Herbert Casey has watched the transformation of Silver Spring into a vibrant hub of restaurants and nightlife during his lifetime residency in the Montgomery County suburb.
“Silver Spring is a part of me, and now I’m excited to own my own home there,” Casey says. “Renting is okay, but owning is better.”
Casey and his fiancee will be among the first people to move into Octave 1320, a new nine-story condominium development at 1320 Fenwick Lane that is expected to be ready for occupancy by late fall. Designed by BKV Group and developed by ProMark Real Estate Services, Octave 1320 is a repurposed office building built in 1964. The building’s basic structure has been preserved, but everything else in the building is new.
“Bob Eisinger, a principal of ProMark, was looking for a building that could work to provide some affordable housing in this area, where we could develop homes at a smaller price point,” says Peter McLaughlin, director of development for ProMark. “We’ve been able to take advantage of the fact that we could keep the foundation and support structure and avoid the expense of land preparation and ground-up construction. There’s also a quicker construction time on a remodeling project like this one, which will take 12 to 13 months instead of the 18 to 24 months that a new construction building would require.”
McLaughlin says the Octave 1320 units are among the first built in downtown Silver Spring since 2007. Designed to be affordable for first-time buyers, they are priced from the $200,000s for one-bedroom units and from the $300,000s for two-bedroom units. Real estate agent Andy Alderdice, with W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, a Long & Foster company, says 670 people are on a waiting list to be notified when sales start and 20 units have gone under contract in the early weeks of sales.
Small spaces seem large: “I bought a small one-bedroom unit, about 500 square feet, but it’s got high ceilings and is a great starter place for us,” Casey says.
Megan Voorhees, another first-time buyer, lives across the street from Octave 1320 and hoped to stay in the neighborhood when she was ready to buy.
“My mortgage payment is about the same or less than a one-bedroom rental, and it’s all brand-new,” she says.
Voorhees bought a one-bedroom unit with 10-foot-high ceilings and a Juliet balcony that make the 500 square feet seem larger.
“It’s nice to have a gym and a lounge with a fireplace, plus we have a roof deck and a parking garage next door,” Voorhees says.
The model home, Unit 111, has 497 square feet and a wall of windows with a sliding glass door to a narrow balcony. It has 10-foot ceilings because it is on the first residential level; other residential levels have nine-foot ceilings. McLaughlin says the one-bedroom homes, which have between 451 and 547 square feet, are not micro-units because micro-units are typically smaller than 400 square feet. Octave 1320’s one-bedroom residences are closer to a typical efficiency unit of 450 to 550 square feet.
“Smaller units can work in a downtown urban setting like Silver Spring because we know that younger people who want to live here don’t spend that much time at home,” McLaughlin says.
An enclosed rooftop lounge can be reserved for private parties, and the roof deck has views of Silver Spring’s skyline, surrounding tree canopies and downtown Bethesda. The building has a first-floor lounge as well as a bike storage room.
Corner sliding barn doors: One-bedroom units have sliding barn doors that open the bedroom up to the living-dining area during the day for more space and then close it off for privacy at night. Each unit has an open floor plan with a kitchen connected to the living and dining area. There is a closet for a stacked washer and dryer and a closet in the bedroom. Some one-bedroom units have an oversize shower in the bathroom; others have a combination tub and shower.
Two-bedroom units have a shower in one bathroom and the combination tub and shower in the other.
“Because this is a conversion project, the units are not all cookie-cutter,” Alderdice says. “Some of the homes have a niche where you can keep your keys and charge your phone, some have pantries and some have coat closets.”
Some of the upper-level units have views of downtown Silver Spring and even a glimpse of Washington National Cathedral.
Early buyers can choose between three finish packages for floors, cabinets, backsplashes, counters and walls. But once construction reaches the finishing phase, buyers will have to pick one of the available but complete units. Residents are expected to move into the Octave in October.
Schools: Woodlin Elementary, Sligo Middle, Albert Einstein High
Transit: The Silver Spring Metro station, which is two blocks away, offers Red Line service and access to the rest of the D.C. region. The neighborhood is also served by Metrobus and Montgomery County Ride-On bus lines.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.
1320 Fenwick Lane, Silver Spring, Md.
The condos are priced from $209,900 to $349,900.
Builder: ProMark Development
Features: The units have nine- and 10-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling energy-efficient windows, quartz countertops, stainless-steel appliances and a terrace, balcony or Juliet balcony.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 or 2 / 1 or 2
Square footage: approximately 451 to 838
Condo fee: $235 to $436 per month
View models: By appointment
Sales: Andy Alderdice, Jessica Alderdice and Page Eisinger at 301-320-8484 or www.Octave1320.com .