Former DC Skating Rink Becoming Apartments, Delivering This Spring

by Shilpi Paul

Former DC Skating Rink Becoming Apartments, Delivering This Spring: Figure 1
A rendering of a skating rink apartment. Click to enlarge.

The domed area above the Adams Morgan Harris Teeter that used to house a roller skating rink is being transformed into 39 lofty apartments, UrbanTurf has learned.

The building at 1631 Kalorama Road NW (map) opened in 1947 as the National Arena and served as a public roller rink and bowling alley before becoming the Citadel Motion Picture Center in 1986. Tom Lenar from R2L:Architects told UrbanTurf that his firm has been involved with the building since 2004, when the Harris Teeter moved in. Owners Douglas Development contacted R2L last year with the task of creating apartments that fit the unusual space directly above the market.

Former DC Skating Rink Becoming Apartments, Delivering This Spring: Figure 2
The area that will contain the Citadel Apartments.

The dome reaches a ceiling height of 20 feet, so the architects designed units that step up to lofted sleeping areas to make the most use of the heights. A ring of 31 apartments will surround a center block of eight more. The residences on the perimeter have sleeping lofts at the back, and the eight central units, which have no access to the perimeter windows, will be lit by skylights.

The Citadel Apartments, as they have been dubbed, are scheduled to deliver in the next two months.

Former DC Skating Rink Becoming Apartments, Delivering This Spring: Figure 4
An interior apartment. Click to enlarge.

Renderings courtesy of Capitol Pixel’s Lori Steenhoek.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/lofty_residences_in_a_former_adams_morgan_skating_rink/6653


