Capitol Hill’s Anhalt castle revived to past apartment glory

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(Image: Public47)

After languishing for years as an abandoned office space, a 1930-built Capitol Hill apartment building is returning to its past glory as it welcomes back residential tenants for the first time since the 1960s. A year after construction got underway to gut and restore the Frederick Anhalt-designed building at 16th and E John, leasing is now underway at The Anhalt Historic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.23.18 AMThat’s not to be confused with The Anhalt Modern, a new project rising from a parking lot of the older building’s parcel, slated to be finished by the end of the year.

Real estate investor Richard Leider, whose Trinity Real Estate company acquired the Anhalt in 2012, told CHS the two-building project would fill Capitol Hill’s divergent apartment desires.

“What we like to do is find buildings that need work, and this was a good example that could be put into use as residential, which it originally was,” he said. “But people like new, too.”

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Inside The Anhalt Historic (Image: The Anhalt)

The Anhalt Historic’s sleek website promises a balance of “minimalism and medieval” that embraces the “decorative motifs spanning from medieval castles to the Renaissance.” Studios start at $1,595 a month with two-bedrooms topping out at $3,150 a month. Pricing information for the 15-unit Anhalt Modern has not yet been released.

In 2012 the city’s Landmark Preservation Board designated the Anahalt a landmark following Trinity’s nomination. Leider told CHS that working within the landmark constrictions posed some significant challenges, but the project benefited from joining a city pilot program that allows for a building’s energy compliance to be based on total use rather than meeting standards for individual components, like windows and heating.

The Anhalt marks the third landmark building Trinity has redeveloped, and the company’s first development on Capitol Hill. In 2010 Trinity bought and renovated the Marborough House on First Hill, then sold it for a cool $10 million profit.

The Anhalt was originally built as a medeival-inpired apartment building in 1930. In the late 1960s Group Health curiously began using the building for office space, taking out many of the interior walls and installing drop ceilings. In 2008 Group Health determined the aging building could not be upgraded to fit their needs and moved out, leaving the building vacant.

Trinity acquired the building in 2012 for $2.7 million. Given Capitol Hill’s concentration of older buildings, Leider said he was interested in finding more restoration projects in the neighborhood.

“A number of trends are coalescing — a preference for urban living, being proximate to work, being proximate to transit,” he said. “Those are all things Capitol Hill provides.”

16 thoughts on “Capitol Hill’s Anhalt castle revived to past apartment glory

  1. It looks really beautifully done. I’m glad to see that – I’ve always loved these old pre-war buildings. So elegant.

    $1600 for a studio is NYC prices though. Is that where we are now? That is nearly a 300 percent increase from when I rented a pre-war studio on the Hill just over 10 years ago. I get it, I’m old. But really?

    • Yup. That’s where we’re at now. For a nicely restored building such as this, pretty much standard. Shocking, isn’t it? That’s why you see so much screaming that only highly-paid tech workers can afford rents on CapHill now.

    • I agree the pricing today is crazy. I rented a charming studio across the street from this property (the Whitworth) and paid $650 for studio, then moved into a huge 1bdrm. When I moved out in 2006 I was paying $825.

      I make a good living but there is no way I would pay north of 2k/mo to rent a 1 bdrm. I’m thankful to be a homeowner with a mortgage that will never go up – and to be paying a lot less than what I’d be paying for rent.

      • I hear you! That’s more than a 250 percent increase in 8 years. I know the buildings are not perfectly comparable since this one has just been redone, but come on. This is insanity.

        Like you, there’s no way I could/would afford to rent what I own. I’m thanking my lucky stars to be where I am.

        • OTOH….there’s also no way I could afford to buy my house now, either. It’s pretty much a byproduct of living somewhere that housing prices go up– whether renting or owning.

          • Yes, but I think rents are going up faster.

            We bought fairly recently. A year after we bought a neighbor rented for about 150% of the mortgage. Based on these Anhalt prices they could probably get even more. Maybe close to 200% of our mortgage. The price of our place hasn’t increased by 200%.

  2. I lived in a beautiful Anhalt building for 15 years, and the interior was very gracious and charming. It had stunning period details such as hammered brass doorknobs, inlaid wood floors, arches separating rooms, great tile, etc. The interior photograph of the Anhalt Historic makes me extremely sad. There is not one thing in that room that would indicate that one is in an historic building. An apartment that looks like that can be found anywhere. At least the exterior appears to be intact.

    The statement about the building being a balance of “minimalism and medieval” is really cheesy. The way apartments are marketed is increasingly stupid.

    • Well, the place was stripped down to be offices (!), the brass doorknobs probably went then. The window detailing looks original, and the outside is still pleasant to walk home to if that’s your taste (and to walk by; I appreciate keeping old building sizes and details in the neighborhood).

    • We currently live in an Anhalt and, yes, the details are amazing! Dark wood floors, doors, window and door frames, original casement windows, arched doorways, old (but perfect condition) tile kitchen and bathrooms, etc. etc. We felt lucky from the minute we rented it. I agree that this new “historic” building doesn’t even begin to emulate this. This looks like anything else – open concept (arrgh!) kitchen with currently hot cabinet styles, bland blank space. Okay, I’ll give them the casement windows though! At least they kept them!

  3. This is beautiful. You think 1600 is expensive for a studio? The going rate soon Is 2000 with 2400 for one bedroom. I’ve heard that rents are planned to climb to around 3000 in Seattle in the next eight months.

    • Yes, I think $1600 for a studio is expensive but I’m old.

      Where are you getting your pricing and pricing forecasts? I actually manage apartments in my spare time and follow the market closely so I’m seriously curious as to your sources.

        • Yes, I do see 3k 1bdrm apartments today but those are the larger, specialty units, not starting prices.

          Most brand new 1 bdrm units I see are at 1700 (Reo, Viva and Sunset buildings).

  4. I’m really looking forward to moving out of the neighborhood this fall. Rising prices, increasing crime, and drunken misbehavior make this not the hill I moved into. I’m also totally over hearing from the entitled newcomers who think they own the place. Let them deal with it. I’m going somewhere with cheaper rent and less chaos.

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