Thursday, July 03, 2008

West End's Newest Condos


Washington DC's West End neighborhood has two more condominiums to call its own. The neighborhood that had until the past few years been the DMZ between Georgetown and Dupont, home to emergency vehicles, gas stations, and crumbling embassies, has nearly completed its neoresidential transformation. After two years of construction, Eastbanc Development's 22 West has begun moving residents into the building. One block away, the Tiverton Apartment building is now undergoing renovation to convert the historic apartments into a condominium.

The Tiverton, at 1121 24th Street, was purchased by Keener-Squire in early 2008, which removed the tenants to make way for a full renovation and conversion into the West End Flats. Sales by Coldwell Banker Residential are expected to begin in September. Sale of the building touched off a firestorm last fall when Georgetown-based Eastbanc proposed a comprehensive development package that included the Tiverton. Under the proposal, Eastbanc would have purchased three parcels for market rate, including the Tiverton and adjacent West End Library site, and would have provided the District with a new fire station, library and Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department, all of which demeaningly outdated.

The DC Council approved the real estate sale last July but, waking up the next morning and realizing what it had done, was suddenly revolted at the non-competitiveness of the agreement, and on October 2nd, with neighborhood activists protesting to have more input in the District's sale of land, unanimously passed a motion to reconsider the sale. The Council then passed a second motion proposed by Councilmember Jack Evans to table the property disposition, which effectively ended discussions on the deal. The Council initially approved the development plans "in the belief that [the Council] was protecting the rights of the Tiverton tenants," said Evans at the time, but in the end the entire council buckled, and eventually sold the Tiverton separately, sacrificing development of the library, fire station and police station.

The West End is surrounded by tony condos like the Columbia Residences, which converted the old Columbia Women's Hospital, and Ritz Carlton, also by Eastbanc. The Tiverton is expected to be ready in early 2009. 22 West, designed by Shalom Baranes with a zinc exterior, is selling its 95 condos from the upper $700k's.

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