It’s been awhile since we heard what’s going on at the Maples on South Carolina Avenue. Ever since it ceased being Friendship House, rumors have swirled about the oldest existing house on Capitol Hill.
Last week, the new owners, along with their architect Cunningham and Quill, presented initial concepts to a community meeting at Christ Church. I’ll share those with you in a second, but I do want to stress these are preliminary ideas. The house and grounds are not only within the historic district, but are specifically landmarked. As such, beyond the normal review by ANC6B, plans will also have get through the Historic Preservation Review Board. And you thought building a new deck was fun!
So, without further ado, here’s the initial plans courtesy of ANC6B03 Commissioner Norm Metzgar:
- The main house will contain about twenty 800 to 1500-square feet condominium units, each with its own entrance — a mews effect. Many if not most of these units will be 2-BR, and a portion of those will be ADA compliant. Further, “green” technologies will be part of the interior design. The role of the city’s inclusionary zoning requirements is to be determined.
- In addition, there will be three townhouses — two on the left (the “basketball court”) and one on the right when facing the building from the South Carolina Avenue side (the front of the structure).
- Further framing the building will be a parallel row of maple trees forming an allée from SC Avenue to the front of the building.
- Most of the building will be retained — it and the land not only sit in an historic district but are also landmarked. A colonnade now connecting the main house to the west building will be demolished to enable a walk-through between D and SC.
- The sharp rise on the SC side will be re-graded, to allow for a low-rise approach to the building. The rise was thought to have been originally created with landfill.
- A 20-car underground garage is planned, entering and exiting from the existing public alley on D Street.
- There will be strenuous efforts to preserve the very large hybrid oak tree near the house during the construction of a garage beneath it with one positive being that its roots are wide rather than deep.
Finally, if you wish to find out more about the Maples and the new owner’s plans for it, Cunningham and Quill architects will be conducting a tour of the house Friday, October 29th, at 8 am. Please contact Norm Metzger if you are interested in attending.