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Long-delayed condo project at former Italian Embassy moving ahead

Wednesday - 2/5/2014, 8:42am  ET

Rome wasn't built in a day. The same can be said for converting the former Italian Embassy in Adams Morgan to an upscale condo project. But a circuitous, and sometimes litigious, development path that has stretched back more than a dozen years may finally have an endpoint. Potomac Construction Group plans to complete its permitting shortly and begin work on "Il Palazzo," according to a report in The Washington Post.

Architectural firm Trout Design Studio has planned an eight-story addition to go behind the original embassy building, creating a complex that would have up to 135 residential units, including at least one penthouse and six “affordable” units. As much common space as possible will be preserved in the original embassy.

Developer Bruce Bradley first envisioned a residential use for the property at 2700 16th St. NW when he purchased it from the Italian government for $7 million in 2001. In 2005, he sold the property to Embassy Real Estate Holdings for $12 million while maintaining an undisclosed stake.

Bradley's plans hit a roadblock in 2006 when Embassy Real Estate won approval to subdivide the 1920s mansion into a condo called Il Palazzo, got construction permits, and then saw those permits pulled because the property had been declared a historic landmark. A lawsuit ensued, which Embassy lost in 2008.

Mezzanine lender, O’Connor North American Property Partners LP, foreclosed on Embassy Real Estate Holdings in October 2008.

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