Early 1900’s Helicopter Factory in Columbia Heights to Become Condos

A site with a storied history at 770 – 774 Girard Street, NW in Columbia Heights is beginning redevelopment and construction to transform into luxury condominiums in two phases. The working name for the project is the “Helicopter Factory,” due to the history of the use of three brick warehouses located at the address.

Two of the three warehouses are deemed historic, and it’s not just due to helicopters.  During the early 1900’s, prolific inventor Emile Berliner created a material used in record manufacturing, invented a system of improving sound reproduction, and also designed, developed and manufactured rotary engines for early helicopters.

Phase I involves building 6 new row homes on the front surface parking lot. The warehouses themselves will be transformed into either 1 or 2 luxury condominium units totaling 7,600 interior square feet. The warehouses will retain their original brick walls, iron columns and other industrial flavor.

The warehouse deemed non-historic will be turned into a private landscaped courtyard that retains original elements of the warehouse. The roof will be removed as part of opening up the courtyard.

“This is an interesting and high impact re-use of an industrial site. The developers are fortunate to have developed a strong vision and story to capitalize on the cool history of these warehouses. Who would have thought that DC played a key role in the development of early helicopter engines,” said Gerard DiRuggiero, “Besides the great Columbia Heights location, this project is going to benefit greatly from the story here.”

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Thanks to the BizJournals on the alert!

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