  1. Jason said at 5:21 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    Is there a website for this development?
  1. frank said at 5:35 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    who would want to live in a unit with only skylights?
  1. Johnny said at 6:00 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    Wow. Kind of wishing they had made it a skating rink again up there even if only temporary. They could have made it a bowling alley too perhaps. Not many large unique spaces like that.
  1. kevin said at 6:07 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    This almost seems like an April Fool's gag story or something you would read in the Onion. I for one, actually think its a pretty cool resuse of space.
  1. Shilpi Paul said at 6:09 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    Hi Jason, There's no website yet, but we'll update the article as soon as one is created. Thanks, Shilpi
  1. andy2 said at 6:57 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    The interior units better be cheap. Who the heck would pay $1800/month or more to live in a windowless box? Serious question for code/zoning experts. Doesn't there have to be an alternate means of egress in case of a fire? Where will the 'lucky' residents of the internal units escape to if they can't use the hallway?
  1. DC John said at 7:33 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    How can an apartment-condo pass fire code when there are no windows?? When did a skylight be changed in code to a window?? This place is a fire trap!!
  1. AlexDC said at 8:16 pm on Wednesday February 13, 2013:
    I saw an ad on CL for VIP tours. Contact was jhogan@borgermanagement.com. I'll be interested to see pricing as well.
  1. xmal said at 4:19 pm on Thursday February 14, 2013:
    Have to second Johnny here that it's unfortunate that this unusual space is being subdivided. It's a giant roof without any interior supports---how awesome is that? Wish there were a way to make it pay. (Same goes for the Uline arena/Coliseum). Second, seems this might serve as an example for what to do with the windowless Georgetown Heating plant.
  1. KRIS said at 6:20 pm on Thursday February 14, 2013:
    HELLO---- Most building codes require daylight in a ratio to the floor area, I doubt they messed up. Secondly, does anyone here have a relative or family member in NYC? There are thousands of apartments with FIXED windows or are located well beyond the reach of a ladder. Save this space for those who ARE interested! CANT WIAT FOR THE GRAND OPENING!!
  1. aubrey said at 7:00 pm on Thursday February 14, 2013:
    They should have renovated the skating rink and bowling.
  1. Jay said at 9:08 pm on Thursday February 14, 2013:
    It seems weird, but there are quite a few of these style apartments (no direct natural lighting/exterior exposures) that I’ve seen in Richmond, VA. [They suck by the way.] There was one particular one that I remember, that was on the first floor of a 3/4 story building towards the interior of the floorplate. It was a 2 story unit with the kitchen/living area on the 1st floor and the bedroom (windowless, dark, creepy) dug into the basement of the building. The only exterior natural lighting was a large window that opened into the hallway that was lit by a skylight atrium. It was really weird. I can think of at least 4 or 5 developments in Richmond, VA that have this type of set-up.
  1. allen said at 9:01 pm on Friday February 15, 2013:
    So the area where Harris Teeter was a bowling alley with the roller skating rink in this area above? Does anyone have a link to a history of this building?
  1. curious said at 8:49 pm on Saturday February 16, 2013:
    So does anyone know the fire code? Can you have a bedroom without a window in the bedroom that leads directly outside?
  1. not sure said at 8:43 pm on Monday February 18, 2013:
    I tried looking for the DC code that specifically states that a bedroom needs to have a window leading to the outside. I couldn't find it. But I will say that when my friend had this basement condo under contract, she had it inspected. And the inspector (a former DCRA employee) stated that the unit couldn't be called legally a 2 bedroom because the windows in the "bedrooms" were too small for a person to use to get out. I have no idea how in the hell this development is getting away with selling units without bedrooms.. sounds sketchy.
  1. not sure said at 8:49 pm on Monday February 18, 2013:
    come to think of it, here's one way they may be getting away with it. I don't think the fire code specifies a bedroom to need to have a window. It just needs to be an egress. So these interior units are being called 1 bedrooms but are technically studios. That said, there still needs to be a second way to get out of that unit, and I don't think the skylight counts. Maybe they have a door by the kitchen that leads out of the unit.
  1. NPS said at 6:47 pm on Tuesday February 19, 2013:
    The perimeter units are nicely designed; However, the interior units appear to be a complete deviation from standard code, or at least the general interpretation of. Someone please clarify what the exact building code defines as legal livable space. Code aside, It is an odd use of the structure's central space. It would have been nice to see Douglas Development redevelop the roller rink and/or bowling alley to serve as an alternative to the monotonous Adams Morgan bar scene.
  1. DC resident said at 9:21 pm on Wednesday March 6, 2013:
    all you would be developers put your money where your mouth is where is your effort at developing a piece of DC real estate?
  1. Joey Rivers said at 9:45 pm on Sunday March 31, 2013:
    It seems to fit right in with the new monastic or penitentiary New York railroad-style aesthetic for the new millennium. From windowless apartment to windowless cubicle and back again, why should the MicroSerfs mind paying whatever rent charged? It's not as if they're looking up while texting or care about seasonal affective disorder while battling their ADHD. In fact, even windows won't help the "urban" views: either the Envoy's parking garage or the upcoming contruction at the Dorchester won't be pretty to look at from floor-to-ceiling windows. Caveat rentor.
  1. Joey Rivers said at 9:51 pm on Sunday March 31, 2013:
    For DC history buffs, the location also served as a film sound studio, including a Cher legal thriller, an off-the-beaten-path Cajun eatery and venue for raves and hip hop concerts. A few shootings during the last incarnation prior to HT market made the site languish in disrepair.
  1. aj said at 9:14 pm on Wednesday May 8, 2013:
    If units have access to a fire stair that would be legal even without a window. Windows are required in smaller buildings (single family or small multi-family) that do not have fire stairs.
  1. Bryan Lawrence said at 4:05 am on Friday May 31, 2013:
    My friend dragged me to the Open House last Saturday,,,I have to say I was surprised..they don't all have skylights, only a few,,,but they are really cool...they did these flat panel white on grey cabs, never seen that before, and depending on the floor type there is an atmosphere that reminds me of my LA days....if I didn't own a house I would be in line to rent...
  1. angoraknitter said at 4:15 am on Wednesday October 30, 2013:
    Another loss to the wonderful world of Roller sports! A building like this should be brought back to it's former glory, not turned into a sardine can.

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