The Beaux-Arts exterior, as originally designed by Stanford White.

The Beaux-Arts exterior, as originally designed by Stanford White.

Credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


The Patterson Mansion, designed by famed architect Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White, sits right on Dupont Circle in Northwest D.C., abutting Books-A-Million bookstore and the Iraq embassy. Since the structure was built in 1903, The Chicago Tribune editor Robert Patterson, President Calvin Coolidge, and the Washington Club have all called the brick and marble building home.

When Residential Architect last checked in on the historic mansion (also called Patterson House), French Quarter Hospitality had wanted to turn it into a hotel, and enlisted Studio3877 to design it. At an Oct. 24 meeting, the city's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) agreed with a staff report that the project's proposed addition was "incompatibly tall and too close to the mansion." (The mansion is a D.C. Historic Site and on the National Register of Historic Places.) The board voted at that same meeting that the "period of significance" for the property is 1902 to 1948so an existing addition along P Street, added in the 1950s, is not protected.

Now, a new project with a new buyer is in the works. The HPRB recently approved a proposal by SB-Urban and D.C.-based firm Hartman-Cox Architects. Steve Callcott, deputy preservation officer at the city's planning department (and the staff reviewer on the HPRB staff report), said in an email that the project will go next to the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment, which according to their website has scheduled a hearing on May 6. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B (the one that oversees the neighborhood) is slated to review the zoning application Wednesday.

The developer, SB-Urban, doesn't appear to have a website. Washington Business Journal reported in October that SB-Urban's Mike Balaban and Frank Saul also wanted to convert a Georgetown hotel into micro-apartments, and what looks like a LinkedIn profile for Balaban confirms this project as well as at least one other in Mt. Vernon Square. According to the page: "Frank Saul III and I formed SB-Urban to develop, own, and and operate small-unit, small-household apartment communities in prime infill locations in metro DC and other gateway cities."

Hartman-Cox declined to provide information on the Patterson Mansion project. The Office of Planning, however, provided access to a hard copy of a proposal dated Jan. 24, 2014, and the Board of Zoning Adjustment's website also has a proposal dated Feb. 19. The two proposals give a pretty good sense of what's being discussed. Please forgive the image quality of the formerwe shot the paper document as best we could.

Here's what the building looks like now, courtesy of Google Street View.

Google Street View image of Patterson Mansion from Dupont Circle.

Google Street View image of Patterson Mansion from Dupont Circle.

The proposal for the Patterson Mansion will demolish the newer addition and build another in its place, spanning seven stories. The new building, intended for micro-apartments, would contain a glass façade, and be linked to the historic structure by a two-story "glass connection." The proposed addition is thinner and further away from the original structure than the addition floated in the prior proposal.

According to the Feb. 19 proposal, the renovation and expansion will include 92 units across the main structure and addition. The entire second above-ground level (called the first floor) on the mansion side is dedicated to shared living space. The proposal also includes a bicycle room and green roofs.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

Here's the same comparison from the P Street angle.

Google Street View image of current Patterson Mansion addition from P Street.

Google Street View image of current Patterson Mansion addition from P Street.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

And from 18th Street.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

Rendering from Feb. 19 proposal to zoning board.

The addition materials are markedly different from those on the Patterson Mansion. "The cladding of white spandrel glass is intended to provide a similar polish and crispness to the addition as is provided by the white marble on [the] landmark while clearly reading as a contemporary building," according to HPRB's staff report. The older proposal included a mood board of sorts.

Here's the complete Feb. 19 proposal (filed under case number 18744 on the zoning board's website).

Patterson Mansion Proposal