Author: Delaney Holden

McWilliams|Ballard and United Investments Announce the Kickoff of Sales at The Drew in Columbia Heights

Washington, DC | June 30th, 2020

McWilliams|Ballard is proud to partner again with United Investments on another community, The Drew.  Located in the vibrant Columbia Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington, The Drew hosts three multi-level three-bedroom condominiums priced from the $700s.

Homes feature oversized living spaces and floor to ceiling windows on the front and back, flooding the homes with light. Each of the residences is replete with sleek modern finishes that highlight custom European cabinetry, Quartz countertops, Bosch appliances and stunning floating staircases with solid oak treads and glass railings.  Homeowners will enjoy easy access to DC USA Shopping Center, the U Street and 14th Street Corridors restaurants, shops, and nightlife. DC’s newest Whole Foods is just a few short blocks away.

The Drew was developed by United Investments, a real estate development founded in Washington, DC in 2007 by the Tesfaye Brothers – Henok, Yared, and Ben – each of whom brings with him more than 15 years of experience in real estate development, management, and sales.  The firm is the fourth addition to the family’s ever-growing portfolio of companies and has a strong reputation for quality craftsmanship throughout each innovative community.

McWilliams|Ballard, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is the leading real estate sales and marketing firm specializing in the sales and marketing of new condominiums, apartment, townhomes and mixed-use communities. During its 24-year history, McWilliams|Ballard has worked in 13 states nationwide, creating partnerships with developers and builders to provide sales and marketing solutions from project inception to the final closed sale. In addition, the firm also provides consultation and market research used by some of the most renowned developers and investment groups in the country. 


McWilliams|Ballard Announces Completion of Sales at Ashmead and LeDupont

Washington, D.C. – November 18, 2019

McWilliams|Ballard is proud to announce the completion of sales at the boutique condominium communities, Ashmead and LeDupont.

McWilliamsIBallard was pleased to work with Casbro Development Group on both of these unique projects. Both communities are historic renovations and highlight Casbro’s attention to detail, quality construction and craftsmanship. Casbro is a premier developer with over 23 years of combined real-estate experience in the Washington D.C. area specializing in high-end multi-family projects.

“We were so happy to work with Casbro again after the success of our other deals with the team. Ashmead and LeDupont typify Casbro’s incredible attention to detail and superior finishing quality. The boutique nature of the buildings and their incredible neighborhood settings coupled with impressive detailing made them something truly special – and the real estate market responded with sales,” Chris Ballard says, Principal at McWilliams|Ballard.

McWilliams|Ballard, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is a real estate sales and marketing firm specializing in the sales and marketing of new condominiums, townhomes and mixed-use communities. During its 23 year history, McWilliams|Ballard has worked in 13 states nationwide, creating partnerships with developers and builders to provide sales and marketing solutions from project inception to the final closed sale. In addition, the firm also provides consultation and market research for development firms and financial institutions.


Washington Post Features Shotgun House

By Kathy Orton

October 25, 2019

Although many grand historic houses have been preserved, few modest frame houses for the middle and working classes survive. An exception is a mid-19th-century shotgun house on the east end of Capitol Hill that has been re-created as part of an unusual condominium project.

“We have a lot of houses that are wonderful, and they’re designed by famous architects, and everybody wants to see them,” said Beth Purcell, chair of the Historic Preservation Committee of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society. “This is sort of the other end of the spectrum. This is real vernacular architecture.”

Shotgun houses are long, narrow structures, one room wide and three to five rooms deep. Many people believe that the term “shotgun house” comes from the idea that a shotgun blast fired from the front door could go through the house and out the back door without hitting a wall.

But the website of the Data Center, a research organization in southeast Louisiana, says the term may be a corruption of the word “shogon.” In West Africa, shogon means “God’s house.” Shotgun houses are widely recognized as an African American contribution to American architectural styles.

The house, one of only two shotgun houses remaining on Capitol Hill, was built circa 1850 by John Biegler, who operated a store on the block. Ernst Tungel, a German-born peddler, bought the house in 1853, and his family lived there for 40 years. When Daniel Hartley, a Maryland-born bricklayer, lived in the house, he added a rear outbuilding in 1917 and a brick kitchen in the 1930s.

Larry Quillian bought the house in 1985, with plans to tear it down. But because the house is in a historic district, he ran into resistance from the Capitol Hill Restoration Society. For years, the CHRS opposed his redevelopment plans. The house remained uninhabited and an eyesore for decades, leading to acrimonious divisions within the neighborhood.

Bethesda-based architect and developer Sassan Gharai acquired the property three years ago. Gharai, who has a passion for unusual and historic houses, worked with the neighbors and the preservationists to devise a solution. They agreed that he would document, dismantle and reconstruct the house three feet west of its original foundation. This allowed him to build a second house next to the shotgun house, connecting both to the houses on either side. Because of the way the two houses are interconnected, they are technically considered condos.

“Demolishing the shotgun [house] . . . is obviously not an ideal preservation outcome,” wrote Steve Callcott in the Historic Preservation Review Board’s staff report. “However, after 30+ years of abandonment, neglect and deterioration, and after several failed attempts at redeveloping the site, the proposal may be the best and last possibility for retaining any aspect of this rare structure.”

After the house was dismantled, Gharai allowed a team of archaeologists to excavate the site. Their findings included a cellar with a number of intact bottles and items related to Germany.

Gharai added two levels to the original house, creating a bedroom and den on the second floor and a master suite on the top level.

“What I love is as you go through it, it reveals itself to you,” Gharai said.

In addition to the bedroom, the master suite includes a Gharai trademark, a second bedroom that he refers to as the “snoring room.” The suite also has a large walk-in closet and dressing area and an expansive bathroom with a soaking tub and steam shower.

The 14-foot ceilings make the living room feel spacious. The kitchen has plenty of storage and an island with seating. There’s a deck on the back, and the two condos share three parking spaces.

“Based on the condition of the house by 2016, this is a good outcome,” Purcell said. “Even though it’s a re-creation, people can see what one of these houses looked like. . . . You really need to make sure that you keep your treasures so that people can see them and appreciate them.”

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,400-square-foot condo is listed at $1.3 million. An open house is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.


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