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Aria Sculpture Finally Arrives

During the final week of June the public art installation commissioned for the 300 block of I Street NW as part of the Mount Vernon Place masterplan finally arrived after years of delays. The stainless steel sculpture stands 16 feet high and was crafted by Baltimore artist Rodney Carroll. It is placed on a pedestal amongst the elevated landscaping along the Eye street edge of the Madrigal Lofts condominiums.

Aria, by Rodney Carroll

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Update on HGTV featured Madrigal Lofts unit

Back in December HGTV aired an episode of Real Estate Intervention featuring a ground floor 1BR unit at the Madrigal Lofts. Immediately upon watching the episode I was a bit incredulous at the pricing advice the HGTV expert, Mike Aubrey, provided the owner. Aubrey suggested that the price needed to be dropped to $339,500 to match the listing price of a 1BR unit at 777 7th Street NW in Chinatown. However this “expert” advice was based on a sloppy comparable as the Chinatown unit didn’t have a parking spot like the Madrigal condo did.

At the end of the episode the seller decided to take the property off the market rather than follow Aubrey’s advice. While I’m not certain exactly what point in time the show was taped my guess in July/August 2010. The owner put the property back on the market this year for $379,900 and went to closing in March for $378,000 with a $5,000 seller subsidy. That’s a net of nearly $35K more than the HGTV suggested listing price.

On a related note, the unit at 777 7th Street that HGTV leveraged as a comp did not sell before being pulled off the market.

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Madrigal Lofts unit spotlighted on HGTV

Last night a first floor unit on the Madrigal Lofts was featured on HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention. I believe this is the first foray by HGTV into our ‘hood since Chris Chan’s episode of My First Place aired this past Spring.

Home Selling 101: De-clutter and Stage
Episode HREIN-410H

Jesse has decided to go to school full-time to earn his PhD, but he needs to get out from under his mortgage. His one bedroom condo is in a hip Washington location, but it might prove difficult to dig out a sale from underneath all the clutter. Jesse gets a tour of two comps and a refresher course on pricing from Real Estate Expert Mike Aubrey. Staging Expert Sabrina Soto and her team give Jesse’s bachelor pad a lesson in elegance, even assigning him some homework ? keep out the clutter. With the right price and Sabrina’s tutoring, can this condo graduate at the top of its class and sell?

I was not impressed with expert Mike Aubrey. The Chinatown comparable (virtual tour) he pushed on Jesse didn’t have parking included while the Madrigal Lofts unit does. Mike failed to acknowledge this important difference. Perhaps he was too distracted by his hang up with Jesse’s 3/4 height bedroom walls to properly evaluate the comps. How much of a concern is bedroom privacy in a 1BR unit anyway? In the end Jesse trusted his instincts and took his unit off the market rather than drop the price to Aubrey’s suggested level.

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Google Earth 1999 – part two

The Google Earth tool has a feature that displays historical satellite images from selected points in time. I thought it would be interesting to review images from last decade that pre-date all the new construction development we see today.

Not surprisingly much of what existed in 1999 was surface parking lots. But there are structures visible on many of these sites. Where these vacant buildings or did they host residences or businesses. Feel free to share the 411 in the comments.

The DuMont and 455 Mass:

The Sonata, Madrigal Lofts and Mitchell Mayer Building:


Click on any of the images to enlarge.

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Permitting for public sculpture at Madrigal Lofts

Tonight’s ANC 6C meeting includes an item regarding an application by Madrigal Lofts to place a sculpture in public space.

The sculpture was in the original plans from Quadrangle Development Corporation for the Madrigal Lofts and measures 16’ x 8’ x7’ in size. It will placed on the Eye Street Side of the building in the area between and above the benches.

Rendering of proposed public art courtesy of Quadrangle

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Pets of Mount Vernon Triangle: Volume 3

The third installment of our Pets of Mount Vernon Triangle feature showcases more neighborhood canines.


Shareem from the City Vista L sent in the following:
These are our mini goldendoodles Balki and Bongo. They are best friends, brothers, and littermates. :) Bongo and Balki are the sweetest dogs ever; we think of them like our family.  This pictures is after they got a bath and groomed – they weren’t too happy.


Ouisey is a 2 year old Boston Terrier. She loves to play with her best canine friend, Sarkozy, and all the other dogs at the Madrigal Lofts. Other than her numerous toys, Ouisey’s favorite things include cottage cheese, eating sand, playing tug of war, a warm lap, Roosevelt Island, sleeping under the covers, and chicken.

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Level Lounge Public Meeting Reminder

From DNA president Miles Groves:

The DNA has a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 18 starting at 7:30PM at Madrigal Lofts. We expect the owners of the proposed Levels Tavern to attend to discuss their concept and answer questions. The address of this Tavern is 315 H Street NW, near the corner of 4th and H Streets. The Madrigal Lofts condominiums are located on the corner of 4th and I Streets, NW at 811 4th Street NW. This is an especially important meeting for residents in buildings along Massachusetts Avenue or in the Triangle section of Downtown.

At the conclusion of this meeting, the Downtown Neighborhood Association board will vote on whether to protest their Tavern liquor license application.

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Closeup look at alley behind 300 block of H Street NW

I attended last night’s ANC6C ABL committee meeting in which the applicant (Pouya Yousefi) for the new proposed tavern at 315 H Street NW explained his concept and fielded questions. I will recap that discussion in a later posting – but I first wanted to lay a little more ground work to convey the alley setup to all readers.

This flickr photo set visually represents the alley behind the 300 block of H Street NW that is shared by the commercial uses, the Second Baptist Church, and the Madrigal Lofts and Sonata condominiums. I thought conveying this representation was important because while many area residents are familiar with the location of Tunnel and Papa Johns – only residents of Madrigal and Sonata are intimately familiar with the alley. (Note: once viewing in Flickr roll over the pictures with to see notes that explain exactly which building is which.)

Click thumbnail image to visit flickr photo set

This alley is already an extremely high use alley with residents of two high-rises condos traveling through to access the garage egresses to roughly 350 underground parking spaces. Papa Johns delivery drivers also make heavy use of the alley. A new use of this large scope that will attract more employees, deliveries, trash pickups and up to 299 patrons to the block would need to be carefully and respectfully integrated. Residents deserve to know the applicant has a plan to manage their share of the alley use and a voluntary agreement to codify that plan into enforceable expectations.

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