Urban Fold

Proliferation of 'Pop-Ups' Irks Washington D.C. Neighborhoods

Washington D.C. is experiencing a "rush" on new construction of renovated townhouses or "pop-ups," which many say do not fit the character of the neighborhoods where they tend to proliferate.
Kim Seidl / Shutterstock

Ian Shapira reports on the increasing presence of "pop-ups" in Washington D.C. For those unfamiliar with the term, Shapira describes pop-ups as "skyscrapers in small villages: renovated townhouses — but between 40 and 65 feet high — right next to squat, two-story rowhouses in Washington neighborhoods from Petworth to NoMa to Adams Morgan.

"These skyward-extending residences are spreading across the city, fueled by small developers eager to cash in on the District’s real estate boom and seize any inch of available real estate, which these days means vertical empty space. Though developers have the right to build upward — and say they are providing needed housing stock — the city is evaluating how it can ensure that pop-ups in some neighborhoods reflect their community’s character."

Along those land use regulation lines: "The D.C. Office of Planning was expected on Friday to publicly release proposals on pop-ups, said Jennifer Steingasser, the office’s deputy director. Her office has been examining whether the current 40-foot maximum height is 'appropriate' for some neighborhoods in residential zones. The Zoning Commission will review the proposal. It would have to approve any new regulations on pop-ups, but a vote isn’t expected to happen for several months."

For more examples of pop-ups and other hyper-local news in Washington D.C., see the PoPville website.

Full Story: D.C. developers take rowhouses to new heights

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