Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

The long-vacant apartment building on the northwest corner of Third and L that was resurrected earlier this year as "Casa degli Angeli," a nautical-themed short-term rental operation, lost its bid last week to become a bed and breakfast, when the Board of Zoning Adjustment was forced to deny the operator's request for a variance. As spelled out in the Office of Planning's report on the case, the Casa would not be meeting the standards for an "accessory use" because the building's owner would not be living there, plus the plan to rent out seven bedrooms (making it more of an inn than a B&B), would run counter to the intent of the zoning regulations that allow only limited non-residential uses in residential zones.
The four BZA board members were apologetic, clearly feeling that the idea to run the building as a B&B was at heart a good one, but that the city's regulations clearly precluded them from approving the request. (Here's the video of the hearing; I used the nifty "TinyClip" option to link to just this portion of what was otherwise a very long hearing.)
Casa's propietor, "Captain Apollo," tells me that he intends to continue to run the building as a short-term 30-day rental building, and will still be attempting to turn it into a B&B at some point down the road.
Comments (10)
 More About Casa Degli Angeli Home


SG says: (11/19/09 9:35 PM)
What a disgrace. The BZA should know better.

brt says: (11/20/09 12:17 AM)
a huge area of working industrial dc is destroyed for wealthy residents and baseball lovers and yet they can't let a B&B open?

i agree with SG.

JoeinDC says: (11/20/09 8:34 AM)
I do not disagree with the BZA. Clearly, the board was constrained by zoning regulations. These regulations are in place for a reason lest 5 liquor stores pop up within a 2 block area. How about one of those nifty shops selling their kung-fu videos out front and the other 90% of the store dedicated to "adult films" located just on the corner across the street from an elementary school or your house. You know the one? The one where vagrants hang out all day and night selling drugs, etc. A very charming neighborhood addition.

Certainly, zoning regulations do not always please everyone. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the intent is more often for the improvement of an area. I for one will live 3 blocks from the "Casa." No offense to the owner, but that place looks a bit sketchy to say the least. I was alittle surprised that it was in anyway a short term rental building. Just a little sprucing up so that the place actually looks like an inviting place to stay as opposed to a gulag would go a long way. There is a certain "ick" factor to the building but it could be spiffed up. That said, if he can renovate the place and make it more visually appealing, then I wish him luck. I would support a zoning variance for the Casa, but only if the owner made the place look nice. I wish him luck.

G St says: (11/20/09 10:27 AM)
Concur with JoeinDC.

If you want to call it a B&B, you need to be a Bob Newhart and live there. Yes, and that block is, well, still stuck in a time-warp looks-wise from the bad old days, pre-JD Land. (With exception of Cornacopia)

Ed says: (11/20/09 11:06 AM)
Lets call it what it really is currently, a flophouse. Why don't they just renovate and sell as condos. in that location, that would have to be a profit maker, wouldn't it?

Michael says: (11/20/09 6:37 PM)
That entire block is full of wonderful old rowhomes. The "hotel" is the only hideous part of the street. It is heinous looking!

IMGoph says: (11/22/09 6:37 PM)
i hate to anger the commenters here, but this isn't an ugly building. you might not like the look, it might not be decorative enough for your tastes, but it's not falling down. it's not sporting an overgrown yard. there are hundreds of properties in this city that are much much much more offensive to the eye, and the well-being of the neighborhood.

i hope that the zoning rewrite will allow more mixed use as a matter-of-right. that's what good cities actually allow.

Capt Apollo says: (11/22/09 9:34 PM)
I thank you for a fair comment and invite anyone who wishes to visit us, to come and see the interior as it is presently. The plan is to make it an affiliate to the Navy Yard & Museum. We presently have Captain's Quarters and 4 Officer's Cabins. The Crew's Quarters would be in the lower level, when we gain a variance. Your comments on the exterior need elaborating. I know it is better than it was prior to my arrival in March of this year, and I would appreciate any proposition towards making this corner as attractive as possible. I have an application in to make some changes on the 3rd street side, between the building next door, and that might take another six months for approval. It will take several more years to be where I would like to be and I welcome as much support as you can offer. So far, I have had very favorable reports from my tenants. Please contact me at

CAPT Hill says: (11/23/09 8:46 AM)
Capt Apollo -

Good luck to you sir. I wish all the best for your business and our little corner of DC.

Michael says: (11/23/09 7:01 PM)
If "early medieval stockade" were in vogue, then I would say Casa Degli Angeli looks wonderful. But it's not, and the building is ugly. The landscape isn't overgrown anymore, but the building is a brick wall with a narrow door that seems to be missing its portcullis.

I'm only commenting about the look of the building and not about the idea of a bed and breakfast...

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