Central African Republic Embassy to Become Single-Family Home

by Mark Wellborn

1618 22nd Street NW

UrbanTurf has learned the fate of the former offices for the embassy of the Central African Republic (CAR) at 1618 22nd Street NW (map). Unlike many townhomes in the city that have been put up for sale in the past year, the property was not purchased by a developer, but rather by a couple from upper Northwest who plan to gut renovate the house and turn it into a single-family home.

According to their agent Juliet Zucker of Long & Foster, the buyers wanted a townhouse close to downtown DC that was in need of a lot of work which they could gut and custom design with the architect, Stephen Muse, FAIA, who designed their previous home. They were willing to pay upwards of $1 million, knowing that they might have to put nearly that same amount of money into renovating a property in very rough shape. (When we initially reported on the former embassy, the listing description noted that the 2,775 square-foot property was “in need of work.”)

The Embassy of the Central African Republic was the only listing that the couple made an offer on, but during their year-long search they considered two other properties: 2359 Ashmead Place NW (map) in Kalorama Triangle listed for $845,000, which attracted multiple offers, sold for $950,000 cash last May and has since become a four-unit condo development; and 1785 Lanier Place NW (map) off of Calvert Steet, a home in “decrepit” condition which was priced at $695,000 but ultimately sold for $925,000 in January.

As UrbanTurf reported in January, the CAR embassy was put on the market for $1.3 million, but within a week was reduced to $1.099 million. The building had served as the country’s embassy since the early 1960’s, shortly after it gained independence from France. After many years of delayed maintenance, the building was no longer fit to serve as an embassy and the goal was to sell it and use the proceeds to purchase a building in better condition that could serve as the embassy offices.

“My clients got lucky,” Zucker told UrbanTurf. “There were just a few offers and they were able to make theirs non-contingent and all cash.”

The process of getting from contract to closing, though, was a test of the buyer’s commitment to take ownership of such a property and the costly one-year renovation that will ensue, Zucker said. Settlement was delayed several times and seemed uncertain until the actual closing date of May 17th. The following day, Muse was there with his associates taking measurements and thoroughly mapping the infrastructure for renovation purposes.

As for the location of their new digs, the couple is not concerned about parking, as they plan to mostly walk and bike to the places that they want to go. And when they do need a spot, they have found abundant parking (not restricted to diplomats only) just one block away on a street that shall remain nameless. The renovation is scheduled to take about a year, and UrbanTurf will publish an update when the product is finished.

See other articles related to: embassies, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/central_african_republic_embassy_to_become_single-family_home/3539


  1. jcon said at 3:51 pm on Wednesday May 25, 2011:

    The parking will become an issue when they eventually try to sell a $2 million + single family home in that neighborhood that doesn’t have parking….

  1. Bella said at 3:54 pm on Wednesday May 25, 2011:

    Rad. Will be neat to see the finished product.

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