The area around Logan Circle NW, where Victorian town houses and mansions have been eagerly sought for rehabilitation in recent years, is rapidly filling in with high-rise and luxury condominium apartments.
The apartments are likely to appeal to the same kind of middle- and upper-income professionals who once were able to afford houses around Logan Circle, a once run-down neighborhood just north of downtown where prices have soared.
Jane Lyons, whose firm is handling advertising for one of the new high-rise buildings, Logan Park, said developers are attempting to appeal to "singles and young professionals who may have bought in Bethesda but always had a yearning to be downtown."
"We hope to prove that people with money are going to move into the area," she added.
The rehabilitatio;n of houses around Logan Circle created interest in remodeling older apartment buildings and in new construction, Lyons said. Without the homeowner renovations, the risk would have been too great to warrant the large investment in a new building, she said.
The developers of the 10-story Logan Park building, Poretsky & Starr and Greenberg Co., are confident enough to gamble $11 million that Logan Circle will be "the next Georgetown, Dupont Circle or Adams-Morgan," in the words of Harry Lehrer of Poretsky & Starr. The project, on the corner of 13th and N streets NW, designed by Arthur Cotton Moore Associates, is expected to be ready for sales in the fall.
Other recent high-rise projects in the area include the Bartley on 13th Stareet, which was a rehabilitation, and the newly built Mondrian just down the street from the Logan Park apartments at 12th and N.
The four-story Vermont Court, on Vermont Avenue one block south of the circle, also is new construction which was recently completed.
Lyons says that, far from being worried about the competition, developers are pleased because "it becomes more chic if a lot is goin on" in the area. "Its time has come," Lyons says of Lyons Circle.
The developers of the Logan Park condominium do say, however, that their project is not likely to attract families.
Prostitutes and drug pushers still abound in the area, and blatently deal with customers on the streets both day and night. Residents have complained vociferously to the city authorities, and the city recently began a crackdown as a result of the complaints.
Poretsky & Starr's Lehrer says the developers are not more worried about security at Logan Park than they would be in any other part of the city. But the building will feature an entry system which includes television cameras that show residents their visitors and, "initially," a uniformed doorman.
Ken Saler, vice president of Greenberg Co., says most of the 117 units have one bedroom. Thirty-five have two bedrooms and 18 are efficiencies, he says. Larger units in that area would be a mistake, he contends.
The price of the Logan Park units are about the same per square foot -- around $125 -- as the Georgetown apartments Greenberg Co. sold several years ago, he adds. The Logan Park apartments are expected to be priced from about the mid-$60,000s to $150,000.
The new building is welcomed by neighbors who rehabilitated their own town houses, says Sherrie Black, president of the Logan Circle Community Association.
Since the site had been a vacant lot, association members did not have the same concern they have for other parts of the circle, where historic buildings will be torn down to accommodate new construction, Black says.
In addition, the group was pleased that the developers attempted to meld the high rise into the Victorian character of the circle and that architect Moore consulted with the association during the planning stages, she adds.
Black says another advantage of the new projects is that they might spur new commercial activity in the area.
The developers are basing much of the appeal of Logan Park on luxury and emphasize the attempt to duplicate the area's Victorian sytle. The architecture also has a modern character, however, including ceiling skylights and sloping walls of glass overlooking Logan Circle on the top floors.
The two-bedroom units at ground level are two-story town houses, and units on the upper floors are tow-story duplexes.