Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another Big Push for Southwest Revamp

The federal government has issued a Notice of Intent that could potentially remake part of Washington D.C.'s Southwest quadrant, asking the private sector for input to make better use of the agency-heavy neighborhood.  The area, now dominated by superblocks, highways, feeder roads, checkpoints and nondescript, outdated federal buildings that make it feel more like a secure compound than one of the city's neighborhoods, was intentionally erased in the 1950's when urban planners last redesigned the area and has since faced scrutiny by myriad planners.

The government's notice, issued on Friday and calling the area "Federal Triangle South", could be the beginning of the most significant reshuffling of GSA-controlled space in the greater DC area, though the area covered in Friday's issuance is only a small portion of the land dominated by government agencies.  The notice was also admittedly vague, with no timetable and an official "inquiry" only to be released in 90 days.  But the space at issue is also part of the "Southwest Ecodistrict," a 110-acre redevelopment zone.  Along with the reinvention of the Southwest Waterfront, now just months away from beginning, and the rebuilding of 10th Street, the redevelopment could herald an entirely new neighborhood, transforming housing, roads, railroad tracks, parks and streetscapes.

The Southwest Ecodistrict, shepherded by the National Capitol Planning Commission, would stretch from Constitution Avenue along the Mall down to the edge of the waterfront.  But because the land is controlled by a mash of private, municipal and federal entities ("walkability" sites don't even consider it a neighborhood) that make any coordinated redevelopment not unlike herding barnacles, the project has remained in the planning stages.  The project centers on recreating Maryland Avenue which, like Pennsylvania Avenue, radiates from the Capitol Building, but which has been subordinated to railways, highways and monolithic buildings.

The government's solicitation notes the value of the land and its incongruent underuse: "Challenges in the Federal Triangle South include older buildings that are driving high operating costs, a backlog of required capital improvements, land use inefficiencies, space inefficiencies, and lack of area amenities...GSA seeks to leverage the value of its real property assets to provide more efficient facilities for Federal Customers and potentially create the catalyst for a revitalization of this area of Southwest Washington."

Challenges abound.  It is not clear how entire federal agencies could be moved, nor how far the federal government is willing to go toward allowing mixed-use development and relocation of federal agencies.  But, if the concerned parties permit, the vastness of the area could allow planners to start over much as was done 6 decades ago when the government opted to tear down troubled neighborhoods in favor of a pristine federal enclave.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Your Next Place

This massive former embassy is on the market for the first time in over fifty years; most likely all the U.S. government listening devices have been deactivated, though of course I can't be sure.  (Just to be safe, turn loud music on before discussing anything against the law, such as selling heroin, terror plots, or same-sex marriage.)

But this incredibly property is bursting with unlimited potential, sort of like a new relationship.  The best part is that this building is guaranteed not to eventually disappoint you by drinking too much wine when meeting your parents and asking, "if evolution is real, why haven't the chimpanzees in the zoo turned into humans yet, huh?!"  A potential what, eight-bedroomer (!), this house's ceiling is limited only by your imagination.  The brick Colonial-style facade is definitely a keeper, with its timeless qualities, as well as the distinctive details (check out those windows!).  The spiral staircase, dazzling M.C. Escher-like piece of work, is also worth preserving.  Ah, who am I kidding, this place is fine as is.  You could just scatter some IKEA furniture around and call it a home.  (Protip: a tablecloth thrown over a four-by-four quadrangle of unpacked moving boxes makes a sort-of-convincing table)  The back area is paved over, which you could keep and use as a parking lot or you could tear up the concrete and make it into a gloriously large yard. Who knows, poke around a bit and you might find an old diplomatic license plate the previous tenants forgot to pack during the move.  Imagine, a world where no traffic or parking laws apply to you:  in some religions, that's their definition of heaven.

Of course, with 7500 square feet of space to work with, you could turn this into a one-in-a-million dream home with just a little imagination and elbow grease (and a few hundred thousand dollars for renovations).  This building brought back a lot of memories of when I was a child and my father became smitten with the idea of buying and renovating an old high school into our family home.  My mother was against this idea, as she wanted our next house to be, well, a house.  My father replied that, yes, good point, but the abandoned school comes with a full-sized basketball court AND a glass-front trophy case he could use for all his office bowling league trophies.  In retrospect, this was the first (but by no means the last) time she realized she'd married a big grown-up child.

2310 Tracy Place NW
6 Bedroom, 2 Full Baths, 2 Half Baths

Friday, September 28, 2012

Morning Real Estate Fix

Reports show housing market continues to improve (Examiner)  A snapshot of the Maryland market by county...

...But a new ULI report says things are looking less promising in the commercial sector (Commercial Property Executive) In its most recent semi-annual survey of the next 3 years, economists and analysts are downgrading their expectations for the commercial real estate market to predict a smaller bounce than previously hoped for.

Homebuying: fall is the new spring (NASDAQ) While practical considerations may motivate spring purchases, the fall comes with its own psychological reasons for people to move up.

Investors continue to look to DC as the hottest apartment market (Apartment Finance)  With its high performing buildings, the DC area continues to lead in attracting investors of multi-family housing with its low vacancy rates and high rent growth.

Greysteel names Director of multi-tenant retail division  - Gil Neuman joins the multi-family seller to head the multi-family retail division.

