Monday, October 7, 2013

Want to live in a huge former auto garage in an alley off Irving? Coolest house ever?

I don't often write about real estate, but this is pretty awesome: a friend forwarded a listing on Redfin for a 4000 square foot garage located in an alley off the 1000 block of Irving Street NW. Formerly an automotive garage, the place has a lot of really awesome-looking murals (including a Chuck Brown one) and graffiti is wide open inside. As my friend said: "this is the coolest house I've ever seen."

It's listed at $849,900 and I'm sure it would cost a fair amount to make it a liveable space (and to bring it up to code to get whatever permits you'd need) but it looks like it could make for a really amazing warehouse-type living space. The listing says it has 1 1/2 bathrooms, which presumably means there was a shower and toilet in this garage -- I guess that makes sense, mechanics can get messy. It looks like it used to be a business called JC Auto & Frame Repair, but I don't remember ever seeing it open.

It looks like earlier in the year, developers asked to add two more stories and make it a multi-family residence, and the city said no -- this is the result.  Imagine the possibilities for your place -- art studio, band practice space, your own bowling alley or bocce court or mini-golf course, or Josh's loft from the movie Big. Or you know, something tasteful and refined.

So, anybody got $900,000 they want to give a local blogger to make a sweet house? What would you do if this were your place?


  1. I live across the street from the other side of the alley, on Columbia. Many years ago (maybe 5?) this place was open and they actually did a very good job fixing up my beater of a 1993 Honda Accord without taking advantage of me. Do you know why the city would be saying "no"?

  2. Well, it sounds like they asked for a variance to go from the current use, which is commercial (ish) to 3-story residential. Maybe they thought it wasn't in character with the rest of the hood, or too dense for what's mostly a single family area.

  3. The issue is that you can't build multifamily buildings on alley lots, which is what this project would be.

  4. Since when is Columbia Heights mostly single-family?

  5. I mean that block. Zoning variances are often decided based on the very near area.

    There are a ton of single-family homes around, though.

  6. Wonder if it's a brownfield from all the oil, gas, and whatnot.


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