A North Carolina lawyer is breathing new life into the seven-story Iowa apartment building on Logan Circle, much as he has for the Fairfax Village garden apartments in Southeast Washington.
Built 77 years ago for about $125,000 by Thomas Franklin Schneider, the cherub-adorned Iowa at 13th and O streets NW is being refashioned into 44 modern condominiums by attorney David G. Clark. On adjacent land, 52 town houses are being built around a parking deck. A reflecting pool is planned for the project's garden area.
Most of the apartments and town houses have been sold -- at prices ranging from $38,000 to $98,000. Apartment buyers are to move in starting in February; the town houses will be ready in June.
The Iowa's reconstruction is part of the rebirth of Logan Circle, an area where the heavy street traffic of prostitutes is beginning to slow as the rehabilitation of fine old houses increases.
The Iowa complex was designed by Sulton, Campbell & Associates of Washington and grew out of the ideas of Clark, a soft-speaking lawyer from Charlotte, N.C., who has become a part-time resident of the District.
Clark, whose great-grandfather was governor of North Carolina, came to Washington five years ago to do something about the aging, 826-unit Fairfax Village apartment complex in the Hillcrest area of Southeast. A former state legislator in North Carolina, Clark makes his permanent home there in an 1820-vintage house on 4,000 acres near Charlotte.
Clark's late father-in-law, A. Lloyd Goode, was the original developer of Fairfax Village. Because major rehabilitation would cost too much and city-imposed controls were keeping rents down, Clark said, Fairfax Village was converted to condominium owner-ship.
"An important aspect of the decision was that the owner-occupant of a unit could get 30-year financing that would keep the rent slightly less than would be paid by a rental tenant," Clark said. "This remains true today, even under rent control."
Only a few of the Fairfax Village units are unsold. Remodeled into larger apartments, prices have more than doubled since the rehabilitation process began in 1974 -- from $16,900 to $25,000. Incomes of buyers range from $10,000 to $80,000, according to a survey Clark made.
"After we had the Fairfax conversion well under way and had weathered the financial crunch of 1974-75," Clark said, "we became aware of the availability of an urban renewal site at 13th and O NW. That's where the Iowa had stood vacant for some years and looked aged and forlorn -- which it was."
Clark sensed possibilities in the Iowa tract -- and was the first developer to do so, one city housing official says. Clark bought the property for $202,000. He also obtained permission to build private, moderate-income housing on the adjacent land, where previous city plans had called for subsized housing.
Clark's decision to remodel the Iowa was made before Logan Circle began to catch on. He got a construction loan commitment of $2.5 million from SAFE, a consortium of D.C. savings and loan associations, and a pledge for permanent loans from Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association, which had provided mortgages at Fairfax Village.
Last week the Iowa project received one of five awards made by the D.C. Housing Industry Corp. for outstanding community developments.
The D.C. Housing Industry Corp. is a consortium of District builders, bankers, savings and loan associations, realtors and mortgage bankers.
Also cited were the 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue office building of Quadrangle Development Corp.; the Pentacle rental housing community built by Horning Bros. at 15th Street and Benning Road NE; the 307 Northwest Co-operative Homes at Florida Avenue and R, Q, N and 5th streets in Northwest by the Foundation for Co-operative Housing and Bush Devlopment Corp., and the Campbell Heights highrise for the elderly developed by the National Housing Partnership at 15th and U streets NW.