The historic exterior of the Patterson Mansion  at Ampeer.
The historic exterior of the Patterson Mansion at Ampeer.

Developer Saul Urban’s newest luxury apartment brand, Ampeer, is set to open its flagship property in the historic Patterson Mansion in Washington, D.C.’s, Dupont Circle this month. The project, co-developed with D.C.’s Rooney Properties, offers 92 studio and one-bedroom units on short-term leases of anywhere from three months to a year.

The Ampeer caters to “highly transient, high-income” individuals on short-term assignment to D.C.—including diplomats, professionals, and consultants—who might otherwise live in hotels or corporate housing for months at a time.

“We wanted to create a residential community that was about more than just a place to rest your head. Our vision for Ampeer was to provide residents with opportunities to connect—inside and outside of the building,” says Frank Saul, founder and CEO of Saul Urban.

“Through our inviting common spaces, morning breakfast, and evening drinks and hors d’oeuvres, residents are able to connect with their peers while our dedicated team of lifestyle associates and diverse lineup of programming provide them access and connection to the city.”

The ballroom at Ampeer.
The ballroom at Ampeer.

A Storied History

As reported in The Washington Post, the Ampeer began its life as the Patterson Mansion, designed by architect Stanford White and completed in 1903, at the height of the Gilded Age. The historic portion has four floors, covers 36,470 square feet, and once had 16 bedrooms in its original layout.

The home’s first regular resident was Eleanor “Cissy” Patterson, heiress to the Chicago Tribune newspaper. President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge lived in the mansion while the White House was undergoing renovations and hosted Charles Lindbergh there following his trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. After Patterson’s death, the property was sold to the Washington Club, one of the oldest women’s societies in the city, which held the mansion as a meeting and event space until the group's disbanding in 2014. Saul Urban purchased the property that same year for $20 million.

Ampeer’s private residences are split between the historic mansion, which contains 22 units, and a newly built addition, which contains 70 units. The tower units range between 330 and 390 square feet, while the mansion units range from 350 to 415 square feet for studios and 500 to 600 feet for one-bedrooms. Many of the mansion units have unique floor plans, built to fit the existing structure, and two of the units share access to the mansion’s balcony. An internal courtyard separates the mansion and the tower, which is accessible through either the fitness center or the ground-level, inward-facing tower units.

All of the units are fully furnished, with ample storage space, in-unit laundry, and smartphone-enabled locks. Rents range from $2,100 to $8,100 per unit.

The Ampeer Lifestyle

In designing a living experience for Ampeer’s prospective tenants, Saul Urban considered the reality of their lifestyles—that this was likely not their permanent residence and they might not have many local engagements. According to Daniel Rigaux, senior vice president of acquisitions, development, and finance, Saul Urban didn’t want Ampeer’s residents to end up spending their nights “sitting in front of the blue glow of a TV with a glass of wine.”

The interior of a one-bedroom unit in the mansion portion of Ampeer.
The interior of a one-bedroom unit in the mansion portion of Ampeer.

Instead, Ampeer’s communal spaces offers consistent opportunities for residents to gather and connect with each other without sacrificing convenience. Continental breakfast is served in the mansion’s dining room on weekday mornings, and the ballroom is open for drinks and hors d’oeuvres five nights a week, served by a full-time food manager and a mixologist. The library offers a specially appointed work and study space, where residents can take advantage of propertywide Wi-Fi connectivity.

Both the dining room–kitchen and library can be reserved for community events, whether by Ampeer staff or residents. Future social programming and community events will include wine tastings, cultural presentations by local authors and professors, and chef’s table dinners. Just outside the mansion’s doors, residents are also within walking distance of dozens of restaurants, cultural institutions, and embassies, as well as the Dupont Circle subway station.

The interior, created by locally based designer Darryl Carter, features a mix of updated historic features and modern design sentiments—an aesthetic Carter proudly describes as “irreverent.” Artwork is displayed prominently throughout the common areas, including a stylized portrait of Cissy Patterson in the library.

“Frank [Saul]’s vision was to maintain the building’s elegance while merging it with modern flair,” Carter says in a statement. “What we have created in Ampeer has gone beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Its historic roots proved to be a spectacular canvas to reimagine what an elite living space could be. Simply put, walking through those doors, you enter a whole new world.”

One thing missing is a leasing office or front desk. Ampeer’s staff instead will connect with residents in the common area or assist with leasing arrangements online.

Ampeer’s move-in dates were to begin this week. Saul Urban is also developing another short-term rental property, The Blagden, across town, in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. The company also has its sights set on other East Coast cities for the Ampeer brand’s expansion.