A shell of a building with an abundance of history awaits a buyer who can bring it back to life.
“It was built in 1820 during the Federal period, as a school for women. In the Civil War, the Union Army took it over as a hospital,” explains the listing agent, Nate Guggenheim with Washington Fine Properties.
The property measures an astonishing 25,000 square feet and is available for $12,995,000—after a recent million-dollar price reduction.
“It’s more of a development opportunity at this point,” Guggenheim says. “It could be turned into a house. It could be turned into multiple houses or multiple units. At the moment, it’s in a state of disrepair, and it’s looking for a new life.”
After the war, the building was turned into apartments.
“Just walking down the street and standing in front of it, you feel the history. There’s a fairly famous picture of Civil War soldiers sitting on the steps outside of it,” says Guggenheim.
The facade of The Colonial looks amazing, but inside tells a different story. A buyer must be prepared to pour millions into this project.
“The interior is completely gutted. It has floors, but it’s all basically open on the inside,” says the agent.
The historic structure is actually three buildings that are separated by masonry walls on the main floors—but remain connected on the basement level. It’s up to a new owner to decide whether to make it into a grand unified residence or simply divide it up.
“It’s a total blank canvas,” says the agent. “A creative mind and a good builder could make this an unbelievable structure.”
In its last iteration, the building was divided into 18 apartments, and tenants lived in the building up until just a couple of years ago.
“The current owners did an asbestos remediation, so now it’s ready for the next thing,” Guggenheim says.
He adds that the next step could take shape in several ways—including as a large home, as condos, or as apartments.
He notes that if the building doesn’t sell within the next few weeks, the current owners will continue with the project to create 18 condos, which he will sell “on the back end.”
“We put it on the market while waiting for building permits, just to see if anyone wanted to pick up the project,” he says. “As soon as the building permit comes through, they’ll start the project.”
The property is a rare find in the area, especially given that it has a large parking lot behind the building with parking for 16 cars.
“It’s probably in the absolute best location in all of Washington, DC. It’s a prime block in a prime neighborhood,” Guggenheim says, adding that it’s around the corner from where Jacqueline Kennedy lived after her husband was assassinated.
“It really is nestled among some of the most important houses in Washington,” he adds.
He adds that the building’s style is also a rare find in the area.
“Georgetown is always thought of as being very Federal, but it’s predominantly Victorian, actually,” he says. “This is a really a well-preserved example of Federal architecture, though it was changed a little bit from its original form. It’s architecturally a very interesting building.”
One way or another, this building shell will soon be turned into something new.
“I hope that somebody really embraces the history of the building and the exterior architecture, and builds it commensurate with the neighborhood,” Guggenheim says, noting the immense potential of the site. “Georgetown is such a wonderful neighborhood, and I think that it could be just such an exciting set of units, nestled among a historically rich set of houses.”
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