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GDoN “Lot located in the Historic district called ‘Takoma DC'” edition

by Prince Of Petworth November 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm 22 Comments


This lot is located at 606 Butternut Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Available LAND in DC! Build that Home on this Lot located in the Historic district called “Takoma DC”. Blocks from Historic Takoma Park, MD, & Takoma METRO Station. METRO bus stops within walking distance. The Lot measures approx 60 wide & 100 ft deep with a rear entrance for Parking if desired. A Fabulous Location nestled between established Homes. Owner RE Licensee. Offers reviewed Nov 30″


You can see more photos of the lawn here.

This lot is going for $265,000.

  • HaileUnlikely

    If I could afford to buy this and build myself a new house without having to sell my current home to swing the payment, it would actually be pretty tempting, and one could certainly end up with a much nicer house at a much lower price this way vs. buying an actual house in the current market. I’m not sure what building a new house on a vacant lot in the Historic District entails, though.

    • anon

      “and one could certainly end up with a much nicer house at a much lower price this way vs. buying an actual house in the current market.”
      Not likely. This is a pricy area. Estimating conservatively, a custom build in DC has got to be at least 300/sq ft. That is 600k for the house and 265 for the land. Do houses in Takoma cost $900K? This is why people buy into subdivisions, it drops the cost of new homes. If you were really cheap you might be able to slap a prefab on this lot for under 300K-maybe.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Didn’t know/realize construction costs had gone up that much. It was really just a fantasy anyway – I’m not going to sell my actual house (which is a small and hideously ugly house) to go buy this land.

      • Anon

        Nice houses in Takoma (i.e. recently remodeled homes from the 1910s) DO sell for $800 to 900K.

        So you’d be getting a new house for $900K which may or may not have advantages over a 100 year old house that has been updated several times.

      • houseintherear

        $300/sqft is just about luxury pricing, which of course is what many people would want… but $150/sqft-$200/sqft is more realistic for what most folks would build. In the space, you’d likely have a 1500 sq ft home with a small yard and/or parking, so I’d think $350k-$400k would be more likely for a building price. However I do think this land is priced for a bidding war… we’ll see.

        • HaileUnlikely

          This is more like what I was thinking when I posted the above regarding wanting to buy it.

        • anon

          Agreed. We went through an extensive renovation of a historic home a few years ago. It was pretty pricey (we went the relatively luxe route). Building from scratch is much cheaper — less work on both the design and construction ends, and you don’t have to worry about integrating systems, demolition, hidden problems, capacity issues, etc. etc. And most people aren’t gonna do custom all the way — they can pick from plans that builders have in stock and tweak things here and there. Plus, that lot looks nice and level — really ideal conditions for a new-build. So the owner won’t have to spend extra on trying to re-grade or address slope issues. If the land goes for this price, it’ll be a very good deal.

        • anon

          1500 sq ft!!
          This will be a mcmansion. The cost to get that 4th or 5th bedroom is not much more than only building 3 bedrooms. From a resale perspective it is smartest max out the build.
          Plus this is a luxury area-people are saying homes cost over a half million. I would predict a developer building a spec house.

  • Non

    Phew! Glad they got more photos of the lawn! That’s some sweet sweet grass, I say DEAL!

  • emilysquirrely

    It’s good to own land.

    • LK

      Aren’t there limitations on what type of house can be built in an historic neighborhood?

  • Anonymous

    It’s zoned R-1-B.

    Tax records show it’s 5750 square feet so you can build a single family home (no basement units, no accessory structures by right) on 2300 square feet of land. I mean, I can see this working but as mentioned above, you’d really have to have faith that you could sell a SFH in Takoma for 900k or so for it to make financial sense.

    • PewPew

      There was a SFH that sold recently for $950k, so yeah, completely possible. a TH there just recently sold for $580k. The housing prices are starting to go up there, and will likely do so in the future now the deal with the Army for Walter Reed is done and construction for that will be starting.

      • HaileUnlikely

        If you mean the one on Georgia just south of Fern, it, along with the adjacent property to the south, were bought by the same developer. Neither was listed for sale and both were heavily damaged. I’m fairly certain that the developer is going to either demo these and build something altogether different, or else just sit on the property until the Walter Reed development comes in and then try to resell the property for a whole lot more. In any event, from the perspective of an owner occupant rather than a developer, $950K for this area is still way high. I still think the above estimates regarding construction cost were a bit high, though. Somebody could build themselves a very nice house for well under $500K in which case this would work out to be a very good deal.

        • Breedentials

          $3.2 million for 7203 Georgia Ave NW. “A basketball court with no hoops.” Price/sqft: $2,073

  • Anonymous

    I think when building from scratch, it would be better not to be in a historic district. You have to factor in HPRB oversight and the design costs associated with that.

    • petworther

      I could be wrong here, but I think HPRB primarily restricts existing (i.e. historic) homes. New construction is pretty much fine, unless the lot somehow contributes to the historic character of the district (I’m having a hard time guessing this does). On the other hand, it does give any potentially angry and unreasonable neighbors one more tool to stop you from building, just ask the guys trying to renovate houses on Grant Circle.

      • Anon, A Mouse

        New con is a little easier, the city’s oversight is more suggestion than mandate. If what you build is “similar” in scale, setback, massing, and materials you have more leeway. Build a giant glass box and you will run into resistance, but a modern take on a Bungalow or something even a bit more contemporary will probably go smoothly.
        I used to do development. Our 30 second analysis was if the land cost $X the house should be $2X and we need 20% on top of that. Existing homes were a better deal and when buying my first SFH I ran into tons of developers who would outbid me by 10%. I’m super excited to see where this one goes, if this goes into a bidding situation the margins start to get thin. It could be great for a handy home builder.

  • petworther

    Nice lot, good location. A lot will depend on the development rights. I don’t know what this is zoned or if it already has the necessary permissions to put in a structure.
    Assuming it’s perfectly build ready I bet it will go for asking. 400k will build you a really nice house and under 700k for a house in that location with a yard is a good deal.


    I love Takoma! If I had some money lying around, I would buy the land and put a tiny house on it. By the way are tiny houses allowed in DC?

  • Planner

    I would hope that anyone who buys this land becomes an expert on zoning and the historic preservation review board process. I am sure you can end up with a lovely house here, but before you start is would be best to be aware of everything that is allowed or not, as well as who has the power to approve or disapprove of your designs.
    Throw in a visit to the ANC too, if only to talk things through informally.

    • PewPew

      There are modern houses in this neighborhood, the issue is not so much new houses, but existing ones. A new house does not have to go through the review board. Changes to existing house may have too if it’s past a certain age.


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