$2.7 Million Renovation of 1346 Park Road, NW Completed in Columbia Heights

by Prince Of Petworth December 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm 25 Comments

1346 Park Road, NW

From a press release:

Less than one year after acquiring the vacant and dilapidated 21-unit apartment building at 1346 Park Road in the Washington, DC neighborhood of Columbia Heights, Urban Investment Partners (UIP) has completed a $2.7 million full-building restoration. The building will be operated as a rental property and is currently in active lease-up.

This historic structure now has 28 modern apartments located just one block from Metro and across the street from the new Giant supermarket. The total gut renovation transformed 21 original one-bedroom units 28 into mostly two-bedroom, two-bath residences, including seven apartments added to the terrace level. The building has new plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling systems as well as a new roof, windows, and condo-level finishes. UIP opened the original balconies on the front of the building, restored the original façade design, re-planted an interior garden space, and replaced previously added windows that were inconsistent with the original historic exterior.

The renovation work, performed by UIP General Contracting, Inc. (UIPGC), provided newly remodeled apartments with smart appliances, kitchen islands with book shelves and granite tops, glass tile backsplashes and renovated wood floors. UIP Property Management, Inc. has taken over day to day management of the building.

Prior to the beginning of the renovations, a number of longtime 1346 Park Road NW residents temporarily moved into other apartments for the duration of the renovation. Now that the renovations are complete, UIP is moving these residents back into their newly remodeled apartments at their original rent-controlled rents. UIP is covering all moving costs for these longtime residents, and also providing custom finishes and added optional extras at no cost to these residents.

March 2010

Dec. 2012

  • I can attest that this was a heck of a job. I watched workers take barrels of old oil out of the basement along with bags of oil-soaked material and asbestos contaminated materials. The only way this building was going to get renovated was by someone who had the money and know-how to do it.

    I’m really happy to see this building back housing people. The same company renovated an adjacent building on Kenyon St. I wonder if the two will be connected at some point? Anyway, that building was a similar deal – lots of work on the basics like plumbing, roof, etc.

  • Tim

    Looks great from the outside! From walking by there everyday going to work, it’s been neat seeing this project through. For convenience to metro and Giant, location doesn’t get much better than this. Only main downside I see is being across from the Giant truck unloading area and the noise from all that work in the morning.

  • Anonymous

    It may look great but UIP is a nightmare if you are a tenant.

    • anon

      if you are going to make that kind of claim.. you should try and back it up.

    • CJ

      I’ve been living in a UIP building for three years and have zero complaints.

  • Artiloop

    Also – anyone else notice: 21 1-bedrooms somehow became 28 two-bedrooms? I guess “modernization” means “shrink ray express.”

    • Yeah, I was noticing that too.

      Even if the original one-bedrooms were on the larger side, it seems like the bedrooms in the two-bedroom units would end up being really small.

    • If you read the entire post, it says that 7 units were added.

      • Yeah, but it says 21 one-bedrooms plus the 7 new apartments became 28 “mostly” two-bedroom units.

        So it sounds like most or all of the one-bedroom units were turned into two-bedroom units.

        • Anonymous

          Or perhaps they created additional units in the basement and left the most of the original floor plans intact.

  • out of curiosity, how is UIP to deal with? I looked into renting from them when I moved a few months ago, but ended up finding something else. Always nice to know the lay of the land for when the inevitable next move comes…

  • Anonymous


    Looks like a lot of the 2 bedrooms are still over 900 sf – not bad.

  • Anonymous

    I’m new-ish to DC and less familiar with rent-control laws, so I was curious–was UIP required to give longtime tenants a right to return, or was it out of a corporate/philosophical commitment to retain longtime residents and keep the complex more mixed-income (a good thing, in my opinion). Or did they get some kind of density bonus or favorable variance for doing so?

    • jcm

      Here’s a great primer on UIP.


      Here’s how the company works. The typical UIP purchase, built in the 1930s or 1940s, has a lot of issues: rusted pipes, faulty air conditioning, leaky windows. To fix all that—and add other amenities, for which future tenants will pay more—the company’s in-house general contractor sometimes needs to pump millions of dollars into renovations. Existing rents below market rates make that hard to pay for.

      So UIP uses what are known as “voluntary agreements,” deals signed by at least 70 percent of tenants that have to be approved by the District’s rent administrator. The terms usually include small rent hikes, or none, on renters already in the building. But the lease prices for empty apartments can soar. Tenants who don’t want to stay can take buyouts—in the case of a building near 14th and U streets NW, UIP paid all of the low-income households $60,000 each to leave, which allows for a much easier wholesale renovation and a building full of near-market rate units. (Of course, it also left dozens of low-income residents looking for a new home somewhere else.) Those who stick around get to live in a nicer building without paying more, but when they leave, the rents go up for new residents.

      • Interesting article, thanks for posting the link.

      • WinWinSolutions

        60k would cover moving costs AND a pretty good down payment on a purchased place in a cheaper nabe (in DC or the suburbs). Sounds like a great deal for the “displaced”.

        • Anonymous

          That’s only a great deal if a displaced tenant actually *wants* to move to a cheaper neighborhood or to the suburbs. Not everyone does, and for all kinds of reasons: safety issues, longer commutes to work or whatnot, uprooting oneself, and maybe the kids as well, from familiar and much-loved neighbors, schools, and community institutions–especially for those tenants who’ve advocated for neighborhood improvement and would like the opportunity to stick around and actually benefit from the changes they helped bring about.

  • Anonymous

    Balcony access via bedrooms only. How nice.

    • 14t

      the balcony is only accessible through the bedroom probably because of modern building code which requires windows in the bedroom. it’s probably a restriction of the original building shell. that happens a lot when these type of buildings get renovated. (i agree it’s not ideal at all.)

  • S

    Living in a building like this is basically like winning the lottery.. sheesh

    I wish I had a brand new apartment at rent controlled prices

    • it’s easy just be poor then aspire to remain that way.

  • shipdoggg

    Be wary of UIP and the voluntary agreement scenario if you are a tenant of a building that they purchase. Their model is pushing out low-income residents and increasing rental prices across the city. I have not seen the UIP promised repairs and maintenance on my apartment. Google search and you will find other complaints from other buildings that have been taken over by UIP.

    • Yeah its called getting a return on investment. Why drop 2.7 million dollars in renovations when you have people paying rent at a below market vallue. This company isn’t doing this in the kindness of their heart. They have to make a profit somehow. The cost has to be made up somewhere.

      • petwurf

        that’s less than $100K per unit; pretty bargain-basement-priced renovation for a building of this size. depending on how many market-rent apartments they’re leasing, they’re doing just fine.

  • JR

    So it seems as if the new renters and the surrounding rental market will bear the cost of the original residents’ subsidized housing?


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