Because Washington Post managing editor and Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Al Friendly and his family lived there, Georgetowners knew the big brick Georgian on 31st Street as “the Friendly Estate.” He died in 1983 and his widow, Jean, remained there and made it a hub of family life for her five children and 13 grandchildren. It was a festive and, yes, friendly house. When Jean died at home in 2005, though, and a new owner announced wildly unpopular renovation plans, it became known more often as “that damned house.”
But here’s the good news. That unpopular owner gave up and sold the house to a developer, who put it on the market on Tuesday. Now called the Williams-Addison House—a nod to its 19th century roots—the house just hit the market for $16.8 million.
The home has been remade to accommodate 21st century tastes — a grand master suite that's the size of many apartments, an entertainment space big enough to be a ballroom, a media room, wine cellar, health club-sized gym and sauna, plus a broad center hallway that leads to a library, drawing room, dining room, and den. The upstairs has an additional five bedrooms. There are fireplaces throughout. Add to that a guest cottage, garage, and ambitious landscaping plans. Yellow paint was removed to reveal the handsome red brick underneath.
We were given a tour by Victor Valentine of Capital City Real Estate, who is proud of his company’s work with Georgetown architect Dale Overmyer, who got the project underway in 2006 with the previous owner, Marc Teren, a former Washington Post executive who curbed.com described as “notoriously unpopular.” The problems for Teren came when he proposed subdividing the property. There was talk of building a second home on the property, and underground garages. Neighbors balked. Appearances before the Advisory Neighborhood Commission became volatile. There were work stoppages. The Georgetown Metropolitan speculated that “Teren simply ran out of money” and that’s why he sold to Valentine’s group in 2011.
Valentine says he paid about $7 million for the house, which he described as “basically a shell.” The asking price for the finished, 10,000 square foot home, which sits on three-quarters of an acre, is $16.8 million. “You don’t have to worry about development across the street,” he said, noting that the tall front windows look out on Tudor Place mansion and gardens, a National Historic Landmark.
Prospective buyers can tour the house and get a sense of what it would look like furnished as some of the rooms have been staged by Kelly Proxmire, a member of the Washington Design Center Hall of Fame.
Former California congresswoman Mary Bono, who was defeated for reelection last year, has put her two-bedroom Arlington condo on the market for $569,000. According to the lister, the apartment comes with a “gourmet kitchen,” a “spacious master suite,” and “three private balconies.” The condo complex is called the Eclipse on Center Park.
Bono, who was elected to Congress in 1998, in a special election after her husband, Rep. Sonny Bono, was killed in a skiing accident, won all her subsequent reelections until she was defeated by Democrat Raul Ruiz a year ago. She remarried twice, most recently to Connie Mack of Florida, who gave up his House seat and then lost in a 2012 bid for Senate. In May they announced they were divorcing.
After leaving the House, Bono joined FaegreBD Consulting, which has offices in Washington, the Midwest, and Silicon Valley.
UPDATE, 11:45 AM: The lister, Breshkie Gardizi of Keller Williams Realty, said Bono is selling the condo because she is looking to buy a house in the North Arlington area. She also has homes in Palm Springs, California, and Durango, Colorado.
New-media entrepreneurs Tim and Laura O’Shaughnessy bought a four-bedroom, four-bath Victorian rowhouse near the U Street corridor for $1.4 million. It has a finished lower level with a wet bar and a two-story custom rear deck. Tim O’Shaughnessy is cofounder and CEO of the deals company LivingSocial; Laura O’Shaughnessy—daughter of Washington Post Company chairman Donald Graham—is CEO of SocialCode, a Post Company-owned advertising agency that uses social media to expand client brands.
Finance executive Andrew Cristinzio and his wife, Carrie, bought a six-bedroom, seven-bath Colonial in McLean for $4 million. The newly built house, on more than an acre, has a three-car garage and four fireplaces. Cristinzio is a partner at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Lawyer Thomas Clare bought a five-bedroom, six-bath Colonial on North Lincoln Street in Arlington for $2.8 million. The six-year-old, 7,000-square-foot house has a cherry-paneled library, four fireplaces, and a three-car garage. Clare is a litigation partner at the DC office of Kirkland & Ellis.
