It only took seven days for that $70,000 triangle in Adams Morgan to find a buyer. The tiny lot went under contract on May 9. So, what might the new owner do with the land? We spoke with architect David Jameson about building on small, irregularly sized plots and, as it turns out, it’s complicated and expensive.
First, there’s the plot itself, a meager 457 square feet, meaning that the cost per square foot comes to $155. “Some of the most expensive real estate in DC sells for $115 a square foot,” says Jameson. “The lot is astronomically priced, given its usability.”
“Construction costs are always inversely proportional to square footage,” says Jameson. “It’s all about economies of scale. There are generally minimum orders for materials that are needed. Since the property is so small, you’re going to be ordering less material and ultimately that will make it more expensive.” Jameson estimates the cost of building on the property would be in the thousands per square foot.
Jameson says that any good architect would look for every zoning exception that exists to maximize the space. “I’d want to try to build more than what’s originally allowable.”