doesn’t look like a “DC” building, but building something that does is pretty cost prohibitive, especially in a part of town where you’re not likely to recoup the costs.

  • goaldigger

    With this address you’d think it would be more of a neo-classical Federal style (missed opportunity!)

  • As ridiculous as real estate in DC has gotten over the past few years, I wonder how long it will be till 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW is redeveloped as high dollar condos. They can relocate the President’s house to somewhere in Maryland.

  • It does look a little ’90s-surburban-town-centerish but I don’t think it’s dreadful. And the address is totally fun. I would have so many presidential-themed parties there.

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