South Cathedral Mansions Prepped for Modernization

South Cathedral Mansions at 2900 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. in D.C.’s Woodley Park neighborhood has been acquired by a newly formed multifamily joint venture led by Commonwealth Cooperative at a cost of $70 million.   Located at the corner of Cathedral and Connecticut Avenue, South Cathedral Mansions is a landmark 131-unit multifamily rental property in a complex of three apartment buildings, which was developed in 1922 by the team of Harry Wardman and Mihran Mesrobian and is included on both the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites.  The Commonwealth Cooperative JV is comprised of Commonwealth Residential and CAS Reigler, with Oculus Realty providing property management services and Snead Construction providing contractor services, stakeholders with extensive experience in the city’s multifamily housing market and the renovation of boutique and historic apartment properties.

An extensive two-year renovation will begin this fall to incorporate modern systems and improvements while preserving the historic character of the building.  Working closely with the South Cathedral Mansions Tenant Association, Commonwealth Cooperative noted that “It took a collaborative approach with the tenants, via the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, and committed to a historic renovation to seal the deal in which the partnership and the South Cathedral Mansions Tenant Association will redevelop the property.”

Modernizing the property will focus on adding all-new unit interiors, central HVAC, upgraded common areas, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a community space in the original carriage house.  Plans also include the creation of 29 new units by incorporating previously unused attic space and reconfiguring apartment layouts.  Seventeen (17) of the 29 new units will feature 20-to 30-foot ceiling heights.

Upon completion of these extensive renovations, South Cathedral Mansions will compete with Class A properties along Connecticut Avenue and in other sought-after neighborhoods of Washington,” said Kevin Riegler, principal of CAS Riegler. “We have an in-depth understanding of the way these buildings were built, how to preserve them and how to ensure that they last into future generations.” 

Sources:

Best Addresses: A Century of Washington’s Distinguished Apartment Houses, by James M. Goode, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988

Historic Woodley Park apartment building to get major renovation, Washington Business Journal, By Jeff Clabaugh, June 23, 2014

JV Pays $70M for Historic South Cathedral Mansions Apartments, with Plans to Start Renovation This Fall, Multifamily Housing News, By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor, June 27, 2014

              Spot Homebuilding: Demolition-Design-Build

Local homebuilders are responding to the demand for modern homes in great neighborhoods in the DC metropolitan area, close to good schools and with proximity to retail and commercial corridors.  A number of there neighborhoods were developed in the 1920s or early 1930s as suburban communities. There are increasing signs of “re-imagining” resulting in the tear down or demolition of an older home to rebuild modern.  GTM Architects has been able to respond to homebuilders with designs that reflect the preferences of their clients and buyers who are interested in a Colonial style home designed for a contemporary lifestyle with “smart” and “energy efficiency” features.   The collaboration between GTM and Sandy Spring Builders (SSB) has been evidenced by Design-Build projects in Chevy Chase, DC and in Chevy Chase and Bethesda, Maryland. This demolition-design-build project is located on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Of Special Note: Sandy Spring Builders announces a new partnership with Savenia Labs, a research and information services company that provides energy and environmental efficiency home ratings and impact ratings on appliances and electrical products.

DC SEU Lighting Efficiency Demonstration

The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) used the 2015 Request for Qualification (RFQ) Informational Session of July 30, 2014 to demonstrate the efficiency of light bulbs, comparing CLF (compact fluorescent light) bulbs and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs to the incandescent bulb. 

DC SEU has partnered with local retail partners to subsidize the cost for residents to purchase CLFs and LED bulbs. Shown above in the demonstration are the following bulbs:

Cree LED

  • Standard A-type
  • Soft White 3-way

Philips LED

  • Soft White
  • Slim Style

CLF

DC SEU notes that LED bulbs use 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs and CLF bulbs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

 

(Source: Washington Post)

   DC SEU Small-Scale Solar Initiative to Grow to 150 Installations 
Breaking News: Andalay Solar Systems Being Used in DCSEU-Funded Solar Initiative Led by WDC Solar, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2014
DC SEU launched the Small-Scale Solar Initiative in FY 2012 to help low-income households reduce energy costs.  The initial goal to install PV systems on 20 homes of low-income residents in Wards 7 and 8 was quickly exceeded with the installation of 54 systems.  The solar systems helped low-income residents save an average of $350 on annual electricity costs, a positive impact on a household’s budget.  With the acceptance and interest from the initial launch, DC SEU increased the goal for small solar system installations and expanded into Ward 5 during 2013, completing the installation of PV systems on 110 homes. 
WDC Solar began working with DC SEU during 2012 on the Small Scale Solar initiative.  With this news annoucement, WDC Solar expects to install Andalay Solar Systems on 30 additional homes before September 2014, helping DC SEU maintain and possibly exceed the average of 50 installations per year by the fiscal year end.  Mark Davis, CEO of WDC Solar, notes, “These systems will feature Andalay’s innovative plug-and-play technology that seamlessly integrates racking, wiring, and grounding into the solar panels. As a result, the systems can be assembled quickly and safely, compared to ordinary solar installs, and are expected to save residents from long-term operations and maintenance costs.”

