Watergate's newest residents will need deep pockets

April 01, 2006 |

The Watergate, a mixed-use complex in Washington, D.C., that's most famous for being the site of the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic Party's national committee office, is adding 96 luxury condominiums, which range from 800 sf to 5,400 sf with prices topping out at $9 million. The residences will occupy a 13-story building that formerly served as the 251-room Watergate Hotel.

Washington, D.C.-based developer Monument Realty purchased the Potomac riverfront property in 2004 for $55 million, and hired local architect ForrestPerkins to lead the interior remodel. Hickok Warner Cole Architects, Washington, D.C., and Yabu Pushelberg of Toronto are also working on the project, which is expected to be completed in 2007.

While the burglary 34 years ago solidified Watergate's place in history, the 10-acre complex is notable for being the only U.S. building designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti. The curvilinear complex, which includes the hotel, two office buildings, and three apartment buildings, was designed and constructed between 1964 and 1971; it earned historic landmark status in 2004.

The interior work will be extensive. The former hotel's 25 rooms-per-floor layout is being converted to about nine units per floor; the building's 16-foot column bay spacing poses design and structural challenges; and the existing infrastructure is unusable. Additional renovations will be made to the windows—all will be replaced to match the existing frames—and most balcony railings will be replaced.

The units will be finished to reflect the building's contemporary exterior design and have top-of-the-line cabinetry, appliances, and plumbing fixtures.

The building will have a rooftop terrace, health club and spa, indoor swimming pool, restaurant, and a place in history few other condominium complexes can match.

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