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Holding out in the Flickr pool

Here are our favorite new images from the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool, showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region.

Holding out: Mt. Vernon Triangle. Photo by Payton Chung.

Metro. Photo by Randall Myers.

H Street. Photo by Ted Eytan.

Ballston. Photo by wolfkann.

National Zoo. Photo by ianseanlivingston.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos!

Aimee Custis is a wonk, communicator, and professional advocate at the Coalition for Smarter Growth. Her writing represents her own views, though they're often aligned with her employer's. Weekends, you'll find Aimee at home in Dupont Circle or practicing her other love, wedding photography


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Great pics

by BTA on Jan 10, 2014 3:15 pm • linkreport

I laugh every time I hear or see a photo about that Mt. Vernon property (holding out) whose owner, through his own hubris turned down what was a mighty and unheard of windfall for that tiny property, not believing that the property wasn't worth the tens of millions he wanted, and that they would simply build around him, leaving his property nearly valueless.

The developer called his bluff. Makes me laugh every time.

by HoldingOut on Jan 10, 2014 3:55 pm • linkreport

Not sure if it's "nearly valueless" - it's a hot neighborhood and it looks like there is enough room there to build straight up. So maybe a 5-7 story building could be put there?

by JDC on Jan 10, 2014 4:22 pm • linkreport

JDC Said:

Not sure if it's "nearly valueless" - it's a hot neighborhood and it looks like there is enough room there to build straight up. So maybe a 5-7 story building could be put there?

It's unlikely that much more could be built on that property. It's more probable that the current structure was overbuilt. Also, based on the fact that the the building in the right of the pic has side windos on the third floor, I'd say the current structures were built to their zoning max. The commission wont approve side windows if the adjacent structure could theoretically build up next to you. That's why so many pop-ups don't have side windows.

If they somehow got around that built up, they'd still have to taper (which the Lyric -- on the left in the pic -- does on one side) in order to comply with land percentage use (im butchering the term for it). So anything above the 2nd/3rd floor would be useless.

So basically @HoldingOut nailed it... it'll be a yoga studio in 5 years.

by probablyheldontoolong on Jan 10, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

I have to say I do like these little holdouts that show what the neighborhood was once like. It's what gives the urban landscape variety.

by Igor on Jan 10, 2014 4:41 pm • linkreport

It's kind of the reverse of a spite house. It wasn't built to piss someone off but has become something that really sticks out because the rest of the neighborhood changed.

Also, maybe the owner of the house will get a bunch of balloons and detach the house from its foundations and fly to south america.

by drumz on Jan 10, 2014 4:50 pm • linkreport

I just looked it up because I was curious.

The final offer on the property was 2.9 million, and it was turned down. The holdout owner had purchased it for 135K, and at the time of the 2.9 million dollar offer, the property was assessed at 670K. He was offered 5 times its worth, and nearly 22 times what he had paid for it.

After the development got built around him, he nearly lost the place to forclosure as he apparently had tapped half a million or so in equity on it over the years, and couldn't pay the mortgage.

He finally sold it almost 2 years ago for 715K, 1/4th what he was offered 3 years prior.

A true lesson in hubris

by HoldingOut on Jan 10, 2014 5:08 pm • linkreport

@HoldingOut - who purchased it? Person or developer?

by JDC on Jan 10, 2014 5:51 pm • linkreport

Great set of photos! Snow is just so photogenic.

@probablyheldontoolong: Their one way to rescue some value is to put something there, like a bar, that wouldn't be able to pass condo-board muster. I snapped another photo of a holdout liquor store in College Park -- in that case, between the larger footprint and the vast new built-in market of inebriates, I'm a little hard-pressed to say that they've left money on the table. (That goes for someone like a liquor store, which can hold on and collect the profits.) In the case of the one on Mass Ave, though, yeah, they definitely lost out.

by Payton Chung on Jan 10, 2014 7:45 pm • linkreport

I love hold outs. Shows the big guys can't get everything they want, even though I wouldn't have held out.

"The commission wont approve side windows if the adjacent structure could theoretically build up next to you."

Not true from my experience. They have to sign a letter that says their windows can and will be blocked up should the hold out do what everyone else can do with their property, assuming other regs. are observed. This property could build right up to the limit as many sliver buildings show.

by Thayer-D on Jan 10, 2014 8:50 pm • linkreport

I learned the term "Lot Line Window" from one of those reality shows that followed NYC real estate brokers.

by drumz on Jan 10, 2014 9:13 pm • linkreport

"I love hold outs. "
Same here. They break up the repetitive strip-mall-efficient frontages these mega-projects usually create, even if only marginally.

by Bob See on Jan 11, 2014 11:08 am • linkreport

It's charming and provides needed light and variety to what would otherwise be a monolithic, monotonous block.

by Alf on Jan 11, 2014 11:09 am • linkreport

Payton Chung: Given the number of storefronts in that College Park development which are now vacant (Roti, ChiDogs, and YoLove have all shut their doors), it looks like the liquor store might have had the right idea after all.

I know that Roti and Seven Seas up the road (which has also closed!) are being redeveloped into bars -- it looks like establishments that sell alcohol are more able to stay afloat.

by jms on Jan 11, 2014 1:25 pm • linkreport



The hold-out is doing the neighborhood a favor.

by kob on Jan 13, 2014 8:44 pm • linkreport

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