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Woodley Park historic apartment renovation begins this fall

A major renovation of the South Cathedral Mansions, a landmark apartment building at 2900 Connecticut Avenue NW in Woodley Park, will begin in the first week of November, after a team led by developers Commonwealth Residential and CAS Riegler partnered with the tenants to purchase the building under the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).

The renovation will be done in phases, and is expected to be fully completed within 15 to 22 months at the latest.
“We are installing all new systems, among them electrical and plumbing, and plan to replace the windows. All the renovation is in keeping with the historic touches of the building,” said Brad Gilchrist, principal of Commonwealth Residential, part of the newly formed Commonwealth Cooperative.
In addition, there will be upgraded common areas, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a community space in the original carriage house.
Gilchrist said the total project cost is $70 million, including purchase price of the building.
All the renovations is interior except for the new windows, for which Gilchrist is awaiting final approval from historic groups in the neighborhood. "Because it is located across from The Smithsonian, the Commission on Fine Arts has a say in it, too," he said of the window replacement.
The apartment building has 131 units but Gilchrist said that figure may change. “We are reconfiguring the units with a more modern layout, and we are also expanding some of the units,” he said. “We may add additional units [as the renovation continues] but we don’t know how many at this point.”
The circa 1922 South Cathedral Mansions is located one (long) block from the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan Metro station and is near the National Zoo. It is included in both the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites.

Read more articles by Barbara Pash.

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