Buying New: Not your typical condo building around Dupont Circle

September 18, 2018
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Dupont Circle is well known for its cultural institutions and classic rowhouses, for its shopping, dining, and nightlife. And Bruce Packett, among many others, considers the centrally located Northwest Washington neighborhood a highly desirable place to live.
“I’ve worked in D.C. since the 1990s and lived in the city for more than a decade, and Dupont Circle has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods,” said Packett, who recently bought a condo unit at the James, a new building at 1761 P St. NW, with his wife, Holly Packett.
The Packetts, who has been renting an apartment about a mile away in Adams Morgan, have a 1-year-old daughter, Freya, and a big part of what drew them to Dupont Circle was a nearby elementary school. We’ve been working with a real estate agent to find a two-bedroom place that fits into our budget, that’s located in the Ross Elementary school district,” Packett said.
“We’re committed to the city and want to send our daughter to public school. That elementary school is highly rated, so we were looking only in that district.”
New construction is rare in the historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, which has small and large condominium buildings and rental apartments pleasantly surprised to find a newly built condominium. Bruce works a few blocks from the James, and the neighborhood is walker-friendly and served by public transit. The Packetts also like the fact that the James is a relatively small building, with just nine units, so they can get to know their neighbors when everyone moves in later this year.
Former church property: The James, which faces P Street, is part of a larger development that includes a 51-unit apartment building under construction behind the condominium. The parcel of land where the James is located was a parking lot that was part of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church,” said Robin Bettarel, a senior vice president with CAS Riegler, which is developing the James. After years of neighborhood controversy over the project, the condominium is nearly complete, and the apartment building and a new church are being built.“We worked with the Historic Preservation Office in D.C. on the exterior architecture of the James because this is a historic district,” Bettarel said.
“We needed to use masonry for the outside rather than new materials and the proportions of our bay windows facing P Street had to mimic the townhouses to the west of us on the block.”
Three units remain for sale, including a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit on the lower level and the two two-level penthouse units. Prices for the three units range from $499,900 to $1,499,900.
“No two floor plans are alike in this building, and there are only a handful of units on each level,” said Timur Loynab, a vice president with McWilliams | Ballard and the sales representative for the James.
Most of the units have a terrace or a patio, and they all have extra insulation and design features to reduce noise, Bettarel said.
Drawer-style microwave: The Packetts bought one of the three ground-floor units. The unit faces south and has a small patio.
“We like the open floor plan and the fact that the bathroom is accessible from both bedrooms,” Bruce Packett. “The second bedroom is actually listed as a den because it doesn’t have a window, but it gets some light from the front windows.”
One ground-floor unit remains. The 681-square-foot unit is priced at $499,900, and it has one bedroom, one bathroom, and a private patio. The unit has an open floor plan, with a kitchen along a wall that it shares with the living and dining area and a wall of windows with a glass door that opens onto the patio.
The bedroom has a double-door closet and a door to the bathroom, which is also accessible from the hall. The unit has a coat closet and a closet with a stacked washer-and-dryer.
Penthouse One, which has 1,354 square feet on two levels, is priced at $1,399,900. The open living and dining area has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows facing P Street, and a box bay window provides a bump-out niche. The kitchen has a kitchen island, a pantry and a wine refrigerator, a drawer-style microwave oven, and built-in trash and recycling receptacles.
“We added a few extra features to the penthouses, like the wine refrigerators and panels over the refrigerators, but a lot of the features are standard, such as the quartz backsplash that extends to the cabinets,” Bettarel said.

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