Tear Down This House?! The Former Home of Polish Envoys Holds Development Promise in DC

Historic buildings litter the landscape in Washington, DC, but how often does a slice of history come up for sale? This 8,600-square-foot home on a majestic 1.1 acres of land in northwest Washington rates at least a historical footnote.

That's because the home, listed for $3,425,000, was the residence of the Polish ambassador to the United States from 1979 until 2011.

The Solidarity labor movement, which eventually led to the downfall of communism in Poland, was at its height during the 1980s and early 1990s, so it's not so far-fetched to imagine Polish ambassadors in those years coming home from long days at the embassy and pondering what was happening in their homeland.

Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in 1990 became the first democratically elected president of Poland in 63 years -- and the first non-Communist president of the country in 45 years. Walesa visited Washington in 1989, to address Congress, and again in 1991 after he had been elected president of Poland.

Listing agent Richard Newton wasn't familiar with whether the various ambassadors held secret late-night meetings, phone calls with Polish government officials, or any other Cold War intrigue in the house.

What he is sure of is that the property holds bright promise for its future buyer.

"The value is in the land. You're not going to find that kind of land in DC that's on the open market," he notes. "There's development potential there. It's probably going to have multiple offers on it, because it's just such a great opportunity."

Looking at the lush, parklike estate, it's difficult to imagine that a Metro stop is only three blocks away, but it's only a short walk down Connecticut Avenue to the Van Ness station, Newton notes.

Should a buyer decide to keep the house rather than redevelop the property, "it needs to be updated," Newton says. The building has stood vacant since 2011, and its interior shows more signs of the past than the present. That said, its bones are good.

Terraced gardens provide impressive outdoor entertaining spaces. Built in 1927, the fieldstone Colonial features a classic center entrance that opens up to dramatic interior entertaining spaces as well, Newton says. Impressive hardwood floors predominate in the large first-floor rooms.

The gated home sits well back from the street, affording the ultimate in privacy in a town where privacy is at a premium. In addition to its six bedrooms, the home features six full baths and two half-baths as well as servants' quarters, Newton explains.

And any new owner who decides to occupy the house can sit in his or her den late at night and ponder what conversations might have gone on there long ago that led to the democratic Poland of today. There's a history buff's dream come true.

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