JV Pays $70M for Historic South Cathedral Mansions Apartments, with Plans to Start Renovation This Fall

South Cathedral Mansions is a landmark apartment building located 2900 Connecticut Avenue, NW, in D.C.’s Woodley Park neighborhood. It was constructed in 1922 by the iconic team of Harry Wardman and Mihran Mesrobian and is currently included in both the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites. During its almost one hundred years of existence, South Cathedral Mansions only changed hands four times, the last sale taking place recently.

A new joint venture of Commonwealth Residential and CAS Riegler called Commonwealth Cooperative has purchased South Cathedral Mansions. The joint venture’s first acquisition, it paid $70 million for the 131-unit historic property at 2900 Connecticut Ave., N.W., in D.C.’s Woodley Park neighborhood. HFF represented the seller, the Calomiris family, which acquired the property in 1961.

Commonwealth Cooperative, whose members have extensive experience in the city’s multifamily market, has plans to renovate the landmark apartment building, which was constructed in 1922 by the iconic team of Harry Wardman and Mihran Mesrobian and is currently included on both the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites. During its almost 100 years in existence, South Cathedral Mansions has only changed hands four times.

Commonwealth Cooperative will start work on the two-year project this November. It is working on the renovation together with the South Cathedral Mansions Tenant Association, with property management provided by Oculus Realty and construction services by Snead Construction.

“We are bringing a new approach to working with tenants’ associations, based on honesty, transparency and flexibility,” said Brad Gilchrist, managing principal of Commonwealth Residential, in a statement. “The tenants who have chosen to continue renting here will benefit from a highly innovative profit-participation plan.”

The renovation project will add all-new unit interiors, central HVAC, upgraded common areas, a state-of-the-art fitness center, unique community space within the original carriage house and other improvements. It also calls for the creation of 29 new units by reconfiguring the apartment layouts and incorporating previously unused attic space. Seventeen of the new units will feature 20- to 30-foot ceiling heights.

“Upon completion of these extensive renovations, South Cathedral Mansions will compete with Class A properties along Connecticut Avenue and in other sought-after neighborhoods of Washington,” said Kevin Riegler, principal of CAS Riegler. “We have an in-depth understanding of the way these buildings were built, how to preserve them and how to ensure that they last into future generations.”

Photo courtesy of LHB Communications.