Some D.C. residents even more upset about 'pop-up' homes after partial building collapse

The home that's earned the nickname 'The Monster' among neighbors, located at 1013 V St. NW. (Photo: Joce Sterman/WJLA)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – “Pop-up” homes are going up all over the District; on Tuesday, one partially collapsed during construction. Now, there are some serious concerns about these modern-day housing choices.

On Euclid Street NW, a pop-up house is under construction and the homeowner next door, Valerie Wheeler, is livid.

“They have already put a hole in the side of our attic,” she said. “The noise, the banging, everything, it seems that they pick and choose what regulations they want to follow.”

Wheeler insists the city is ignoring her complaints and letting the builder convert a row house into a four-condominium pop-up as he pleases. But Paul Luck insists he’s obeying the codes and has a problem with her.

“This wall was surveyed by my surveyor. It protrudes on my property 5/8 of an inch,” Luck said.

With D.C.’s real estate market booming, the pop-up builders are busy. Next-door homeowners, like Olivia Padilla, claim the city is not providing proper oversight.

“I heard this huge, like whoomp, and then brrrrr, like the brick falling, and my whole house was shaking,” she said. “A large section of fence was smashed.”

Tuesday’s bulldozer accident on P Street apparently did no structural damage to Padilla’s home, but she is upset, as is Sandra LeSesne, who lives on Buchanan Street NW. LeSesne says she learned of the pop-up next door when the construction work jarred her out of bed.

“We have no rights when it comes to people coming,” LeSesne said.

Luck insists the pop-up industry is doing the District a favor.

“We took a one-dwelling unit and now we’re making it four condominiums,” he said. “Those buyers will probably not have school-age children; it does help to expand the tax base for the city.”

Luck argues that since there is no room in D.C. for houses to expand horizontally, they must do so vertically.

On Wednesday evening at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, concerned residents discussed their desires to see pop-up homes either face tougher regulations or be banned altogether.