Boarded up and condemned for years, the nearly century-old apartment building at 1483 Newton Street in the Washington, DC neighborhood of Columbia Heights is seen by many as the city's ugliest building. But as it has done with so many other fixer-uppers in the area, Urban Investment Properties has acquired the property and plans a a total gut rehabilitation, to result in 39 modern rent-controlled apartments.
Just days before Christmas 2012, UIP acquired the building from two sisters-in-law who inherited the property from their husbands. It is one of the “Seven Sisters” – seven identical buildings between Newton Street and Meridian Place NW, all developed by prolific Washington real estate entrepreneur Harry Wardman and designed by architect Albert H. Beers in the early 20th century.
“Based on its current blighted condition, 1483 Newton Street is the ugliest building we have ever purchased,” said Steve Schwat, Principal, UIP. “I am happy to begin the process of relieving the neighborhood of this eyesore while restoring the building’s classic facade."
Added Marty Zupancic of Marcus & Millichap, who represented the seller: "This is a significant transaction in that 1483 Newton Street NW is the last blighted, vacant multifamily property in the Columbia Heights submarket. Its rehabilitation will be symbolic of the renaissance that the neighborhood has undergone in the last decade."
UIP owns another nearby Wardman/Beers building at 1430 W Street, one of “Six Sisters” along the 1400 block of W Street, NW. UIP General Contracting (a UIP subsidiary) is preparing a full interior and exterior renovation of that property. UIP also is renovating the exterior and common areas of the 24-unit 1489 Newton Street Cooperative located next door to the newly acquired 1483 Newton Street property. UIP’s work with the co-op supports its residents’ goal of maintaining and preserving their building as high-quality, affordable housing.
UIP’s latest acquisition and renovation project comes on the heels of UIP’s completion of renovations at 1346 Park Road, NW in Columbia Heights. UIP’s $2.7 million full-building restoration transformed 21 original one-bedroom units into 28 modern residences, most of which have two bedrooms and two baths. The building will be operated as a rental property and is currently in active lease-up.