Iconic cooperatives in Washington DC offer great choices from historic buildings to mid century moderns throughout the DC area.

Coops are Different than Condos

Cooperative housing, commonly known as a co-op, is different from a condo (which is owned by an individual from the walls of the unit in.)  In contrast, in the case of co-ops, the entire building is owned by the tenants or members collectively.  When you buy into a co-op, you’re not purchasing a piece of property or unit in a building. You’re buying shares in the nonprofit corporation that owns the building. You’ll receive stock instead of a title as you would with a traditional home purchase. A co-op’s ownership structure makes this a unique housing option, with its focus on shared ownership and collaboration to run the property.  Taxes are paid on the entire building and allocated by shares among the members.   Some co-ops have an underlying mortgage on the building and responsibility for payment of that mortgage (and the resultant tax deductions) also are shared among the members.

The Mendota, The First of the Iconic Cooperatives in Washington DC

The Mendota is the first co-op built in Washington DC, completed in 1901.  Designed by architect George S. Cooper, the building features a blend of Beaux-Arts and Renaissance Revival architectural styles.  The exterior is notable for its elegant façade, with intricate stonework, decorative cornices, and a prominent entrance. The U-shaped building stands seven stories tall and measures 119’x95′. It is constructed of buff brick with limestone and terra cotta details that remain unchanged from the building’s initial design and construction. It boasts a molded cornice above the second floor and another under the seventh floor with a denticulated cornice at the roofline.

The Mendota comprises 48 units, offering a variety of floor plans, including spacious one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments.  Each unit retains much of its historic charm with high ceilings, large windows, hardwood floors, and detailed moldings.  The Mendota clearly holds its own among the iconic cooperatives in Washington DC.

The building’s west façade looks over the Mendota’s enclosed private courtyard garden, with its winding path and private Juliette benches.  The east façade lets morning light flood the apartments facing 20th Street. It has a mix of rounded bays and octagonal bays extending to the sixth floor, and topped by decorative iron railings. The north façade, facing Kalorama Road, has three bays; the two on the east end are rounded while the one at the west end is square. Residents on the fifth, sixth, and seventh floors enjoy unobstructed views of nearby Rock Creek Park and of the National Cathedral. Residents on lower floors face on to a quiet tree-lined street. The south façade has two octagonal bays at the west end and a rounded one at the east end that face towards the Washington Monument and the White House.

The Mendota features soaring 10 ft ceilings, gorgeous crown molding, tall windows, heart of pine floors, and Victorian-tiled fireplaces. Building amenities include a staffed front desk and elevator, lobby parlor, courtyard garden, storage units, and a bicycle storage room. The Mendota is located one block east of Connecticut Avenue and is within walking distance of two Metro stations.

Amenities at the Mendota include a 24-hour front desk and concierge service, a grand lobby with period details, a communal laundry room, and a bicycle storage area.  The building also features a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the city and well-maintained common areas.

Located at 2220 20th Street NW, the Mendota is situated in the affluent and culturally rich Kalorama neighborhood.  The building is within walking distance to Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Embassy Row, offering easy access to a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.  It is just a short stroll to the Phillips Museum, one of Washington’s many special small museums. The area is also known for its tree-lined streets, historic homes, and proximity to Rock Creek Park, providing a blend of urban convenience and natural beauty.

To see what is on the market now at the Mendota, just click here.

The Watergate

The Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., is a notable development consisting of six buildings that include offices, apartments, and a hotel. Located along the Potomac River, the Watergate is renowned for its distinctive modernist architecture and its significant place in American political history due to the Watergate scandal.  The Watergate clearly is one of the iconic cooperatives in Washington DC.

The complex was designed by the Italian architect Luigi Moretti and constructed between 1963 and 1971.  It is characterized by its curving façades, extensive use of concrete, and large balconies, giving it a distinct and somewhat futuristic appearance.  Of the six buildings, there are three residential buildings and three office buildings.

Watergate East (1965) the first building completed, is primarily residential. Watergate West (1968) and Watergate South (1970) are two additional residential buildings.

