Thursday, June 12, 2008

Imperial Intentions in Court House

Adding their share to the Byzantine world of residential development, Monument Realty's 262-unit Palatine project is opening up for occupancy as a condo-gone-rental. While the Arlington Court House area is not a good comparison to the second Roman Empire (we won't forecast its decline and fall), the building, designed by Davis Carter Scott (DCS), sits ponderously on Troy Street, and will include cast stone that looks similar to limestone, bringing a slight, well, monumental touch to the neighborhood.

A building description by former project manager at DCS, Kevin Pennington, back from the condo days of 2004 reads, "The Palatine Condominium is a contemporary twist on the neo-classical style of architecture. Perched on a hill like the palaces built by Tiberius and Nero on Palatine Hill...The Palatine is above the fray and bustle of the City below. The Palatine draws you near with graceful columns reaching toward the sky and arching together. The rich colors of the cast stone base bled upward to the comfort of the brick facade above..."

The less romantic story for the edifice is that the cast stone was, "something Arlington pushed for so the building will be a different scene in the area rather than just more brick," according to Gunn Prag, current Project Manager at Davis Carter Scott. The building sits two-and-a-half blocks south of the Court House Metro, overlooking Arlington Boulevard, and joins a list of completed projects in the Rosslyn- Ballston corridor, most of which began conceptually as condos, but have recently begun delivery as for-rent apartments.

“We are spanning two types of environments, so we go twelve stories up on the north side and then scale down to mid-rise level. We transition from the heights of the high density offices around us to the mid-rise level, a stepped-tower approach,” said Prag.

Described by project manager Glen Seidlitz at Monument as the “premier rental building" in the courthouse area, the units inside the tasteful building have all the ingredients for high-end condos, including stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, but will instead be rented at market-rate prices starting at $1790 for a studio to $5905 for a three bedroom, two and-a-half bath townhouse with a den. Leasing is underway with delivery scheduled for the ides of July.

Because of the conversion, there will no longer be double level units in the towers, although the corner balconies are still technically multi-story amenities as they are without roofs. Other condo-to-rental adjustments include the elimination of the cauldarium - or rather sauna and the conversion of the business center to a more Roman style party room. Symposiums are more fun anyway.


mediocre bad guy on Jun 12, 2008, 7:48:00 PM said...

I can get past the fact that this is boring architecture at its best but can we PLEASE make a law against putting every units HVAC and laundry vent on the facade of a building?


AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! %!^@!^&@%!$%@^&

Anonymous said...

gee bad guy, what a great idea. lets vent everything through the roof using valuable square footage and increasing the cost of the system. that will really help the sky high cost of housing.

at least this building has tried to keep them off the main facade and put them on the balcony returns.

Anonymous said...

MBG; some developers put the actual AC units on the exterior of the building. Thanks the Architecture God that at least they didn't do that.

mediocre bad guy on Jun 19, 2008, 1:13:00 AM said...

I'm a bit unsure as to what both anons are trying to say as the units are on the exterior wall of the building and there is no effort to hide them other than by painting them to match the surrounding exterior surface. Anon #1, it is a great idea to use your brain as an architect. There are plenty of buildings in DC that vent on the facade but don't make it as obvious and cheap. Look at city vista's K building where units do vent to the exterior and not to the roof but are cleverly disguised by architectural elements rather than just slapped on with a coat of paint. The couple of square feet per unit it takes to vent a building to the roof would not drive the cost of housing any higher. Do we really think developers aren't making a huge profit from things like this?

Example: 555 mass, where there is minimal effort to hide the vents, and the Dumont where everything is vented on the roof. The two buildings are incredibly similar in cost (to the buyer) but the latter uses the rooftop vents as architectural elements.

Not to mention you have the added benefit of having your HVAC in a less conspicuous place than say in the middle of your living room, right next to your picture window.

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