Living in a landmark may sound like a big responsibility, but buyers at the Montrose, a condominium in Georgetown, enjoy the ease of upscale sophisticated amenities that match the building’s early 20th-century architecture with modern systems and finishes.
Built in 1913 as the headquarters of the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia, and later the base of the Henry and Annie Hurt Home for the Blind, the Montrose was purchased by the city government in 1987 and eventually served as a residential and psychiatric program for foster children.
After years of research and design and community input, the Argos Group restored the façade of the Montrose, including the original windows on the north side, the front porch and grand columns. Inside, the Argos Group and Sorg Architects designed an interior that reflects the historic architecture of the building — which is in the Georgetown Historic District — along with a classic yet modern sensibility.
While the six remaining homes for sale at the Montrose are priced from $1.35 million to $2.39 million, five of the building’s 20 homes are reserved as affordable dwelling units (ADUs) for buyers earning 80 percent of the median income.
According to the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, the maximum allowable income for 2013 for a household with one person is $60,839, $69,530 for two people and $78,221 for three people. DCHD held a lottery and now each of the ADUs, which are one- and three-bedroom homes, has one buyer and two backup buyers in case the first buyer cannot qualify for financing. Suzanne DesMarais, an associate broker who has been subcontracted to handle the ADU sales, says that the buyers must have good credit and be able to afford the payments. In addition, the rules say that these owners must follow the law to keep these five units as affordable housing once they decide to sell.
“The ADUs at the Montrose are priced in the $300,000s and are considered workforce housing,” says DesMarais, who works with the 10 Square Team of Keller Williams Capital Properties. “We followed a Fair Housing marketing plan to reach a pool of potential buyers who might not be aware of the option for this type of home.”
Luxury bathrooms and kitchens: Buyers of the front units at the Montrose have views of Montrose Park and the gardens of Dumbarton Oaks through the original windows.
All the homes have high ceilings — more than 10 feet in some units — as well as six-inch plank white oak flooring and recessed lighting. The bathrooms include such luxuries as limestone walls, floors and shower floors, frameless glass enclosures, heated floors, and Waterworks fixtures.
Each kitchen has white Carrara marble counters, solid cherry and maple cabinets, a white glass tile backsplash, Thermador appliances and custom-designed storage. Each home has two private parking spaces in a lot behind the building and a separate storage unit within the building. Two of the homes have private elevators and three have private balconies.
Unit 307, a three-bedroom and den home with an elevator, has an open floorplan with a center island kitchen, a dining area and a living area with a fireplace. The main level also has a laundry room, a powder room and a bedroom with a walk-in closet and a luxury bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower. Upstairs are a master suite with a luxury bathroom and a walk-in closet, a second bedroom and full bathroom, and a family room with glass doors to a private terrace.
Culture and shopping nearby: The Montrose is in a quiet section of Georgetown, facing Dumbarton Oaks gardens and Montrose Park. The Jackson Art Center, where local artists share studio space, is east of the building, while the Georgetown Library, a landmark restored after a fire several years ago, is a block to the west. Residents of the Montrose can walk to shops, restaurants and nightlife along Wisconsin Avenue, just two blocks from the building. The “Social Safeway” in Georgetown, known for its upscale clientele of Georgetown residents, politicians, diplomats and broadcast journalists, is also within walking distance.
Living there: The building faces R Street NW on the north, 30th Street NW on the east, 31st Street NW on the west and Q Street NW on the south.
Base prices for the remaining market-rate two-level two- and three-bedroom condominiums range from $1.35 million for the smallest home, Unit 303, which has 1,570 square feet, to $2.39 million for the largest home, Unit 307, which has 2,493 square feet.
Condominium association fees range from $659 to $1,036 per month.
During the past 12 months, nine of the 15 market rate homes in the Montrose have gone under contract, including all of the first- and second-floor flats. Six upper-level homes are available for immediate delivery.
Schools: Hyde-Addison Elementary School, Hardy Middle School, Wilson High School.
Transit: City buses 31, 32 and 36 buses make pickups on Wisconsin Avenue, while buses D1, D2 and D6 have routes on Q Street. It’s a 1.06 mile walk to Dupont Circle Metro for the Red Line and a 1.26 mile walk to the Foggy Bottom Metro for Blue and Orange Lines.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.