The residential sections of the Watergate (Watergate East, West, and South) operate as cooperative housing.  These co-ops offer various high-end amenities including 24-hour concierge service, swimming pools, fitness centers, and underground parking.  The units range from one-bedroom apartments to expansive penthouses with panoramic views of the Potomac River and the city.

Watergate Hotel and Office Building (1967) is known for its luxury accommodations and office spaces.  Watergate Office Building (1971) contains the office spaces where the Democratic National Committee headquarters was located.  Watergate 600 (1972) is an additional office building.

Besides its historical notoriety, the Watergate has been a desirable address for politicians, diplomats, and prominent figures due to its location next to the Kennedy Center and luxurious offerings.   Many of the units there have stunning views of the Potomac River while others look back toward Washington with its many monuments.  The Watergate complex remains an iconic symbol in both architectural and political spheres, representing a blend of mid-century modern design and a pivotal moment in American history.

To see what is on the market now, click here.

The Broadmoor, A Pre-War Iconic Cooperative in Washington DC

The Broadmoor at 3601 Connecticut Avenue, NW, completed in 1929, features a mix of Gothic Revival and Art Deco architectural styles.  Designed by architect Joseph Abel, the building is characterized by its detailed brickwork, decorative stone accents, and grand entrance into a large two story lobby. The interiors maintain historic charm with high ceilings, hardwood floors, intricate moldings, and large windows that provide abundant natural light.

The Broadmoor consists of over 200 units, ranging from studios to expansive three-bedroom apartments, each with unique floor plans and elegant finishes. Amenities include a 24-hour front desk and concierge service, a fitness center, a library, a community room, and guest suites for visitors.  The building also features beautifully landscaped gardens, a courtyard, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city.  Additional amenities include laundry facilities, bike storage, and secure underground parking.  Monthly maintenance fees cover a range of services including building maintenance, property taxes, utilities, and other communal expenses, streamlining residents’ financial responsibilities.

Located at 3601 Connecticut Avenue NW, the Broadmoor enjoys a prime location in Cleveland Park, a neighborhood known for its vibrant community and historic charm.  The building is conveniently close to the Cleveland Park Metro station, providing easy access to downtown Washington, D.C., and other parts of the city. The neighborhood offers a wide array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, as well as proximity to the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park for outdoor activities.  There is a mini-Target just two blocks away and lots of great restaurants like Medium Rare and Indique, all on Connecticut Avenue.

The Broadmoor promotes a sense of community through various social events, gatherings, and activities organized for residents.  The well-maintained common areas, including the gardens and courtyards, provide inviting spaces for residents to interact and relax.  The professional management team and dedicated staff, including a great on site property manager, ensure that the building is well-maintained and that residents’ needs are promptly addressed.

To see what is on the market now, just click here.

The Westchester

The Westchester is a renowned pre-war cooperative apartment complex located in the Cathedral Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Known for its historic charm, elegant design, and extensive amenities, The Westchester offers a unique and prestigious living experience and clearly earns its title as one of the iconic cooperatives in Washington DC.

The Westchester was constructed between 1931 and 1933 by Harvey H. Warwick Sr and features a mix of Art Deco and Tudor Revival architectural styles.  The complex consists of five buildings, each designed with intricate details, brick façades, and beautifully landscaped gardens.  It was originally intended to be eight buildings, but the Depression intervened and only five were built.

The interiors maintain many original details such as high ceilings, crown moldings, hardwood floors, and large windows that provide ample natural light. Depending on orientation, apartments view the National Cathedral, Glover Archbold Park, and/or city landscapes. Residents walk to popular restaurants, supermarkets, and shopping. Resident and guest parking is available on the grounds, along with bus stops in front of the complex. At least five bus lines operate within a two-block radius. For walkers, four metro stops are equidistance from the complex, each less than 1.5 miles away.

The Westchester includes over 500 units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, many with unique floor plans and sizes.  (Several very large units are the result of combining two units together.)  Amenities at The Westchester include a very attentive 24-hour front desk service, on-site management, a fitness center, a hair salon, a library, and a convenience store.  The complex also features multiple lounges, guest rooms for visitors, laundry facilities, and an on-site restaurant, DeCarlo’s, which is open to the public.

