GDoN “convent converted to lofts by trend foreseer” edition

by Prince Of Petworth May 3, 2016 at 12:25 pm 18 Comments

215 I Street Northeast

This unit is located at 215 I Street, Northeast. The listing says:

“C. 1874 convent converted to lofts by trend foreseer Jim Abdo. 1840sf terrace lvl home, 2br/2 full ba + pwdr rm (waterworks), a real den, chef~s kit. (wolf, Subzero, Italian granite etc) exposed ducts & brick, hi ceilings, wide plank wd flrs, large windows incl French doors to private flagstone patio ~ the list goes on. Gated grounds, club rm, screening rm, pool, gym – price incl 2 garage spaces!”


You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/2.5 bath is going for $1,085,000 ($982 monthly fee.)

  • HaileUnlikely

    I generally don’t mind exposed ductwork, and in some cases I even like it, but the way it has been done here is kind of hideous. If this were a fixer-upper at a third of the price (and a third of the fee!), I’d be interested and would figure out how to deal with the ductwork. For >$1M plus additional ~$1K/month fee, I don’t think so.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting. I think in this case the exposed ductwork looks pretty cool. (I have no opinion on whether it’s a good deal or not.)

  • Philippe Lecheval

    Trend foreseer, indeed. I remember 20 years ago, Jim Abdo was telling me about a time in the future when Millennials would walk around face down with iPhones in their hands, bumping into each other like some kind of zombies. I told him he was crazy.

    • Contor

      What would a post be without a phone comment.
      Sometimes, there’s just a better article or conversation happening in your phone than on the sidewalk.

      • womp


    • Angry Parakeet

      Like your avatar, I’ve admired it for the weeks you have used it. “Horrible children…”

  • LedroitTigah

    I would probably paint the exposed ductwork? (white?) but its probably fine for others.

    The bedrooms seem small for the price (though the closet and bathrooms seem enormous)

    I guess I don’t think the price is that bad (bedroom sizes notwithstanding) — but that condo fee seems outrageous

  • ***

    Really missed opportunity and an odd mixture of very traditional finishes with “trendy” finishes. Agree with the others – the exposed ductwork, which could be fine if the rest of the space had an industrial/loft feel, instead makes the space look cheap and unfinished.

  • Noreaster

    actually, this was a convent converted to the Children’s Museum, and *that* was converted into condos. does that still qualify the esteemed mr. abdo as a soothsayer?

  • Wow

    It is pretty enough, but the price/fee is insane. $590/sqft to live essentially beside the tracks that carry all north bound traffic out of Union Station? And you’re still 6-10 blocks from anything you’d really want to do on H street (take the streetcar!)?

    Maybe that is the trend foreseer part. This would be a good deal in 20 years, surely isn’t now.

    • Anon H St

      Well, there is a lot of good stuff at the Union Station end of H St now (Boundary Rd, DC Harvest, Big Board, Le Grenier to name a few). So I think the location is pretty great, and that building is really nice. However that is so much money for a 2-br condo, especially when you factor in the fee.

  • Anon

    Is Tom Faison not feeling well, or is this a low-rent Faison impersonator?

    • textdoc

      Pfft, Tom Faison would never be so prosaic as to describe the actual unit in his blurb.

  • fka Shawess

    I’m not sure what the comps are in this neighborhood for price/square foot, but I’m wondering if this pricing scheme is basically designed to 1) set the price/sq ft in line with other “luxury” condos in NOMA, and 2) set the fee to cover the extras like 2 parking spots, the pool, the gym, etc. While the numbers themselves look a bit insane, this is pretty amazing square footage for a 2 b/2.5ba and the amenities sound pretty extensive, as well. For people who want to have all of those amenities in their building and a lot of space, the price might not be too insane.

    • fka Shawess

      Also: I want that closet.

  • It’s just me

    I’ve looked at a couple places in this building, and I just don’t get the prices. They’re nice enough units, but seem well overpriced for the neighborhood.

  • Emily

    Something to keep in mind with the amenities in this building is that they are part of the Senate Square complex, which means you share the pool/gym/business center/concierge/etc. with mostly renters, a significant portion of whom are pretty young. In fact, you may be largely subsidizing their usage — when I lived at SS, our yearly amenities fee of $2K (so just 2 months condo fees) was waived every time we signed a new lease. So not only is the fee high, but it’s deceptive because you’re not really getting a 1/44th share of the amenities — more like a 1/300th share. And the pool and gym are VERY busy, especially during peak hours. Plus, thanks to the stupidity of some residents, the building is constantly doing things like banning alcohol on the roofs because too many of the folks who live there can’t handle it.

    Another downside is that it’s terrace level, making it a lot less private than other units in that building. There’s a lot of foot traffic through the courtyard areas around this unit. The high fence around the patio is nice, but won’t do anything about the noise of people coming home from the metro or going between buildings.

    On the other hand, two parking spaces is huge, especially in that location where parking went from easy to impossible over the last six years. I believe Senate Square rents spaces to residents for $200-300 per month. The proximity to Union Station would also make the spaces an attractive rental to a commuter. So that’s quite a bit of very lowkey potential rental income if you don’t have a car (which, you don’t need one if you live here because of the transportation hub nearby and the Zipcar spots out front).

    Overall I’d say the price sounds high for this particular unit in this location, but those [private, secured, indoor] parking spaces are a wildcard that could make this worth it to the person who can (1) afford it, (2) will use the amenities enough to justify those fees, and (3) is savvy enough to make those parking spaces as lucrative as possible.

    • jb916

      Not sure what size unit you had but my current amenity fee at SS is $700/year and they waive it if you re-up the lease within a certain time frame. They may be waiving for new move-ins as well given current “luxury” rental market. Also, parking is $150, not $200-300, and there is a ton of space in the building. Still pricey but far less than similar buildings in Shaw or on 14th. I think the Louis is $350 and 14W is $400+. In the year my gf and I have been in the building, I’ve never heard of them doing something like banning alcohol on the roof. Or if they did, we were certainly in violation.

      I do agree that some of the residents are young and pull some drunken shenanigans that frustrate the rest of us. And you’re right on that owners should consider that they are splitting their access with the rest of the facility. Plenty of the complaints about SS are valid but this comment is a little inaccurate.

      GF and I toured this unit a couple months back during an open house. To those mentioning noise, it’s an interior unit (faces the building pictured above) so noise isn’t too much of a problem. Moreover, the whole complex was well built with regard to noise. We face directly onto the tracks and can barely hear the trains. Just as important, we never hear our neighbors. The bigger problem with this unit is light. It’s ground floor, interior, and bracketed almost totally by the other buildings. I wouldn’t buy it even if I had the money but to each their own. I liked the


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