Housing Complex

The View That Ruined Everything

If you're at all interested in D.C. architecture history and haven't been into the Cairo before, find out when the next open house is, visit the unit for sale, and then go up to the roof deck. This 164-foot-in-the-air view, of course, is what prompted Congress to slap height limits on the city:

Behold! (Lydia DePillis)

More after the jump.

Looking west.

The oddly-shaped living room. (Lydia DePillis)

As it happens, there's a top-floor unit for sale now. At $453,000 for 753 square feet–plus a $605 per month condo fee–it's not exactly a bargain for the size. A former hotel, the Cairo has all sorts of oddly-shaped spaces that probably would never be built today.

But if you're the kind of person who would derive satisfaction from giving a silent "screw you" to height limits in the city every morning, it could be worth it.


  1. #1

    Matt Yglesias, we know you are reading this, this condo is for you.

  2. #2

    I lived in this building from 1980-85. Seeing the July 4 fireworks from the roofdeck was definitely a highlight. The building was gutted in the 1970s, and the floorplans date from about 1975, not the time of the original hotel. As hard as it may be to imagine today, 16th & Q was considered a dicey area in the 1970s; the Cairo was initially marketed as moderately-priced rentals -- the units (mine had a basic, non-self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer) were definitely not designed as luxury housing. Some of the units are indeed oddly shaped, but no more so than lots of renovations -- or even new construction -- that can be found in the Dupont/Logan area.

  3. #3

    You're right, Lydia. The views alone "cold be worth" the price alone.

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