LeDroit "country house" could become 14 homes
A 19th-century country house at 1922 Third Street NW is one of the LeDroit Park's gems. It is about to receive some much needed attention.
At Thursday's ANC1B meeting, Community Three Development presented this concept to renovate the main house, to renovate the carriage house, and to build a new townhouse at the southern edge of the property.
The developer recently finished the swanky M Street Flats located in the Mount Vernon Triangle area. The group also completed The Nine on the 1300 block of Ninth Street, backing up to the historic Naylor Court. If these forerunners are any indication, 1922 Third Street may receive a high-end renovation.
The developer's design, in his words,
creates an addition to the existing main building that is smaller in scale and secondary to the main building, allowing the main structure to continue to read as the dominant form on the site. This addition terminates in a "carriage house court," designed to celebrate the existing carriage house, while maintaining the historic structure's existing view corridor from U Street. A new unsubdivided townhouse lot and structure is created to terminate the row of townhouses directly to the south of the site. The result of these interventions preserves and enhances the character and urban form associated with the main structure and corresponding carriage house.
Though Community Three will need the approval of the city's Historic Preservation Review Board for the overall project, they are not seek zoning variances.
Here are some drawings and diagrams from the concept. Note that the developer proposes to add a new rowhouse on the south side of the property (middle of the first drawing below). Some residents have expressed concern that the proposed rowhouse is too tall. The developer states that the added height was the idea of the Historic Preservation Office (HPO), since end-unit rowhouses were traditionally built to be bigger and more prominent than the intervening units.
In the next drawing, the concept preserves the historic carriage house (on the right) and connects it with the main house with a new structure (middle) with a hipped roof that mimics the former and dormers that mimic the latter. Some residents also expressed concern that providing only four on-site parking spaces for 14 units would overwhelm the adjacent streets with additional parked cars. The developer said he proposed five spaces, but HPO suggested four, so as not to overwhelm the site. One ANC commissioner asked the developer what, other than providing less parking, would the developer do to discourage car ownership. The developer had no other plans, but said he would consider bike parking and car sharing.
With the new connecting building and rowhouse, the project will increase the building footprint on the lot.
The developer clearly put a lot of thought into the proposal and it will be interesting to see in the coming weeks what modifications will be made to the plan in light of community input and further HPO staff opinion. Some residents are surprised by the number of proposed units, while others want to see construction start tomorrow.
Renovating LeDroit Park's unique historic homes (unique to Washington, in fact) is nothing new. A few years ago a developer renovated another historic LeDroit property, the Italianate-styled Juniper, and many consider that renovation an exquisite achievement.
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