City Paper Widget

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

1508 Caroline Street: ANC Says Popup OK, Just This Once

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle voted unanimously to endorse a request to add two additional stories on a residence on Caroline Street NW, one of which will be visible from the street. The unanimous endorsement occurred at the ANC's regular monthly meeting on November 12.

The aim is to make it symmetrical-looking from the street.
At the meeting, and in the resolution subsequently approved by the ANC (see text halfway down the page here), it was emphasized that this property had a unique situation and the approval of additional stories should in no way be construed as setting a precedent for the neighborhood.

Caroline Street is runs one block from 15th Street to 16th Street, just south of U Street. With the exception of 1508 Caroline Street, it is made of matching pairs of two-story houses, constructed at the same time in the 1880s.

A third story was added on 1508 Caroline Street sometime before 1900. This makes it the only three-story building on the block, and the only building on the block which does not match its next-door neighbor.

The new owner of 1508 Caroline Street has also owned 1506 Caroline Street next door since 1989. He told the ANC he had meet with neighbors two weeks ago to brief them on his plans for the renovation and expansion. It includes a complete interior renovation and the removal of the chain link fence in front of the house, which the owner believed was the last chain link fence in the neighborhood.

HRPB placarding on the property
The owner said the basement will also be excavated to create a basement apartment. The apartment will have a side entrance which will not be visible from the street.

On top of the new third floor, built to match its neighbor, there will be a fourth floor, set back nine feet two inches from the front of the third floor.

Tom Bauer, President of the Dupont Circle Conservancy, testified that his group intended to endorse the "unique semidetached" project. The renovation would make the pair of buildings look more consistent and historic.

"This third story should not set a precedent," Bauer said.

The owner of neighboring 1510 Caroline Street asked about the time of day when construction would take place. The owner said construction work would generally take place during normal working hours with "rare" weekend work.

Since the building is in the U Street Historic District, the renovation and expansion must get the approval of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). Consideration of the project on the HPRB's agenda for its next pair of meetings, the first of which is on November 20.

However, the proposed matching third-story popup on the front of 1508 Caroline Street has not been viewed favorably by HPRB staff -- see report here. The rest of the project, including the two-story rear addition and the basement alterations, raised no objections.

Online records show this building was last sold in July 2014 for $725,000.

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