The notorious Pitts Motor Hotel that once provided homeless families with substandard shelter will soon be turned into luxury condominiums for hip urbanites. 

Bozzuto Homes, a real estate development company in Greenbelt, Md., recently received approval to start construction on the Fedora at Meridian Hill, which is scheduled to open the summer of 2005.  The building includes 103 condominiums that will start in the upper $200,000 for a one bedroom. 

The Pitts Hotel at 15th and Belmont streets in Northwest, which has been virtually abandoned for a decade, will be torn down, along with town adjacent town homes, and replaced by a five-story building that bears no resemblance.   

In the 1980s, after a right-to-shelter law was established in the District, the Pitts Hotel became one of the key spots where homeless families were housed.  However, not only were the conditions deplorable – families crammed into small, rat-infested spaces – but the city was paying the hotel’s owner, Cornelius Pitts, who was a friend of Mayor Marion Barry, nearly $3,000 dollars per month for each family.  The city also leased office space from Pitts during this time at more than three times the average cost for space in the city. 

One the right-to-shelter law was reversed in 1990, the Pitts Hotel stayed opened for a few years but was then auctioned off.  The building has only briefly had an occupant since then.  

Ironically, the new condominium owners’ monthly mortgages will be roughly half of what the city was paying Pitts per month.  But instead of third-world conditions, these new residents will get 705 to 1,645 square feet of living space, an interior courtyard with a waterfall, underground garage parking, and a rooftop terrace.  

The management of Bozzuto did not return phone calls by the time of publication, but in a press release, the president of the company, Chuck Covell, said that Bozzuto is excited to replace the neglected hotel with new condominiums.  He added that “we’re confident that the introduction of these new homes will have a very positive impact on the area in general.”