The 23-acre NPS campus was once a hotel resort (1887 to 1893); a girl’s boarding school (1894 to 1942); an Army hospital annex (1942-1977) and a military medical research lab. The architectural mix is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in the Washington area. One of the historical buildings, a former firehouse, is now the Fire House. Other buildings look like a Swiss chalet, a Dutch windmill and a Japanese pagoda.
Buying New: The Power Plant at National Park Seminary in Silver Spring, Md.
Starting over: Karen Carey said she wanted to downsize and start afresh after her husband died several years ago. “I constantly searched online for a smaller home, bungalow or condo in the Bethesda [Md.] area, but nothing stood out,” she said.
She sold the family house in Bethesda and went to live in a little Eastern Shore cottage they’d bought years earlier “until that right place came along,” she said.
She was familiar with the first restoration at NPS — the 2015 conversion of the Greek Revival-style gymnasium into 12 condos. Last year, she learned that the same developers, Karl and Trevor Voglmayr, were renovating three more of the buildings on the NPS campus.
Karl Voglmayr is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, and his firm’s specialties include renovations of multiunit historical buildings.
He said the firm, Washington Landmark Construction, “respected the vision of what the buildings were” as it adapted them for modern living. “We started with something that was totally falling apart from one floor to the next,” he said. “We repurposed it in an environmentally and energy-conscious way. We retained all the historical elements.”
Last summer, Carey met Karl Voglmayr on site and walked with him through the unrenovated space, listening to him describe his vision for the property. She purchased a Fire House unit.
“I have a great appreciation for what the three buildings are now,” Carey said. “I know what’s beneath the floors, what’s behind the walls, how many approvals for mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems Karl had to obtain. It’s a very old place, yet it’s modern and up to date. I found everything I wanted and more for a new beginning.” She hopes to move in soon.
Eight-sided room: Debbie and Tom Carty moved from a large house in Kensington, Md., into a two-level unit in the Practice House in February.
Their unit has a turret, an eight-sided space they’ve turned into a dining room. “It’s where we eat our meals and is one of our favorite things in the home. It’s light-filled with a two-story ceiling,” she said.
A seven-foot-wide hallway with five round windows leads from the turret to the living area on the main level. “We heard that this hallway connected buildings for the schoolgirls and that the turret had benches for them to rest on,” she said.
The master bedroom is up a flight of stairs, and a second bedroom is on the main level. A 400-square-foot private patio has a roof supported by six columns that are about 25 feet tall.
“We took a tour of the property last fall,” she said. “We weren’t planning to downsize for several years, but when we saw this unit, we upped our schedule. Since all the units are one of a kind, we knew we kind of had to take it now or never.”
Schools: Woodlin Elementary, Sligo Middle, Einstein High.
Transit: The property is inside and close to the Beltway (Interstate 495) and a mile from the Forest Glen Metro station, on the Red Line. Connecticut and Georgia avenues, 16th Street and Rock Creek Parkway are easily accessible. Montgomery County Ride On buses provide service to downtown Silver Spring, Chevy Chase and Kensington.
The Power Plant
2701 Hume Dr. #FH1, Silver Spring, Md.
There are 14 condominium residences in three adjacent buildings. Three are sold. Eleven are for sale, at prices ranging from $675,000 to $1,025,000. Purchasers can receive a historical tax credit of up to $50,000.
Builder: Washington Landmark Construction
Features: Ceilings are up to 15 feet high. Solid wood floors run throughout. Windows are double-hung. Kitchens are outfitted with stainless-steel appliances, a waterfall island, stone counters and a pantry. Bathrooms have floating vanities, a rain shower head and handheld shower fixtures. Units have gas heat, keyless access, an inside video screen to view visitors and bike storage. Parking spaces are $35,000. The developer will put in an electric car charger at no extra cost if a purchaser requests one.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3/2 to 4
Square footage: 1,304 to 2,343
Combined condo and homeowners association fee: $377 to $512
View model: By appointment.
Contact: Oliver Harris at 301-320-0700 or powerplantcondosatnps.com