Prefab Row Homes in DC? Welcome to Capitol Hill Oasis

by Tim Brown

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A rather unique development has arrived in the seemingly ever-expanding Capitol Hill neighborhood. Capitol Hill Oasis, a new town home community located at 12th and K Street NE (much more the H Street Corridor than Capitol Hill, but we’ll let the name slide), represents one of the few prefabricated home developments in the District.

Prefab housing, also known as modular housing, is a rare construction technique in the DC area. They are housing units that are manufactured off site, shipped to the building site by trucks, and fastened together using cranes. The modular units are constructed in large, climate-controlled facilities, often in assembly line fashion to maximize production efficiency.

Although they have yet to see any significant market share compared to other construction methods, there are several advantages to modular construction. Because the modular units are pieced together in factories, the process can be streamlined, leading to cheaper construction costs. (The total construction process can take less than half the time of traditional methods.) Also, because the units are constructed indoors, the materials are not exposed to the elements, minimizing any weather related wear and tear.

When the units are finally completed, it is nearly impossible to differentiate modular homes from homes built with traditional construction methods. The exterior finishes are normally applied at the construction site, allowing for a seamless façade. The town homes at Capitol Hill Oasis use a brick façade, similar to several other new construction row homes in the D.C. area. Save for the obvious design and scale differences compared to the existing row homes on 12th Street, now that construction is complete there’s really no way to tell that they were built any differently. As for the interiors, the finishes are applied on site, again using the same standards as traditional construction.

Capitol Hill Oasis consists of eight four-level, five-bedroom town homes that measure out at almost 4,000 square feet. And don’t worry about trekking up to the fourth floor every night: each unit comes equipped with its own private elevator. Behind the original set of town homes, there will be a 16-unit condominium comprised of two, three, and four-bedroom units. Once that building is complete, two more pre-fab five-bedroom units will be put in.

Construction on the town homes began in 2007, and delivery is expected in the next two to three months. For more information, contact Jesse at HomeTryst.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/prefab_row_homes_in_dc_welcome_to_capitol_hill_oasis/1623

10 Comments

  1. Michael said at 11:55 am on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    Elevators??  Is this normal?  Is this a difficult item to maintain and service?

  1. Bill said at 2:43 pm on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    From the photo, this development has all the charm of a prison complex.

  1. Tom A. said at 4:26 pm on Tuesday December 22, 2009:

    are the still going to be asking over a million bucks for these ghetto homes?

  1. BFord said at 11:13 am on Wednesday December 23, 2009:

    Wow. So they are finally done. I thought that they had lost funding. In a minute this whole city will be considered Capitol Hill!

  1. Sherry said at 11:14 am on Wednesday December 23, 2009:

    Interesting article…. For some reason, knowing that these are pre-fab now I dont get quite AS upset when I drive past them and see how garishly ugly they are.

  1. Higgers said at 11:39 am on Wednesday December 23, 2009:

    Hey Tim - these buildings are neither “unique” nor have they “recently arrived.”  In fact, they’ve been an unfinished eye sore, neighborhood menace, and health hazard for a solid three years.  I’ve complained to the city on multiple occasions for standing water, late night construction, and impediments to parking/access.  Please come take pictures of the trash heap and rusted out truck behind the buildings and post that, instead of the advertisement.  Buyer beware.

  1. Lauren said at 11:52 am on Wednesday December 23, 2009:

    I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine there’s much of a market for 5-bedroom, 4,000 sq ft houses in most of DC, let alone off of H St. I’d think the developers would be much more successful with smaller units.

  1. spirit equality said at 10:09 pm on Wednesday December 23, 2009:

    Aside from renting these out to wealthy Galludet students who would then have an easy walk to campus, I can’t picture much value in purchasing one of these. Do you have any interior pictures or details on the interior, period?

    They aren’t very aesthetically pleasing from the outside, but as a homeowner I am primarily worried about the interior (what’s better, a garish exterior or a horrid interior?).

  1. Jill said at 9:21 am on Monday May 17, 2010:

    Did you see how these things were built?  The exteriors are the most ugly, tacky, poorly constructed things I’ve ever seen. 
    The brick columns in the front are *leaning* by at least 2 inches.  You can tell the idiots built the brick facade and then realized, OOPS we forgot to run the outside lights and outlets… so they tore bricks out, retrofitted everything, and then smeared a bunch of cement in the holes they had made. Don’t these people realize that folks who have $1 Million to spend have TASTE?  It’s a crime.  The tire place that was there before was less of an eyesore.  I hope the investors lose their shirt.

  1. makeba said at 11:54 pm on Tuesday February 22, 2011:

    This is the worst design Ive even seen. I told the owner this to her face! I designed better houses in the 7th grade (im an architect). The facades are hideous, the plans make no sense!, the materials dont match (color) and the end units, a premium!, have no side windows!!!! arghh!!! the living room is on the first floor. the kitchen, a bedroom, and 2 full baths take the 2nd floor! huh!!??
    idiot investor with no taste and non-responsible architects who didnt stop her!
    booooooooo! knock them down!!!

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