After a six-year odyssey, construction has finally started on the Calistoga Condominium, a nine-unit luxury building at 2225 California St. NW in Kalorama that will be attached to what is believed to be the oldest garage in the District.
The Murillo/Malnati Group has been pursuing this project since April 2007 and faced fierce neighborhood opposition and the exacting demands of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) even before putting a contract on the property in June 2011.
“The first issue was that a lot of the neighbors thought the land was a public park and protested that we were taking away green space,” says Julio Murillo, a founder of the Murillo/Malnati Group. “The land was privately owned, not a park, and so the owner had every right to sell it.”
The second major issue involved the garage, which was constructed between 1915 and 1917 for the tenants of the luxury apartment house the St. Regis. “We always expected to keep it as part of the design, but we had to work with the HPRB to get their approval,” Murillo said. “We could have done a 20-unit building with parking for about a third of the units, but we wanted to build a smaller building with parking for each unit.”
“I applaud the fact that the Calistoga is a contemporary design that’s compatible with the historic district, said Sally Berk, an architect and preservation consultant and member of the Sheridan-Kalorama Historical Association.
The Calistoga is named after the Napa Valley town of Calistoga Springs. Six of its nine homes have been presold. The smallest one-bedroom home is priced at $629,000 and the largest, a three-bedroom, two-level home with a rooftop terrace, is priced at $1.75 million. The building is expected to be move-in ready in the first quarter of 2014.
Mortgage rate: The 30-year fixed rate fell this week from 3.54 percent. This is the first time since Jan. 24 that the rate has dropped below 3.5 percent. Page 12
As real estate activity in the Washington area intensifies this spring, a bit of a shakeup is erupting in the local moving truck industry. Michigan-based Two Men and a Truck is attempting to establish a presence here, with plans to open 28 franchises in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
Two Men and a Truck’s entrance into this market, though, coincides with the demise of the similar-sounding brand, Sterling-based Two Guys and a Truck, which recently began operating under the name My Guys Moving and Storage.
The two companies first began feuding over the name more than 20 years ago. In the early 1990s, Two Men asserted in a lawsuit that it was entitled to the name because it registered its trademark first. The two firms eventually reached an agreement essentially allowing Two Guys to operate in the East and Two Men to operate everywhere else.
But in 2011, the two firms were back in court, with Two Men arguing that Two Guys violated the agreement by selling the firm without first giving Two Men the right of first refusal. Now the two sides say they have settled, with Two Men expanding into the Washington region and Two Guys changing its name.
“It took several months of time and a financial investment to get into the D.C. market and be able to use our name in this area,” says Two Men president Randy Shacka. “It was extremely important to us to open franchises in this market because we had this gap in coverage between our big presence in Pennsylvania and the Northeast and in the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia.”
Patrick Burks, the new chief executive of My Guys Moving and Storage, says the company’s previous owner reached an agreement with Two Men over the name. He says the name change is a good thing as the firm attempts to build a new identity.
“Our thought process is [the image of the name] Two Guys and a Truck is small, and we’re a lot bigger than that,” Burks says. “We want to expand into the commercial arena. . . . We also plan to franchise nationwide.”
Kelly Rogers, Two Men’s director of franchise development, says the firm plans to add all 28 franchises by the end of 2015. Each location requires 15 to 30 workers, meaning a total of 400 to 800 jobs would be added to our region. ●
●COLLABORATING: Boffi Georgetown, which opened its interactive showroom for streamlined kitchen, bath and wardrobe systems in 2010, is joining forces with Maxalto, a line of interior furnishings designed and coordinated by furniture and industrial designer Antonio Citterio. The two Italian companies, which collaborated in Chicago, will share space at 3320 M St. NW, offering a one-stop shopping location for architects, interior designers and homeowners in search of European-style kitchens and bathrooms and upscale furniture.
The District’s 14th and U corridor may be best known for its hip night spots and hot restaurants, but the area also is home to an eclectic mix of interior design showrooms and vintage shops.
On Saturday and Sunday, Washington Fine Properties will team up with shops in the area to showcase spring interior decor trends during its third annual Home & Design Weekend.
The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, will include giveaways and demonstrations on subjects including installing hardwood floors, bringing color into a space and creating a perfect tablescape. For details, go to wfphomeanddesignweekend.com .
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this column misidentified Randy Shacka as president of Two Guys and a Truck. He is president of Two Men and a Truck.
— Michele Lerner
Lerner is a freelance writer. Want to pass on an idea or a news item, contact us at email@example.com and put “Town Square” in the subject line.