Historic Washington Hts. Property Gets 21st Century Update Developer Plans Eco-Conscious, Tech-Savvy Condos

Historic Washington Hts. Property Gets 21st Century Update
286 Wadsworth in Washington Heights (photo: Compass)

The site of an early 1900s single-family house in Washington Heights will be the future home of a new environmentally-conscious, technologically advanced condo development --  another indication of the latest changes happening to the old neighborhood.

The place has a history. Built in 1901 at the crest of a hill that rises from Broadway to Wadsworth Avenue, the little house at 286 Wadsworth had been occupied by the same family since 1930 -- almost 90 years -- and the seller had lived in the house since she was seven years old. But when the time came to sell the property, the question was whether it would be sold as a single-family home or a development site.

According to Compass broker Nick Rafello, who handled the listing with his colleague Iris Wall, the interior of the property would have required a substantial amount of work to make it suitable as a single-family residence. In addition,“The adjacent property to the south of 286 Wadsworth, also a single-family home, is vacant. It is part of an adjacent development site to the west of the property. There were concerns for single-family home buyers living next to a vacant house.”

There were a number of offers for the site, but ultimately the property sold for $945,000 to developer Joon Ho Chun, who intends to build condominiums there. He has retained Andrew Heid as architect and Camber Construction as general contractor and plans to start the development process immediately, with the goal of completing the construction and sales of the units in just under two years.

According to Chun, “I immediately liked the site because I was looking for something over 20 feet wide” (The site is 23.65 feet wide also 95 feet deep, he says). The property can be developed as-of-right to six stories and can contain up to 12 condominium units, many of which will enjoy a dramatic view over what local real estate agents call ‘Broadway Valley. Chun says he intends to build between six and 10 units on the site. 

Chun’s vision for the project is both forward thinking and market sensitive. “The units will be environmentally conscious and tech savvy,” he says. The property will be constructed as LEED certifiable, and each unit will contain its own solar powered energy production unit. In addition to the eco-friendly elements, each unit will also feature high ceilings, ADA-compliant elevator access, storage space, in-unit laundry, and high-tech network capabilities. Chun says he envisions the smaller units as a market entry point for post-grads moving into the city, and the larger units as family homes.

Chun says fell in love with Washington Heights when he visited the area to see a project under development by an associate. “I felt like I found a piece of a forgotten New York here. When I came to the open house, there were so many young families, many pushing strollers. This is my market." 

AJ Sidransky is a staff writer at The Cooperator, and a published novelist.

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