The Cairo Condominiums

Located at 1615 Q Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 | Dupont Circle

The Cairo is not only the tallest residential building in Washington, DC, it is also the reason why there aren’t any taller towers. Built way back in 1894 and designed by prominent architect Thomas Franklin Schneider, the 12-story, 164-foot-tall landmark building in the Dupont Circle neighborhood helped drive the enactment of Washington’s Height of Buildings Act. Legislators were not going to allow their federal district to turn into the next New York City!

With its looming walls and bays, the Cairo has a distinctive Romanesque Revival style that is almost castle-like in its appearance. Schneider’s Egyptian-themed design was inspired by a building he had seen at the 1893 World’s Fair. Rough-hewn stonework at the lower levels transitions to brick, with intriguing details like gargoyles and winged griffins. The building is home to some 168 residences, making it one of the larger condominiums in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Other landmark buildings from Schneider include the Albemarle (also in Dupont), the Iowa in Logan Circle, and the Ethelhurst in Downtown DC. After the Cairo was completed, many locals labeled it “Schneider’s Folly” due to its height and imposing footprint.

Active Listings for Sale at The Cairo

More About the Cairo, Washington, DC

The Cairo started off as an apartment building but became a hotel around the turn of the century, often home to lavish parties and social events in the grand ballroom with its ornate chandeliers. But time took its toll, including major fires and a gradual fall into decay. The building was sold in 1972, and subsequently gutted, and renovated for apartment rentals. That phase was short-lived, with another purchase from the Middle States Knowlton Development Corporation and their subsequent transformation into condo units circa 1979. A number of apartment renters exercised options to purchase during the transitional phase.

Floorplans at the Cairo vary in size and configuration, from studio to three bedrooms, and from around 350 to over 1,270 square feet of living space. There are also approximately eight duplex apartments in the building. And while many of the units have been remodeled by individual owners since the 1979 condominium conversion, there are still many reminders of the Cairo’s colorful history, such as exposed brick walls, built-ins, and in some cases, original hardwood floors that are now well over a century old. Residents at the building enjoy a splendid rooftop deck with breathtaking views of the city and its monuments. Some units also have their own private outdoor spaces. There is a staffed front desk, laundry facilities, and bicycle storage. Condo owners can elect to install washer and dryer hookups in their residences if they are not already present.

You would be hard pressed to find a more walkable location than the Cairo on Q Street, between 16th and 17th Streets. The Java House is next door for your morning Joe, while longtime Dupont favorite Hank’s Oyster Bar is a couple doors down on the other side of the street. Stroll just a few feet more and you’ll be in the heart of 17th Street’s shopping and dining experience with sidewalk cafes and fun storefronts. There’s a neighborhood Safeway, the local hardware store, and restaurants like Floriana, Annie’s Paramount Steak House, Prego Again, and Dupont Italian Kitchen. Stead Park is also nearby.

To learn more about condos for sale at the Cairo, please call Andre Perez at District Partners at Compass, 202-400-3040.

The Cairo, District of Columbia FAQs

Q: Is the Cairo really the tallest building in the Washington DC area?

A: The Cairo is still the tallest residential building in Washington, DC itself. However, Turnberry Tower in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood is the tallest condo tower in the greater Washington Metro region.

Q: What is the price range at the Cairo?

A: Although prices will always fluctuate, recent sales have ranged from around $400,000 to $700,000.

Q: Is the Cairo a pet-friendly building?

A: Yes, it is. It’s worth noting that the S Street Dog Park is within walking distance.

Q: How far is it from the Cairo to the Dupont Circle Metro Station?

A: The distance can vary depending on which route you take to get there, but it is generally less than a mile.

Realtor Andre Perez

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