To my dearest Walbert,
I recently learned that you owe your existence to Emperor Napoleon I of France! For it was his great-nephew Charles Bonaparte—a Baltimore lawyer and Theodore Roosevelt’s attorney general—who was responsible for the original plans to construct you in 1907. But it wasn’t until 1930 that all eight steel-framed fireproof stories were completed, wrapped in pressed brick with terracotta accents.
You were home to professionals like doctors and dentists on the ground floor, with apartments above, some of which were quite fancy! You remained an apartment building for many years but like all good things, they must come to an end. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, you had fallen into some of disrepair.I believe those crazy kids call it a “hot mess” these days. But I still loved you! And thankfully so did Howard Brown.
Howard’s company, David S. Brown Enterprises, oversaw an extensive renovation in the mid 1980s that converted you into offices. You got a fresh coat of paint and continue to look great, no where near your actual 85 years! I’m not sure about your current occupancy rate, but I do know that you’re seeking a restaurant tenant for the ground level.
My wife and I walk by and around you quite often as you’re close to one of our favorite theatres and restaurants. We admire your bright persimmon color and ornate cornice. If I knew more about architecture, I’m sure I would be able to more accurately describe your obvious beauty better. You were at the forefront of the revitalization of the Station Arts North District—only recently did everyone else recognize that this part of town would be reemerging to its former glory. I suspect that any vacancies that might currently exist will be filled as this process continues around you. Being only two blocks from Pennsylvania Station is certainly a selling point, since it puts you practically next door to many D.C. businesses should you need to meet with them.
Here’s to another 85 years!
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