An almost-presidential address: Developers plan apartment for 1600 Pennsylvania SE

July 9, 2013

Your social-climbing friends may be impressed by your change-of-address card if you take an apartment in the building planned for the banks of the Anacostia River.

But will they be disappointed when they show up for your housewarming — or worse, get lost? And won’t it be a hassle picking up Barack Obama’s misdirected mail?

Such are the exotic concerns facing future residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast. You heard that right: 1600 Penn. Same as the White House — almost.

HANDOUT -- An artist's rendering of the apartment building planned for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in Washington, D.C., by Novo Development Corporation. (Courtesy of Novo Development Corporation)
An artist’s rendering of the apartment building planned for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. . .  (Novo Development Corporation)

The developers who hope to break ground on the 77-unit building early next year say they were drawn to the lot bordering Barney Circle by its river views and proximity to a Harris Teeter and the Potomac Avenue Metro station. But the potential for a sexy address did not hurt.

“When we purchased the lot, it’s something we eyed,” said Greg Selfridge, a partner at Novo Development which owns several hundred units in the D.C. area and plans to build its first ground-up complex on the site, now occupied by a used-car lot. And the future address, already approved by the city, is perfectly legit, he argued: “It sits on the 1600 block, it sits on the right side of the street — there’s no reason not to call it that.”

. . . Not to be confused with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (Ron Sachs/ EPA)
. . . Not to be confused with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (Ron Sachs/ EPA)

Selfridge said that Novo already has zoning approval for the apartment but still needs to apply for a building permit. It hopes to welcome tenants — into one-bedrooms starting at $1,200 and two-bedrooms up to $2,800 — by early 2015. Cheaper and smaller, to be sure, than the executive mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue’s Northwest quandrant — but, hey, do they have a dog-washing station there? Novo plans one for Southeast.

The basic address is more common than you might think elsewhere in the country. It belongs to a city sewage plant in Salem, Ohio, an office building in Charleston, W.Va., an apartment complex in Miami Beach, a church school in Dallas. But “after all these years,” boasted Selfridge, “you’ve never seen another 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.”

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