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Halfway house in D.C.’s Shaw to go condo

(Square 134 Architects)

In a dramatic transformation, a 40-bed halfway house in the District’s Shaw neighborhood will soon re-emerge as a nine-unit luxury condo building.

This month, Lock 7 Development plans to break ground at 1514 8th St. NW, a site previously owned and operated by the organization Efforts From Ex-Convicts.

The nine condos will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedrooms units. The three-bedroom residences will be premium products, with top-floor placement, 1,226 square feet and private rooftop terraces.

Lock 7 acquired the property in the fall, and spent several months securing approvals from the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) and the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

Currently, the 59-year-old building has a simple brick facade that the HPO deemed “nondescript” in its staff report. Over the next year, the three-story building will be scrubbed up and slightly expanded, with a rooftop addition and widened windows and doorways. The new rooftop will match the height of the rowhouse next door, so neighbors won’t have to worry about a “pop-up” effect.

After decades spent housing up to 40 ex-convicts, the life of the building will undergo a marked change.

“It’s going to a much less dense level of development, in terms of the number of people sleeping there,” Alex Padro, the Area Neighborhood Commissioner representing ANC 6E01, said in an interview.

“Is it really any different than Central Union Mission?” asked Padro, referring to the homeless shelter that was displaced from its location at 14th and R streets NW in 2013 to make room for a 51-unit luxury residential project. The Central Union Mission moved to the Gales School building at 65 Massachusetts Ave. NW to make way.

Development on the 14th Street Corridor has barreled forward. Similarly, 7th and 9th street NW have also been in transition.

Lock 7’s project is surrounded by new construction; located one block south is 650-unit CityMarket at O and one block east is Jefferson Marketplace, a mixed-use project with 281 luxury apartments. Density in the neighborhood has increased significantly because of projects such as these, said Padro.

“[Our building] couldn’t be more in the center of all the action,” Lock 7 Development principal David Gorman said in an interview.

The plans passed through the approvals process within the BZA and the HPO without a bump. The one issue neighbors had with the project, Padro said, was parking. Plans call for three parking spaces, which are slightly smaller than normal. Gorman said they match the width of a typical space but fall short on depth, so longer cars will not fit. Neighbors were hoping for one parking space per unit, Padro said.

Square 134 Architects drew up the plans. The renovated building will have wider windows to drawn more light into each unit.

According to Gorman, delivery is estimated for early 2016.

Shilpi Malinowski is a freelance writer.