Sold: Patterson Mansion by Dupont Circle trades for $20 million

It took longer than some expected — and sold for less than listed — but the historic Patterson Mansion by Dupont Circle has finally changed hands.

SB Urban, the Bethesda-based venture formed by Mike Balaban and Frank Saul III, paid $20 million for the iconic property at 15 Dupont Circle in a deal that closed Monday afternoon. The sale, brokered by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, sets the stage for the property’s conversion into sub-400-foot apartment units after serving as the longtime home of the Washington Club.

TTR Sotheby’s co-owner Jonathan Taylor said the property attracted a “significant and varied” level of interest from prospective buyers of all types, from embassies and individual homeowners to associations and developers.

“It was interesting,” Taylor said. “We really had a wide variety of serious interest, including at least two or three looking to have a personal residence there.”

TTR listed the property for sale in July 2013 for $26 million, or $6 million less than what it sold for, a difference than Taylor said reflected the challenge of adapting the property for a new use. SB Urban was the second bidder to put the property under contract, in fact, after another group encountered heavy resistance from D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board with its plan to convert the Patterson into a boutique hotel.

“A lot of developers found that it wasn’t necessarily making economic sense,” Taylor said.

The Washington Club decided to put the property on the market after deciding it no longer needed the space. The property’s history, which includes having served as the temporary White House for President Calvin Coolidge, was as much part of the building’s allure as was its distinctive architecture and interior design. The building dates to 1901 and was built for Chicago Tribune editor Robert Patterson and his wife, Elinor “Nellie” Medill Patterson, when they moved to the District from Chicago.

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