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Realtors take note: Housing Complex is a sucker for schwag at open houses. So even though I’m not a perfume person, exactly, the promise of “fun fall fragrances” lured me in to the Durant Manor at 1929 16th Street N.W. last week.
Turns out Gerard DiRuggiero, managing member of UrbanLand Company, is something of a fragrance buff. He collected the perfumes hanging around the office, as well as trunks of samples, and arranged them on a small table in the manor’s model unit. Since no actual buyers had showed up, he insisted I try a few of them, and sent me home with something “modern” from Burberry.
The building itself is a handsome, eight-unit row house just south of U Street. Three units have sold after three months on the market, with one bedrooms and a two-bedroom still to go.
I’d been wondering for a while how UrbanLand Company comes up with the names for its new condos—The Chelsea, the Josephine, the Monique. Ruggiero answered that the developers name them, and many of his developers are African, which results in names like the Almansaya. He tries to discourage people from naming the new buildings after family members, but sometimes they do anyway—the Renee is named after a developer’s daughter.
“Do you really want to name it after your daughter and then have no control over it?” he asks.
Though things have slowed down now after a hot spring, DiRuggiero says that the small-development sector has picked up in a big way.
“I’m having banks call me up now, saying ‘we’re back in the condo financing business.’ And that’s a big deal,” DiRuggiero says. “I’m like hey, I haven’t talked to you in three years, how’s it going?'”