correction: In a previous version of this story, the name of the architect for the Westlight condominium was misspelled. His name is Enrique Norten.
Ray Schupp, who was born and raised in the Washington area and works in commercial real estate, said he knew exactly what he wanted when he was ready to sell his Georgetown condo.
"I wanted to be in a one-of-a-kind building with distinctive architecture," Schupp says. "The Westlight is in the location I wanted, where you can walk everywhere, and I can still commute easily to Bethesda. But most of all, I wanted to buy something in a building that can't be duplicated."
Schupp, who is single, bought a two-bedroom penthouse cantilevered high above L Street NW.
You know you're someplace special when the lobby entrance includes both a sculpture with lighting by artist Ingo Maurer, whose work has been installed and exhibited around the globe, and a 50-foot living green wall that fills the space with the scent of nature. The Westlight, a new condominium in the West End at 1111 24th St. NW, aims to be one of the city's premier residences, alongside the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Wardman Tower, 22 West and 1055 High.
"Our goal is to make people feel excited about coming home, from the moment they enter the lobby and see the artwork and greenery, to when they get off the elevator and see natural light from windows near the elevator banks," says Anthony Lanier, founder and president of EastBanc, the developer of the Westlight.
"Our signature in every building is that we want people to feel they have come to a home where they can feel isolated from other residents," Lanier adds. "We make sure that no one can hear their neighbors or smell their cooking."
The hallways are lined with what at first appear to be stacked stone walls but are actually stacked felt, for a textured look and acoustical benefits.
Construction ingenuity: The Westlight, a 71-unit condominium, might have one of the longest planning timelines in the city.
"We started looking at the site back in the first administration of Mayor Tony Williams" about 15 years ago, Lanier says. "We purposely picked Enrique Norten as the architect because we wanted to bring someone new to the city who could enhance the architecture in the West End. Frankly, most of the buildings had been fairly blocky in that neighborhood."
Lanier says the condo, which has 49 floor plans, has a complicated design that demanded construction ingenuity. The units are not stacked, with kitchens on top of kitchens.
"We like to be individualistic, so buyers will find places with and without columns, some with open floor plans and some with living areas that aren't open to the kitchen," Lanier says.
That individualism comes at a price: The condos are among the city's most costly. Mei-Mei Venners, director of sales for the Westlight, says the least expensive and most expensive units have already been sold. Remaining units are priced from $1.385 million to $4.445 million. Condo fees will range from $656 to $3,173.
"Residents will receive hotel-like treatment, with a front desk concierge, a doorman and a porter to run errands and deliver packages," Venners says. "We also have an in-house engineer to provide in-unit maintenance services, like changing your filters and even your lightbulbs, so people can comfortably have a lock-and-leave lifestyle and not worry if they are away for two or three months."
Living there: "A big surprise of the building is that there's light and air all around it, even though we're in a downtown setting," Lanier says. "Even the rooms that face the courtyard have views."
The model units at the Westlight reflect the variety of available condo styles in the building.
The 2,249-square-foot Unit 3F, designed by Josh Hildreth Interiors and Braunohler Design Associates, is priced at $2.335 million, with a monthly condo fee of $2,375. Unlike most new condos that have entirely open living spaces, this unit has a wall that defines and separates the living area from the open kitchen and dining area. Adjacent to the living room is a partially enclosed den. This unit faces L Street NW at the front and a courtyard with a green roof at the back, where the two bedrooms and bathrooms are located. This unit also has a large laundry room with storage, and the master bedroom has a walk-in closet and a second large closet.
"We decorated this unit with carefully sourced original artwork and antique Asian items, with everything handmade because we wanted it to look like a real home for someone," Hildreth says.
Each kitchen has a neutral white-and-gray palette, with custom Italian-made high-gloss cabinets, white quartzite counters and gas cooktops. Venners points out that every unit has corner windows to allow for views in two directions.
"What people don't see are some of the most important elements of the building," Venners says. "These condos are very quiet, with insulation above, below and in-between every unit. And every unit has direct ventilation, so there's no recycled air from other units."
The 1,723-square-foot Unit 2D is priced at $1.845 million and has a condo fee of $1,822. This unit, decorated by Design Within Reach, has an open living and dining area and kitchen with a bumped-out wall of windows for extra light and views.
Next to the living area is a partially enclosed den or office. Just off the foyer of this unit are a closet for laundry equipment and a coat closet. Both bedrooms face L Street NW and have a wall of windows at the front. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and a second closet.
The prime amenity at the Westlight is the rooftop's 25-meter swimming pool and terrace, shared with the adjacent luxury apartment building. The decks include green spaces, grilling stations and plenty of seating, although most residents are likely to spend more time walking the perimeter of the roof to admire views of the Potomac River, Washington National Cathedral and Washington's monuments.
The rooftop terraces have clear glass railings for an unobstructed view. The rooftop clubroom, wrapped in walls of glass, includes a catering kitchen with a poured concrete island and an outdoor terrace. The building also has a fitness center, a business center, a dog-washing station, bike storage, storage units and three levels of garage parking.
What's nearby: The new state-of-the-art West End library occupies the ground floor of the Westlight. Residents can walk to numerous restaurants and shops in the West End, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, and to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Schools: School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens, Cardozo Education Campus.
Transit: Residents can walk to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station for Blue, Orange and Silver line service or to the Dupont Circle Metro station for Red Line service. The neighborhood is also served by several Metrobus routes and the Circulator bus.
1111 24th St. NW, Washington
The remaining condos are priced from $1.385 million to $4.445 million.
Builder: EastBanc and JBG Smith
Features: The units have high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows with louvered shades, oak wide-plank hardwood flooring, ipe teak shower floors, Porcelanosa tiles, Waterworks fixtures, gas cooking, Italian high-gloss cabinets and white quartzite counters.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 2 to 4.
Square footage: About 631 to 3,051.
Condominium association fees: Estimated to be $1.04 per square foot per month, or about $656 to $3,173.
View models: Open by appointment.
Contact: 202-333-3313 or www.westlightcondo.com.