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Capitol Hill's Stanton Park to get two rowhomes, lose 'formidable' former theatre

Architect's drawing of 513 C St

An eyesore for the Capitol Hill community will soon be gone. Maryland-based Oracle Builders is working with architect Carmel Greer of District Design LLC to demolish the building at 513 C Street NE, the building that was once the Stanton Theater, to build two three-story rowhouses.

Directly across from the park, the all-brick rowhouses will each be a spacious 3,000 square feet above ground and 1,000 underground.  With amenities like elevators, cellars built for big recreation rooms and rooftop decks, the high-end homes will be a modern twist to the dated rowhouses found in the area.

The new rowhouses will replace the two-story former Stanton Theater building that was closed, refaced sometime around 1956 and last remodeled in 1984. The site of the old theater creates a “formidable” presence, according to Historical Preservation Office staff member Frances McMillen’s March 28 report to the Review Board. Made of concrete and containing small windows with little architectural detailing, the building is a true outlier on a historically brick-styled block.
The front yard of the old theater building — which is listed online as once being the Lagana Printing Service and the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare — is also paved over, creating a blockade of concrete in what otherwise would be a continuous stretch of front garden space down the block. With the addition of two front gardens, the new rowhouses will also help contribute to the greenery to the area.  
The rowhouses’ designs, approved by the HPRB on March 28, include Italianate detailing in the front of the houses, such as bracketed cornices, 2-over-2 windows, and prominent door surrounds. Two parking spaces are allocated for each townhouse as well.
The interior demolition permit was granted last Wednesday, April 17, but developers are now awaiting the exterior permits. Ground breaking should happen within the next few months, barring any unforeseeable issues.
New construction is at a bare minimum in the historic community of Capitol Hill. The only two rowhouses in the area on sale right now, according to Redfin.com are going for about $1.5 million, and those homes were built over 110 years ago. Oracle Builders bought this property for $1.6 million.
Carmel Greer declined to speak about the project and Oracle Builders could not be reached for comment.

Read more articles by Lisa Spinelli.

Lisa Spinelli is Elevation DC's development editor as well as a freelance journalist, copy editor and mother of two. After receiving her Master of Science in print journalism from Columbia University in 2004, Lisa worked across the country and in Italy as a journalist, editor and Web editor. Her website LisaSpinelli.com has links to a smattering of her published clips.
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