There is a long history of residents coming together to offer social and cultural programs. The Main Lobby is the site of a concert series, with performances by professional musicians. Volunteers operate an extensive lending library, and arrange for the authors among us to present their new works. Bi-annual apartment tours (for residents only) showcase the diversity of living spaces. The community holds monthly ‘Happy Hours’ where neighbors can get to know neighbors.

The Westchester is situated on 10 acres, including a sunken garden and several fountains, all contributing to its sense of peace and tranquility. The Westchester has kept up with the changing times in a quiet and elegant way, but if you look closely you will see touches of the past that make it particularly special. The stunning Beech tree behind North Main  dates from the late 1800s when the property was just a farm. The Chinese screens and mirrored pillars brought in by society designer Dorothy Draper in the late 1930s; and the impressive Georgian gates and pillars were imported from an estate in England that had been destroyed in World War II.

To see what is on the market now at the Westchester, just click here.

The Chastleton

The Chastleton Coop, built in 1920, is located in Dupont Circle on the corner of 16th Street NW and R Street at 1701 16th St NW.   The Chastleton was built in 1920 and features a Gothic Revival architectural style.  Designed by architect Philip M. Jullien, the building boasts intricate stonework, pointed arches, and detailed ornamentation.  The interior includes a grand lobby with period details, high ceilings, and elegant finishes.  The Chastleton comprises over 300 units, ranging from studios to multi-bedroom apartments.  Amenities include a fitness center, ballroom, rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, and a landscaped courtyard.  There is also a 24-hour front desk, a bike storage area, and additional storage spaces for residents.

It is next to the iconic House of the Temple of the Scottish Rite, the neo-classical building which featured prominently in a Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel, The Lost Symbol.  If you are looking for iconic cooperatives in Washington DC, you should definitely check the Castleton.

The closest metro line to The Chastleton is Dupont Circle on the red line. The nearest grocery store is the Whole Foods at 14 th & P St NW, which I think is the best Whole Foods in the city.  The area is known for its vibrant nightlife, historic row houses, and proximity to major D.C. landmarks such as the White House and the National Mall.

The Chastleton is a beautiful building on 16th Street, with its inner courtyard,  ballrooom with coffered ceiling,  exercise room,  excellent front desk staff and an on site manager.  The units vary in size from small studios to large two bedrooms.

To see what is on the market now, just click here.

The Shoreham West

Shoreham West is a distinguished cooperative residential building located in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. at 2700 Calvert St. NW.  Known for its luxurious amenities, spacious units, and prime location, the building offers a prestigious living experience. Completed in 1965, it showcases mid-century modern architecture and features clean lines, large windows, and a functional yet elegant design. Many units have balconies that offer scenic views of Rock Creek Park and the surrounding area.

Shoreham West consists of approximately 60 units, ensuring a boutique, exclusive living environment.  Amenities include a 24-hour front desk and concierge service, an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, underground parking, and a spacious lobby with modern décor.  Additional features include a party room, guest suites for visitors, and well-maintained common areas.  Another special feature of the building is the back elevators that connect to clusters of tiers of units with a half bath serving those clusters. coo

The Shoreham West is a great example of mid-century modern iconic cooperatives in Washington DC.  Other examples are the cooperatives on Cathedral Avenue like 4101 Cathedral or the Promenade in Bethesda.

Shoreham West is located away from the downtown area of Washington, close to Rock Creek Park, Adams Morgan to the east and the National Cathedral to the west.   It is close to Connecticut Avenue and just four blocks from the Woodley Park metro.   To see what is on the market now, just click here.

Want More Information about the Iconic Cooperatives in Washington DC?

While there are not nearly as many cooperative buildings in DC as there are in New York, the ones that you will find here are very special.  To see what cooperatives are on the market throughout the city, just click here and then call the Lise Howe Group at 240-401-5577 or email us at lise@lisehowe.com to start your search in person!

If you are not familiar with cooperative living and financials, here are two articles that might help bring you “up to speed.”

Why Buy a Coop?

Financing a Coop

Check Out Some Iconic Cooperatives in Washington DC

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