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7-story apartment building concept and massing receives Historic Preservation Review Board approval

The concept calls for a 7-story addition behind three existing rowhomes

The Historic Preservation Review Board has approved preliminary designs and massing for a project that will bring 37 micro-apartments to the 1400 block of Church St. NW, just steps away from Logan Circle and the 14th street corridor.

Construction could begin as early as the end of the year, says architect Peter Fillat, principal of Peter Fillat Architects, which is designing the project.

The designs call for a glassy building built atop and behind three existing rowhouses, which are fairly deteriorated inside. "The middle building has holes in the floor," Fillat says. The plans call for keeping the original rowhome facades and building the seven-story addition behind. 

Each apartment in the addition will have floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows on one side. "We wanted it to be a light and airy structure," he says. This will help each apartment, which will range in size from 320 to 405 square feet, feel larger. "We think it'll feel bigger than it is," he says.

The units are comparable in size to the planned microunits at The Wharf in Southwest, but the Church Street building may be completed first.  "There's been a few people talking about [micro-apartments]," Fillat says. "We're going to move forward."

The  design calls for the existing rowhomes to be split into three units each (except for the middle rowhouse which will consist of two units and the lobby to the whole building). Above that and set back from the street will be the glass structure.

In his report to the HPRB, staff reviewer Steve Callcott said that while the plan "doesn’t rely on the language or imagery of the street’s industrial buildings to achieve [historic] compatibility...this works uniquely well because of the small size of the project, which has a slender frontage and human scale."

As for amenities, don't expect a pool or a gym, though a roof terrace is part of the plan. "It's a tiny building on a tiny lot," says Fillat. "Our goal is, the amenity is the neighborhood."

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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