Then and Now: Meridian Mansions/The Envoy
Meridian Mansions was built by Kennedy Bros., Inc., breaking ground in July, 1916. This impressive apartment building is located at 2400 16th Street, and cost $950,000 to build, making it the most expensive apartment house in the City at the time of its construction. It was a collaborative design from three of Washington's leading architects: Alexander H. Sonnemann (plans), Francis W. Fitzpatrick (elevations), and Reginald W. Geare (interior detailing).
The building was originally configured with 190 apartments, 112 of which were efficiencies and one-bedrooms for short-term stays, and 78 two- and three-bedroom apartments for permanent residents.
Among the list of innovations announced to the public in 1916 were a refrigerating plant which did away with the necessity of ice in the apartments, electrical as well as gas connections for cooking, roof gardens, and a tennis court on the roof of the garage and power plant. Because of this an its proximity to many embassies, it became the home of diplomats, members of Congress, and other noted persons.
It changed ownership a couple times between 1936 and 1960, by which time it had also become one of the city's few integrated apartment houses with many African diplomats in residence.
The name was changed to the Envoy in 1964. A total renovation in 1979 removed the six rooftop pavilions and eliminated the building's two ballrooms and public dining room.
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