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Long-vacant Eckington building getting complete revamp

A photo of Metropolitan Overlook as of March 2013

A rendering of the finished building

The rehab of the 37-unit condo building now known as Metropolitan Overlook is on time and on budget, according to partner nonprofit City First Homes' housing director Jim Steck.

The building, at 1831 2nd St. NE, had been vacant for two decades, suffering from "long-term neglect," Steck says. But now after a "total gut rehab," the building is just months away from being put on the market.

City First Homes is helping finance the "permanent affordability" of 11 units in the 37-unit building being developed by the Menkiti Group and Dantes Partners. This means that City First helps buyers with the upfront and monthly costs of buying a condo unit, with a share in the appreciated value of the unit, whatever that may be. Even in Eckington, where Metropolitan Overlook is situated, maintaining that affordability is key, Steck says.

"Once upon a time, Shaw had the most rapid price escalations. Then Bloomingdale became hot and the community started to become higher income. As prices go up, [appreciation] moves farther east, and now Eckington is starting to have that same development trajectory," he says. "Even townhomes are priced out of some people's range. You've got the [Metropolitan Branch] bike trail nearby, Brookland, NoMA, Union Market. That whole area, we're starting to see some substantial development....whatever we can do now to lock up homes in areas that are desirable, we want to do."

Developers Menkiti Group and Dantes Partners are adding an elevator to the four-story building, adding rooftop access, and rehabbing almost everything but the shell of the building, Steck says.

Adds Dantes principal Buwa Binitie: "Our plan was to basically try and restore the building back to its glory days."

As construction continues, the development team hopes to have a model unit available very soon and to deliver the first units in August, Binitie says.

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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