The R Street Firehouse’s New Owner Plans Four-Unit Conversion

by Lark Turner

The R Street Firehouse's New Owner Plans Four-Unit Conversion: Figure 1
931 R Street NW

The new owner of the R Street Firehouse featured in Unique Spaces last summer plans to convert a portion of the former firehouse at 931 R Street NW (map) into apartments.

Pending approval by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), Michael Abbenante wants to turn the second and third floors of the former firehouse, which sits in Shaw near the border with Logan Circle, into two two-story units and divide the ground floor into two units as well. Currently the upstairs is finished and the downstairs has a small rental unit, while the rest is used for studio space. Abbenante closed on the property for $2.28 million back in September. He plans to eventually rent the units, but is leaving open the possibility of selling one to the right buyer.

Abbenante wants the apartments, which will have high ceilings, exposed rafters and exposed brick, to showcase old Engine House No. 7, which was built in 1884.

“I’m not trying to add to it,” he told UrbanTurf. “I want to make it look like the inside of a firehouse. That’s what really makes the place unique.”

The R Street Firehouse's New Owner Plans Four-Unit Conversion: Figure 2
A living space prior to the property being sold.

One of the downstairs apartments will feature the firehouse’s original pole. Upstairs, the two-story units will have ceilings as high as 28 feet with light streaming in from the firehouse’s large windows. The latest plan for the space will go before the HPRB on Monday. Abbenante plans to meet with the ANC next month. Beyond historic concerns, the development is by-right, but Abbenante said he wants to hear the neighborhood’s thoughts on timing for the project.

For decades, artist Craig Kraft used the building as a live-work space. If you have lived in Logan Circle for several years, chances are you have seen Kraft’s neon sculptures around the neighborhood.

Here’s what the downstairs studio space looked like when Kraft was the owner:

The R Street Firehouse's New Owner Plans Four-Unit Conversion: Figure 3

Photos courtesy of Sean Shanahan.

See other articles related to: shaw, r street firehouse

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_r_street_firehouses_new_owner_plans_four-unit_conversion/8337

1 Comment

  1. jj said at 1:38 am on Tuesday April 15, 2014:
    I don't see how that makes financial sense with a purchase price of 2.28. Doing new condos requires an awful lot of changes.

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