It’s hard to imagine that the cheapest real estate listing in Georgetown still feels overpriced.
A wall was listed for sale yesterday, for $50,000. If the dimensions, 22 square feet, are accurate, that is $2,273/sf, more than twice the going rate for premium renovated townhouse space.
Of course, the difference is, there’s no space here; 22sf is the entire lot [sic] and structure [sic]. The wall is solid brick. It’s a one-foot wide party wall that used to belong to some building that got torn down and replaced by a 1980s bank parking lot. And yet, it does not belong to the bank.
This seeming surveyor’s error of a property barely justifies the term, and yet, there it is.
“Own a piece of Georgetown. This wall located at 30 and M NW. The opportunities are limitless,” the listing hilariously lies.
What opportunities exist for the owner of this wall? The opportunity to abide by centuries of law regarding party walls, for one. So you could you tear it down and build a 1×22 foot, three story fish tank, as long as it doesn’t pose any risk to the house next door.
You could paint a mural on it—the wall is fairly visible from Georgetown’s main drag, M Street—if you wanted the opportunity of subjecting yourself to the nitpicky conservative tastes of the Old Georgetown Board, which advises the federal Commission on Fine Arts, the bodies which review basically any construction, sign, or visual art proposal that is visible from these historic streets. If it were possible or profitable to paint or wrap something on the wall, I’m sure the current owner would be doing it.
I think the most realistic opportunity is for the owner of the neighboring townhouse to buy it for something between $50,000 and a dollar.
[Morning After, How Could I Have Been So Wrong? Update: The Wall will be the site of limitless radical and innovative visual experience, commissioned from the most daring artists, advertising agencies, political actors, and hypebeasts, which are presented regularly to the Old Georgetown Board for review and disapproval. Proposals for The Old Georgetown Billboard will be performed as part of the public discourse. Renderings will circulate in the stakeholder community, and will be collected online as a visual archive. For IRL visitors, Augmented Reality technology will provide scintillating, sponsored spectacle. This joint is about to go from an orphaned party wall to a global wall party. Let the bidding commence.]
[Week After Update: Artist Michelle Banks posted a deep dive on The Wall from Georgetown Metropolitan on Bluesky, and guess what, it’s messy, and kinda shady!]
[7/25: The Washington Post writes around my proposal like I’m not even here. The ignominy. Also, the seller of the wall, who has a $2.14 basis [!] is like, I didn’t rub two brain cells together to come up with this price. He really should just give the wall to the neighbor at this point. This whole thing is messy and hilarious af. Let this site eventually memorialize what might have been.]
related: ‘Too big, too bold’: No-Go For Peck Mural in Georgetown [wcp]
‘Unexpected pops of color, unique origin stories, and Instagram-worthy backdrops’: Georgetown BID list of murals [georgetowndc]
Board says Georgetown Transformers have to go [dcist]