Education expert Thomas Toch and wife Ann downsized in Chevy Chase. The couple sold a five-bedroom, five-bath home on West Kirke Street for $2.7 million. The house, a classic American foursquare, has a library and large front porch. The Tochs also bought a four-bedroom, five-bath Colonial for $1.6 million. That house originally listed for just under $2 million. A former education reporter, Toch cofounded the think tank Education Sector.
Alma Brown—widow of former Democratic National Committee chairman and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and a onetime executive at Chevy Chase Bank—sold a two-bedroom, three-bath condo in Chevy Chase’s Parc Somerset building for $2.5 million. Her son, Michael Brown, is the former DC Council member who pleaded guilty in June to bribery; he admitted to accepting $55,000 in cash from a group of men he thought were trying to do business with the District. The businessmen were actually undercover FBI agents—and the whole thing was caught on tape.
Perhaps the sale of his mom’s condo will help pay for his legal fees, which can’t be cheap. Michael Brown’s lawyer, Brian Heberlig, is a partner at the high-profile firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he heads the white-collar criminal-defense group.
Restaurateur Mark Kuller sold a five-bedroom, five-bath Victorian-style farmhouse on Wissioming Road in Bethesda for $1.3 million. The house has an in-law suite and, according to the listing, a “world class wine cellar.” A tax lawyer, Kuller owns the DC restaurants Proof, Estadio, and Doi Moi. His personal wine collection encompasses 7,000 bottles.
Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.
This article appears in the December 2013 issue of Washingtonian.
Hotel exec John W. Marriott III sold a seven-bedroom, eight-bath Georgian-style house on New London Drive in Potomac for $4.4 million. The 12,000-square-foot home sits on more than two acres and has an indoor basketball court and 15-car garage. Marriott, the middle son of hotel magnate Bill Marriott, is an executive in his family’s company; like his father, he loves cars and collects Ferraris, Camaros, and Firebirds.
Commercial-real-estate executive Marc Duber and wife Nancy sold a home on Elgin Lane in Bethesda to developer Dave Pollin and wife Kirsten for $3.4 million. Duber is executive vice president of the Bernstein Companies, which owns, develops, invests in, and manages real estate. Dave Pollin is cofounder of the Buccini/Pollin Group, a commercial-real-estate company.
Lawyer John Bentivoglio bought a six-bedroom, six-bath Arts and Crafts-style house in Chevy Chase for $2.5 million. Bentivoglio is a partner at Skadden, where he represents pharmaceutical, medical-device, and biotechnology manufacturers.
Finance executive Arturo Brillembourg and wife Jennifer Feldman-Brillembourg, an anesthesiologist, bought a six-bedroom, six-bath Federal-style home in Georgetown for $5.4 million. Built in 1900, the brick house has a wall of glass with views of the Potomac River and the Rosslyn skyline. Brillembourg is founder of AEB Capital, a hedge fund in Arlington.
Entrepreneur Otto W. Hoernig III bought an eight-bedroom, six-bath Georgian-style home in Georgetown for $5 million. The 8,000-square-foot detached house was built in 1916. Hoernig cofounded SpaceLink International, a government contractor in Dulles that he later sold for more than $150 million. He’s now president of the Tysons telecommunications firm Trace Systems, and he also runs Casa Noble, a high-end tequila distillery in Mexico.
Health-care executive David Wheadon sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Victorian on Capitol Hill’s Maryland Avenue for $2.8 million. The 5,900-square-foot house has a wine cellar and a roof deck with views of the Capitol and the Washington Monument. Wheadon, a doctor, is head of research and advocacy at JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Businessman Richard Hanlon and wife Pamela sold a six-bedroom, nine-bath stone manor on Innsbruck Avenue in Great Falls for $7.4 million. The gated house, which had been on the market more than two years, has a wine cellar with tasting area, a theater, a music room, a gym, a pool, and a three-car garage. Built in 2007, it sits on five acres. Hanlon is a former senior vice president at AOL. Arnold & Porter trusts-and-estates lawyer Thomas W. Richardson was also listed as a seller.
Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.
This article appears in the November 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
Hey, history buffs—if you’re in the market for a new home, you’re in luck. Two homes, each with a fascinating backstory, have hit the market in recent days.
In West Virginia’s Charles Town (about 60 miles from Washington), Perkins House is a 7,000-square-foot brick mansion with a score of Victorian-era indulgences including a 113-foot turret, Tiffany windows, Waterford chandeliers, and 19-foot ceilings. But the real draw for history lovers? The home formerly housed Civil War General Robert E. Lee’s office, and was the site of abolitionist John Brown’s hanging execution in 1859. Asking price: $975,000.
Looking for something with a more recent claim to fame? Check out this home in Marshall, Virginia (about 50 miles from Washington), which was listed this week and was once used as a retreat for JFK. He only spent two weekends at the home before his assassination, but Jackie Kennedy designed the property, which was built in 1963 and sold soon after the President’s death. The 5,050-square-foot home sits on 166 acres and has a pond, a pool, a tennis court, and mountain views. List price: just under $11 million.
After being confirmed by the Senate this summer, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the Chicago hotel heiress and philanthropist said to be worth more than $2 billion, has found herself a nice new home in Northwest DC.
Pritzker plunked down $7.95 million for the home in Massachusetts Avenue Heights, according to sources. In a recent press release announcing the sale, though not the buyer, listing agent Washington Fine Properties described the home as “a perfect example of true Georgian architecture with meticulous renovation. It features intricately detailed crown molding, magnificent millwork, ten-foot ceilings, and seven bedrooms.” It was built in 1929 and occupies an “extremely private” 12,865-square-foot lot with a front security gate. One of the former owners of the home was the late William McChesney Martin Jr., who served as US Federal Reserve Bank chairman from 1951 to 1970.
Called “Chicago royalty” by National Journal, Pritzker hails from the family that founded Hyatt hotels. A longtime friend and supporter of President Barack Obama, she served as his campaign’s national finance chair in 2008 and was sworn in as the 38th secretary of Commerce on June 26. The agency’s website describes her as “a civic and business leader with more than 25 years of experience in the real estate, hospitality, senior living, and financial services industries.” She attended Harvard for her undergraduate degree and Stanford University for her MBA. According to Forbes, Pritzker’s net worth is $2.2 billion, landing her at number 277 on its list of billionaires in the United States.
Earlier this week, the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey put out its latest data sets measuring the nation's economic trends. And just as it did last year, the Washington area is home to many of the country's richest counties, with Arlington topping the list.
United Van Lines, the moving company, says that summer is the peak season for its industry, with 35 percent of all changes of address taking place between May 1 and August 31. With summer drawing to a close, United recently compiled the most popular metropolitan areas that people moved into, and which ones produced the most expats.
The DC government's practice of selling property tax liens—some as small as $45—to outside investors has led to hundreds of low-income residents losing everything in foreclosures when those lien buyers come knocking, according to a searing investigation published Sunday by the Washington Post. The Post found 509 foreclosures due to tax lien sales in the District since 2005, most of which hit residents of poorer, less developed neighborhoods. Seventy-two percent of the cases happened in parts of the city where the population is less than 20 percent white. Many of the now-former homeowners are elderly or ill. And the "investors" buying up the tax liens tend to be out-of-town predatory companies that swoop in later with letters demanding many times more than what the liens were originally worth. Among the individuals featured by the Post: a 76-year-old Marine veteran whose $134 property tax lien turned into a $4,999 legal bill; a 65-year-old florist whose $1,025 lien was sold to a Florida company that then foreclosed on his Northwest DC home while he was dying from cancer; a 95-year-old church choir leader whose house got taken over a $45 lien as she suffered from Alzheimer's.