The Schafer: Mount Pleasant’s Mansion-to-Condo Conversion

by Shilpi Paul

3324 18th Street NW

Back in June, UrbanTurf reported that Community Three Development’s plan to turn a neglected Mount Pleasant mansion into condos was moving ahead. Yesterday, Grant Epstein, Community Three’s president, gave UrbanTurf some details about the restoration of what is now known as The Schafer.

Built in 1909 by Charles Schafer, President of the American Fire Insurance Company, the house, located on a 12,000 square-foot lot at 3324 18th Street NW (map) stayed in the Schafer family for 50 years before falling into serious disrepair. Some drama kept the house out of the hands of potential developers and renovators for a while, Housing Complex reported last year, before Epstein snatched it up.

The architect-turned-developer is serious about maintaining the crumbling mansion’s historic details and told UrbanTurf that they are basing many restoration decisions on an old photograph of the house. The dilapidated wrap-around porch has been renovated, but developers will recreate the columns and balustrade from the original design. The roof has been replaced, the windows repaired, and the grand staircase and eight fireplaces will be restored.

“Ideally, this house would remain a single-family home, but that’s not economically viable,” Epstein told UrbanTurf.

Rendering of a unit in The Schafer. By Thomas Punnen.

The mansion will be divided into 12 one- and two-bedroom units, with 11 in the main house and one in the adjoining carriage house. The condos will range from a 500 square-foot junior one-bedroom in the high $200,000’s to a 1,200 square-foot two-bedroom in the low $600,000’s. No two units will have the same floor plan, and a few will span two stories. “Every buyer has different tastes and lives differently, and we wanted to be sensitive to the existing building,” said Epstein. Five parking spaces will be available for sale, and 9 of the 12 units will have private outdoor space in the form of a balcony or garden.

The Schafer is reminiscent of an earlier development completed by Community Three, The Residences at St. Monica’s, in which the firm restored a historic building and offered several distinct layouts. St. Monica’s style may offer hints of what to expect inside The Schafer, with tall ceilings, lots of light and luxury fixtures.

If the permits comes through in time, Epstein hopes to start tours next summer and sales in the fall. Sales and marketing are being handled by Urban Pace.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_schafer_mount_pleasants_mansion_to_condo_conversion/4538


  1. MP Res said at 9:24 am on Wednesday November 9, 2011:

    Thrilled to hear about the progress on this project! I live two blocks away and am happy to hear that it will be put to good use.

  1. Jennifer said at 4:17 pm on Friday November 11, 2011:

    I wish that had been the fate of the Tutorsky Mansion…instead we lost a great building to a foreign government.

  1. Alan said at 6:31 pm on Sunday January 29, 2012:

    It looks to me like Urban Turf is printing the press release of the developer of this project saying that “some drama kept the house out of the hands of potential developers and renovators for a while” before the current guy snatched it up. Why does Urban Turf think Grant Epstein is something other than a developer?

    This mansion is not being saved, its being cobbled up and turned into condos, and the yard and being dug up and paved over for a parking lot. They’ll sell these as high-class apartments, and a few years from now they’ll just be more miserly, crowded housing units.

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