A flurry of building activity is underway on 21st Street NW between New Hampshire Avenue and P Streets NW and developers along the street say the block will undergo widespread renewal in the next 12 to 18 months.
While the block is just outside the official boundaries of the redeveloping West End area, Alvin McNeal, chief of ward planning for the Municipal Planning Office, said the rehabilitation is part of the ongoing interest in the Dupont Circle area, and is not necessarily keyed to the renewal of the West End.
Paul Hersh, who is converting the former Westerly Apartments at 1320 21st St. NW into 34 luxury condominiums, said he was the first redeveloper on the block when he began about a year ago. He has renamed the building the West End.
Now, in addition, a nearby 10-unit condominium is also being renovated by Hersh Enterprises: the Holland and Lyons real estate firm and an architect who specializes in custom homes are also at work on the street.
"Within the next 12 to 18 months, I expect to see a lot of individual sales of single-family homes on this street," Hersh said. "I expect there will be a lot of additional construction here."
Hersh will complete work on the West End building next month. All of the units, including four efficiencies, 14 two-bedroom units and 16 one-bedroom apartments, have been sold, for prices ranging from $35,000 to $85,000, Hersh said.
"We had contracts on everything in the West End building within seven months after we started working on it," he said.
Built in the 1920s, the Westerly had a "white-gloved doorman in the lobby" in its heyday, Hersh said.
"Over the years, the building ran down," he added. "We've tried to bring it back to the era when it was at its best. We completely gutted the building, we are adding a circular entrance, we're using exposed brick and we've included wood-burning fireplaces and washers and dryers in some of the units."
Harlene Cohen, of Holland and Lyons, which marketed the West End building for the Hersh company, said 150 people signed up to buy the 34 units. Some were directed to a nearby Hirsh project, the 10-unit Addendum.
"The West End is an extremely beautiful neighbourhood," Cohen observed. "When you say West End now, people expect to find very beautiful homes which are also very expensive."
Holland and Lyons has begun to rehabilitate the Dupoint Arms Apartments as 1337 21st St. and two adjoining town houses facing O Street. The plan is to create three luxury town houses that will sell for $300,000 each, Cohen said.
Those units will be completed in about four months one has been sold, she said.
In addition to those projects, a rooming house at 1410 21st. St. is being converted into a single-family house by the architectural firm of Simmons, Fong, and Cohen.
"The client wants a first-rate, luxury home with an apartment for himself and a three-bedroom rental unit," said Thomas Simmons, the architect on the project.
Nearby, another developer, Angelo Puglisi, is starting to build 20 new town houses. Ten are to be built on the site of a former parking lot on O Street between 21st and 22d streets.