A Brief History of The Kennedy-Warren

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Washington, DC is a city known for its wide range of architectural styles. Since the plans for the city were first laid out back in 1791 by Pierre L’enfant, distinctive properties have been built in all four quadrants reflecting the style of the day. Northwest DC boasts many of The District’s most recognizable structures in neighborhoods such as Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Woodley Park.

Constructed in 1931, The Kennedy Warren apartment building is a stunning art deco property built on Rock Creek Park with 425 residences. The historic 11-story building, sometimes fondly referred to as “The Old Lady of Washington”, is located in upper Northwest DC, one block from the National Zoo. When it first opened its doors nearly a century ago, it was described as “The place to live’, and became a home for many notable Washington figures. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1986/03/06/kennedy-warren-bastion-of-gentility/dd88ec5f-1249-4a79-8054-77d563d3e8f6/).

When the first building permits were drawn up, architect Joseph Younger took the lead and sketched up an 8-story building with over 400 units. But with a projected cost estimate of $3.2 million and a nation headed into the throes of the Great Depression, the scale of the project was downsized to accommodate budgetary concerns. While initially just 200 units were built, more were added in 1935 bringing the total to 317. Interestingly, The Kennedy Warren was the first residential apartment building in Washington DC with a natural cooling air source and was considered the largest, most architecturally significant building of its time in the Nation’s Capital. (https://historicsites.dcpreservation.org/items/show/310)

Throughout its storied history, many notable figures have stayed within its walls. Congressman Lyndon Johnson moved into the Kennedy Warren in 1937 and many years later, news articles from the early seventies suggested that H.R. Haldeman had an ‘in-town hideaway’ there during the Watergate scandal.

In 1989, the building was deemed a DC Historic Landmark and in 1994 it was added to the list of Historic Residences. A number of years later, in 2002, an additional wing was added to the original structure that seamlessly connected to the original space. While renovations and new construction are a common occurrence in DC, obtaining the necessary permits and approvals for the Kennedy Warren took nearly five years!

Today, there are 114 high-end units in the South Wing, which includes a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The demand for larger units has always outpaced that for the smaller ones so the new wing was added in part to accommodate these requests. (https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_kennedy-warren_the_old_lady_of_washington/2383)

As a result of the flawless work and attention to historic detail during this renovation, the Kennedy Warren was awarded top honor by the American Institute of Architects.

With a gorgeous roof deck overlooking the park, indoor lap pool, fitness center, ballroom, and piano lounge, the amenities at the Kennedy Warren are top-notch.  Additionally, there is 24/7 security, underground parking, and the building is pet-friendly. For the last ninety years, Kennedy Warren residents have embraced this NW gem for its historic prominence, convenient location, amenities, and sense of community.

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