The Murillo/Malnati Group is cramming quite a bit of stuff into a 53,000 square-foot parcel on Connecticut Avenue.

The under-construction Woodley Wardman Condominiums house 33 different floorplans between 39 units, a below-ground parking garage, a courtyard…and not one, but two distinct buildings. The first is a bank of historic rowhomes, built originally by prolific DC developer Harry Wardman in 1911, called the “town.” The second is the “tower,” which will soon materialize as a newly-built structure effusing “European modern” and “contemporary classic” style.
More condos, you sigh? That’s not the case in upper Northwest. According to the project’s realtor, Jeremy Aldridge of Urban Pace, The Woodley Wardman is the first condo project on its stretch of Connecticut Avenue in 15 years. It’s also one of only two multifamily buildings of its size under construction in the District currently. The other is The Harrison, on Wisconsin Avenue in Friendship Heights.

Though about 20-30% of the units have already sold, the “town” will be completed in November 2010 and the “tower” in May 2011. As such, beams were still showing, the floors were still awaiting their promised topping of gypsum concrete, and construction workers toted bathtubs up open stairways when Housing Complex arrived for a hardhat tour* this past Tuesday. Drywall should be coming in July.

Don Malnati, co-founder and production manager of the Murillo/Malnati Group, emphasized the project’s green qualities, the most prominent of which might be its close proximity to the Woodley Park/Zoo metro stop. That below-ground parking garage will only have 24 spaces (15 less fewer than the total number of units), and there’s the potential for an on-site Zipcar lot. All this, founder and managing member Julio Murillo says, to cater to a wave of new buyers that aren’t placing emphasis on their cars.

The sizable project has undergone several years’ worth of approval to get to its current state. The zoning permits for the site, which allow for an even taller building than either the “town” or the “tower,” weren’t the difficult part. The Historic Preservation Review Board regulations were “tedious,” said Murillo. Additionally, Murillo/Malnati worked extensively with the local ANC, 3C, making at least ten presentations at the commission’s monthly meetings. Murillo called the process, which began in 2003, “more of an art than a science,” and said that his company is “still involved—it’s a very sensitive thing.” The Woodley Wardman received neighborhood approval in 2007 and its building permit in 2008.

The units range in price from $300,000 to $2 million.

*Many thanks to the Murillo/Malnati Group for allowing Housing Complex to keep the hardhat.