Think office space, and you may think of the K Street power corridor or the sprawling corporate campuses of Fairfax County. But there's some commercial real estate that's simply quaint.
The Heurich House Foundation, which runs a museum in a landmark house south of Dupont Circle, recently began marketing office space in the carriage house behind the main mansion.
Heurich House, also known as the Brewmaster's Castle, was built in 1894 for brewer Christian Heurich, a German immigrant who was one of the District's wealthiest businessmen. The two-story carriage house was built out back in 1903, said Gary F. Heurich, who is Christian's grandson, chairman of the board of trustees of the foundation and president of Olde Heurich Brewing Co. The foundation, led by Heurich and his cousin Jan Evans Houser, bought the property at 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW in 2003 after the Historical Society of Washington sold it to help raise money for its move to the City Museum downtown.
The carriage house, now surrounded by the museum's showcase gardens, originally housed carriages on the first floor, then cars. Staff apartments were on the second floor. The building appears diminutive in comparison with the 31-room Richardsonian Romanesque main house, let alone the office towers that now rise nearby. But it's 2,600 square feet, larger than the average new American house. The foundation is asking $27 per square foot, a rent in line with the neighborhood.
Although the carriage house has been used as office space for much of the last 45 years -- by the National Genealogical Society, an architecture firm and a psychologist's practice, Heurich said -- that's not the foundation's favored idea for it. Instead, Heurich said, negotiations continue to establish an Austrian-style coffeehouse and beer garden in association with Austrian-born Georgetown developer Anthony M. Lanier. But that's taking time, Heurich said, and the board decided it had a "fiduciary responsibility" to attempt to rent the carriage house, at least for one to five years.
The space, which has been empty since the foundation bought the property, isn't in trophy-class move-in shape, Heurich acknowledged. "It needs minor repairs and a coat of paint," he said. "But if it were my office, I'd just go ahead and move right in."
-- Maryann Haggerty