   DC SEU Small-Scale Solar Initiative to Grow to 150 Installations 

Breaking News: Andalay Solar Systems Being Used in DCSEU-Funded Solar Initiative Led by WDC Solar, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2014

DC SEU launched the Small-Scale Solar Initiative in FY 2012 to help low-income households reduce energy costs.  The initial goal to install PV systems on 20 homes of low-income residents in Wards 7 and 8 was quickly exceeded with the installation of 54 systems.  The solar systems helped low-income residents save an average of $350 on annual electricity costs, a positive impact on a household’s budget.  With the acceptance and interest from the initial launch, DC SEU increased the goal for small solar system installations and expanded into Ward 5 during 2013, completing the installation of PV systems on 110 homes. 

WDC Solar began working with DC SEU during 2012 on the Small Scale Solar initiative.  With this news annoucement, WDC Solar expects to install Andalay Solar Systems on 30 additional homes before September 2014, helping DC SEU maintain and possibly exceed the average of 50 installations per year by the fiscal year end.  Mark Davis, CEO of WDC Solar, notes, “These systems will feature Andalay’s innovative plug-and-play technology that seamlessly integrates racking, wiring, and grounding into the solar panels. As a result, the systems can be assembled quickly and safely, compared to ordinary solar installs, and are expected to save residents from long-term operations and maintenance costs.”

          Remodeling?  SAVE NOW on Solar Powered Skylights
A recently released report by The National Association of Home Builders places communities in the DC metropolitan region at the top  in total spending on remodeling.  Spring certainly brought signs of home renovation projects across the region.  Residents who are planning to remodel their homes might want to consider adding skylights.  Beginning in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy began encouraging the use of energy-efficient light bulbs as an alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs.  Now there is a growing focus on making better use of natural light.  Several articles on residential skylights have been featured by Houzz, including the following, Look to the Sun for More of Your Home’s Lighting: Manage sunlight with design-savvy windows, solar tubes and skylights to save energy and show your home’s beauty, accompanied by magnificent design ideas.  
With the increasing focus on reducing residential electricity consumption, as a contributor to global warming, homeowners are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit on the purchase price and installation cost for skylights,  like Velux Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylights and Velux Solar Powered Blinds, as a “Solar Electric Property” expenditure when purchased and installed by  December 31, 2016.  This tax credit is a direct deduction from a taxpayer’s total tax liability with an estimated average saving of $850.  For a limited time period, now through August 15, 2014, homeowners can also receive a $200 rebate for the purchase and installation of a Velux skylight.  Contact a skylight installer for advice on what products you might install to quality for the 30% federal tax credit and $200 rebate.

          Remodeling?  SAVE NOW on Solar Powered Skylights

A recently released report by The National Association of Home Builders places communities in the DC metropolitan region at the top  in total spending on remodeling.  Spring certainly brought signs of home renovation projects across the region.  Residents who are planning to remodel their homes might want to consider adding skylights.  Beginning in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy began encouraging the use of energy-efficient light bulbs as an alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs.  Now there is a growing focus on making better use of natural light.  Several articles on residential skylights have been featured by Houzz, including the following, Look to the Sun for More of Your Home’s Lighting: Manage sunlight with design-savvy windows, solar tubes and skylights to save energy and show your home’s beauty, accompanied by magnificent design ideas.  

With the increasing focus on reducing residential electricity consumption, as a contributor to global warming, homeowners are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit on the purchase price and installation cost for skylights,  like Velux Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylights and Velux Solar Powered Blinds, as a “Solar Electric Property” expenditure when purchased and installed by  December 31, 2016.  This tax credit is a direct deduction from a taxpayer’s total tax liability with an estimated average saving of $850.  For a limited time period, now through August 15, 2014, homeowners can also receive a $200 rebate for the purchase and installation of a Velux skylight.  Contact a skylight installer for advice on what products you might install to quality for the 30% federal tax credit and $200 rebate.

skidmoreowingsmerrill:

An Urban Flowerbox
The Jianianhua Center in China defines a new kind of civic landmark, one that establishes a meaning and presence through an innovative integration of architecture and graphic design. Through the unexpected application of common billboard technology, a glass volume is transformed into dynamic architecture. Learn more

skidmoreowingsmerrill:

An Urban Flowerbox

The Jianianhua Center in China defines a new kind of civic landmark, one that establishes a meaning and presence through an innovative integration of architecture and graphic design. Through the unexpected application of common billboard technology, a glass volume is transformed into dynamic architecture. Learn more

sustainablegrowthdc:

                       Michael Graves & Associates In DC

The U.S. Department of Transportation Headquarters is noted by the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) as having the largest “green roof” in DC.  DCRA is responsible for implementing the DC Green Building Code and provides updates on the green building process and buildings meeting and exceeding LEED and sustainable requirements.  See presentation by Rabbiah Sabbakhan, DCRA Chief Building Official, at Green Building Symposium and Expo, September 14, 2012.

Michael Graves & Associates is a longtime supporter of sustainable design as a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.  “We think of sustainability holistically and at every scale: from the city and the landscape to the buildings and their interiors. Consistent with our design philosophy, we also address how specific sites, locations and climates can contribute to green design. And we use our interdisciplinary skills and those of our consultants to create sustainable solutions that meet our clients’ individual green building objectives or achieve LEED certification.”  Michael Graves & Associates