Another Petworth-area funeral home to bite the dust

A Rockville company appears to be the latest real estate developer with an eye for a Petworth-area funeral home.

An affiliate of BlueWater Development has crafted plans to demolish and redevelop 4804 Georgia Ave. NW, the base of several funeral homes over the years, as an 18-unit apartment house. An attorney for the affiliate took those plans in September to the D.C. Zoning Administrator for his opinion, and, in a letter dated Nov. 20, the administrator agreed that multifamily as the plans describe is allowed there.

The 5,100-square-foot funeral home, assessed by the city at $671,730, was recently listed for sale for $1.75 million. The listing for the building, located between Delafield Place and Decatur Street NW, is no longer active. It is presumably under contract.

Dominick Cardella, the current owner, acquired the property in 2011 for $475,000.

The BlueWater project, per plans designed by Teass\Warren Architects, would stand four stories and 50 feet tall, with an “extensive green roof” and roof terrace, four permanent parking spaces and six long-term bicycle storage spaces.

The zoning administrator’s letter notes that 4804 Georgia “has been the location” of Grace Murray Funeral Home, a business now based at 5635 Eads St. NE, just east of HD Woodson High School near the Maryland line, according to its website. Other D.C. funeral home databases list the Georgia Avenue address as the Murray Tellington Funeral Home, the Magnolia Funeral Chapel, and Vann & Williams Funeral Home.

Funeral homes, much likes churches or bowling alleys in the suburbs, are easy targets for developers. They typically consume prime real estate on major corridors — often in up-and-coming neighborhoods — and can be sold for a premium while their owners retire or set up shop for less money elsewhere. That has certainly happened in the general Petworth area.

The former base of Austin Royster Funeral Home, 3821 14th St. NW, is now a condo building constructed by S2 Development. Austin Royster, the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, relocated to the 500 block of Kennedy Street NW. S2 bought the 14th Street building for $1.285 million at a foreclosure sale.

As featured in the Washington Business Journal