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700 Constitution Ave NE renovation slated for fall 2015 completion

Some 18 months from now, a big new chunk of rental units will be coming available in a long-vacant building in the heart of Capitol Hill.
Some 147 luxury rental apartments are slated for what was once the Eastern Dispensary and Casualty Hospital that occupies a parcel of land bounded by 7th and 8th Streets, Constitution Ave. NE and Massachusetts Ave. NE on Capitol Hill.
The project is adjacent to the Specialty Hospital of Washington, which remains a working hospital and which is getting a new boiler room as part of the deal the developers reached with the city. (That property is struggling financially, as this November story in the Washington Business Journal notes.)
The renovated building at 700 Constitution, totaling about 140,000 square feet, will be comprised of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. Eighty-six parking spaces are also being developed.
Among the amenities slated for the building, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015, are a yoga room, roof deck and business center. There will even be an indoor dog wash complete with blow dryer in the pet-friendly building.
“We’re just three local guys, and this is a building we plan to keep forever,” says Terry Busby, a partner with Urban Structures LLC, one of the developers on the project. “We are not merchant builders. We build things, and we own things, and we think this is an irreplaceable product.”
The other two “local guys” Busby is referring to are the project’s other principals: Tom Borger of Borger Management and Ron Paul, the chairman of Eagle Bank.
Working in tandem with Urban Structures, Borger Management and Architecture Inc., Donohoe Construction is the contractor on the project, now in demolition and hazmat-abatement phase.
Homeowners adjacent to the project have expressed concern about construction debris now and parking problems in the future, when 700 Constitution begins leasing, but Busby also says he and the other partners have gotten tremendous support. “The neighborhood is really intrigued,” he says.
“We’re between a hospital and a church,” he adds. “We have to proceed carefully.”
The hospital that opened here in 1905 was previously a private home of a prominent D.C. attorney named Benjamin Leighton. In the decades that followed, new wings were put on and new buildings built on the site.
Busby says that removal of the corrugated metal cornices has revealed the elegant original ones beneath. “They did a good job protecting them,” he says.

Read more articles by Amy Rogers Nazarov.

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist with more than 25 years experience as a staff reporter and a freelance writer, covering technology, adoption, real estate, and lifestyle topics from food & drink to home organizing. Her byline has appeared in Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Slate, Washingtonian, The Writer, Smithsonian, The Washington Post Express, The Baltimore Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, Cure, The Washington Times, Museum, and many other outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and tweets at @WordKitchenDC.
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