From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com.
Have you ever thought to yourself: “You know, if you knocked that wall down, this Chipotle has the potential to be a pretty great living space?” Well then, you might just have what it takes to get ahead in the competitive DC real estate market.
In the pursuit of the perfect living space, many real estate developers and home buyers in the District are going the route of the unconventional in order create unique and charming properties.
In recent years, several older buildings have been repurposed to meet the growing need for housing and commercial space in the District.
The old Lenox School in Capitol Hill, built in 1898, was recently converted into 24 condominium units. Churches like St Monica’s Episcopal in Capitol Hill have also been converted into housing. In Adams Morgan, the old Kalorama skating rink is currently being redeveloped into apartments, albeit without windows. The new Matchbox restaurant on 14th Street was also once a bowling alley.
Now in Dupont Circle, the building that most recently housed Omega (2123 Twining Court NW, just south of P Street, has been purchased and will be turned into an alley home.
As reported in Urban Turf, the once DC gay bar hotspot was recently purchased by a family who intends to repurpose the property into a single family home.
Originally built as a stable house in 1905, the property was first converted into a restaurant in the 1950s and later became The Fraternity House in 1979. The club was eventually renamed Omega in the 1990s. Omega abruptly closed its doors for good on December 26.
As long as space is available, there really seems to be no end to this “adaptive reuse” trend. A few years from now, we’ll find ourselves commenting on how – you really can’t even tell those apartments used to be a Barnes and Noble.
The 5,850-square foot Omega property was sold for$1.9 million.
These days, Donald Trump is after more than reality TV ratings and tea party zealots. America’s best-known real estate mogul is moving in on DC. With potential political aspirations and three recent real estate investments under his belt, I can’t help but ask: Could “The Donald” be our new neighbor?
In 2009, Trump redirected his luxury golf empire investments (already in New York, Florida and California) to the DC area, with the purchase of a Northern Virginia country club (Trump National Golf Club) that sits on the Potomac River.
Last summer, news broke that Trump purchased the infamous 1,000 plus acre Kluge estate and winery near Charlottesville. Currently, Trump’s son Eric is running the vineyard. And while the land is not in DC, like other Virginia wineries, it is considered a playground for District residents on the weekends.
And the latest on his list of DC purchases? A Pennsylvania Avenue address. (No, not that one…) This past year, Trump purchased the Old Post Office Building, with plans to turn the historic landmark into a luxury hotel with his daughter, Ivanka.
I can’t help but wonder what’s next… Will Trump be the one to swoop in and rescue the Lincoln Theatre? Maybe he will join the long list of luxury apartment and restaurant developers along the U and 14th Street NW Corridors?
Perhaps I am being too quick to react, but I can’t help myself from cringing at the thought of more Trump acquisitions in the District. Really, Donald Trump is no different from other real estate investors who want to capitalize on the up-swing of our nation’s capital, but each purchase in DC gives him more power and more ability to commercially exploit the city that I love so much. The last thing I want is for the District to be just another shiny souvenir the Trumps add to their shelf of conquests and collection of properties and brands.