Rarely does a house come on the market that justifies the listing “suitable for use as an embassy, foundation or association headquarters, social club or, once again, as a personal residence,” but the 36,470-square-foot Patterson Mansion on Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle certainly fits the bill. Designed by Stanford White of famed and acclaimed New York architecture firm McKim, Mead & White, the four-story white-marble-and-brick manse has held the spot for most expensive home on the market in the District since it went on the market in March of this year. It can be your new home (or embassy) for a mere $26 million.
Designed for Robert Patterson, then-editor of The Chicago Tribune, and his wife, Elinor Medill Patterson—who were trying to establish themselves as part of turn-of-the-century Washington’s elite social scene—the mansion was completed in 1903, a year after White’s firm finished another, more high-profile, job in town: a renovation of the White House. The house has been through a number of owners—it even served as a temporary White House of sorts when renovations displaced President Calvin Coolidge from his 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue living quarters during the summer of 1927—and it has spent the last 60-odd years as the home of the private Washington Club.
But, if a planned deal goes through, it may be possible to stay the night in the storied Beaux-Arts pile for a lot less than the eight-figure asking price: Atlanta-based French Quarter Hospitality has reportedly put in a bid for the property to convert the historic structure into a boutique hotel. The development company has hired local architecture firm Studio3877 to design a renovation and addition to the property that would accommodate a restaurant, lounge, and bar area on the first two floors of the main house and up to 45 guest rooms, including those housed in a proposed addition.
Even though the mansion has been through a number of renovations through the years—both before and after receiving status as a D.C. Historic Site in 1964, and after earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972—the notion of an addition on the dense site had many in the preservation community concerned.
Yet a ruling by D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board that was made public in early November may ensure that the deal goes through. The commission ruled that the original four-story structure was covered under the protected status, but also found that a 1956 annex built to house a banquet hall and auditorium for the Washington Club on the ?-acre site may be removed to make way for a new, slender six-story addition that has been proposed to house the majority of the hotel guest rooms. In its ruling, the board found that the annex did not contribute to the historic character of the building.
While the board’s decision would seem to grant the go-ahead for the conversion of the single-family home turned private club into D.C.’s newest boutique hotel, at press time, the house remains on the market.