Skyland demolition finally underway (Washington Examiner) The infamous eminent domain case aroused passions on all sides as developers and the city worked to build a large mixed-use project at the site.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two Megabuildings Downtown in Pipeline for Gould

On the edge of Mount Vernon Square, where some of the last vacant lots in the downtown core still exist, plans for more office buildings are heating up.  One developer with a stake in the zone is Gould Property Company.  Gould has plans to build two oversized office buildings - a 380,000 s.f. office building at 600 Massachusetts Avenue and a 620,000 s.f. office building at 900 New York Avenue.  While both await tenants before construction will begin, sources say designs are done and waiting on the right tenant.

Gould Property's 600 Mass Ave. - Rendering courtesy CORE
Gould's "Z"-shaped parcel - nearly half the block at the corner of 6th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, was designed by Core Architecture + Design, also architect on the completed Gould project Market Square North.  The building's plan calls for 10 floors with ground floor retail.  In 2006, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) first gave approval to the developer's concept to move two row houses it owns, 621 and 623 Eye Street, built in 1852, next to a cluster of other row houses on the southeast corner of the lot.  It also approved Gould's plans to demolish a row house at 627 Eye St. to make way for the building, and demolition has already taken place.  After the HPRB put its stamp on the demolition, a Mayor's Agent gave a final necessary nod to the plan in 2007.

Gould Property's 600 Mass Ave. - Rendering courtesy CORE
The design has also passed the Chinatown design review process necessary for buildings in the neighborhood.  "It is a very unique building because it is unlike most of Washington, DC where you basically feel like it is a box," Ron Ngiam, senior project designer with CORE, told DCMud.  With the site shaped like a "Z", architects also worked to meet the challenge of designing a building to fit a unique site.  The zoning of the site prevented a boxy, full, 10-floor building, so architects created a series of terraces.  "We were able to carve quite a bit of light and air into the building and produced a whole series of green roofs," Ngiam said.

"Instead of filling in the property with a box, we were able to do something architecturally interesting." Ngiam also said the building's setback on Eye St. respects the scale of that streetscape.  "We are quite excited about the project," he told DCMud.

600 Mass Ave. - Eye St. Frontage - Rendering courtesy CORE
The 600 Mass Ave project is not the only building in the pipeline for Gould.  The developer is also behind plans to develop a portion of the old Convention Center Site at 900 New York Ave.  The building is part of an $850 million dollar mixed-use CityCenterDC which started construction last yearHines and Archstone are developing most of the CityCenterDC master plan, which calls for condos, office buildings, apartments, and retail, replacing the 10 acres that were left empty after demolition of the old convention center in 2004.

For CityCenterDC, Gould is planning a 12-story building designed by Pickard Chilton Architects.  The design includes a center atrium that reaches the full height of the building's 12 floors.  The atrium is covered with a "unique free standing" glass roof supported by v-shaped columns.  Renderings also call for lushly planted rooftop terraces, nine-foot ceilings, and ground floor retail.

900 New York Ave. - Rendering Pickard Chilton website
Gould, run by real estate scion Kingdon Gould, obtained the site from the city in exchange for a parcel it owned 9th Street NW, which the city needed to make room for a 1,175 room Marriott Marquis through a 99-year lease agreement.

Gould is also behind plans with Vornado Realty for a massive redevelopment of Rosslyn Plaza that would replace six buildings with four new ones to include hundreds of new residential units, as well as hotel space. 

900 New York Ave. - Rendering Pickard Chilton website

At both 900 New York Avenue and 600 Massachusetts Avenue, the developer has the approvals needed to start, according to the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID).  Now all the projects need are good tenants.

Morning Real Estate Fix

Suburban Office Parks Faltering (Architect Magazine)  As corporations migrate toward the cities and spaces workers want to be, remote corporate office parks are under pressure, generating creative solutions from planners.

Pace of new homes sales steady in August (National Assn. of Home Builders) The upscale pace set in July was maintained last month as well, setting their highest pace in 2 years, though builders still see thin margins in housing inventory.

Greyhound bus station closes doors as it moves to Union Station (Washington Post)  The end of an era, of sorts, as the station that nobody loves closes and makes way for redevelopment.  Don't mourn, you never went there anyway.

Federal government chooses contractor for Washington Monument repairs (Washington Post)  A team led by Tutor Perini Management Services Group won the $9.6m contract to repair damage from last year's earthquake.  The same team was responsible for the 1998 restoration.

Bethesda contractor sued after DC construction dig goes bad (Fox 5)  SGA Companies' 9-unit condo project on Florida Avenue leads family to abandon neighboring home and sue after construction pit endangers home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mirror, Mirror


Q&A with Steve Lawlor of Lawlor Architects
By Beth Herman

After 10 years spent raising a young family in a 2,700 s.f., three-story, circa 1905 row house in Capitol Hill, just off of Lincoln Park, the homeowners desired a change and update. But instead of undertaking a massive renovation which would have required that the family – with its three children – move out for months, they purchased an identical adjacent residence from a favorite neighbor, embarking on a plan to create the indoor/outdoor refuge they’d always wanted. Steve Lawlor of Lawlor Architects was at the helm.

DCMud: What compelled the homeowners to essentially purchase their old home all over again?

Lawlor: They got the second house exactly for that reason—because they were familiar with it. It’s a mirror image of the house that they were living in, but this new house could be the clean slate they wanted. Unfortunately, the former owners were smokers and hadn’t done much maintenance for years. There was a lot of remedial work that had to be done: Water was getting in and had damaged a lot of the structure in the rear…it needed a new life regardless of who moved in there. It was really on its last legs.

DCMud: Describe the client’s wish list.

Lawlor: They wanted to have three bedrooms, including a master suite, and two full baths on the top floor. The original house had three bedrooms and one bath. We also moved the laundry upstairs, but to the second floor where they wanted some creature comforts. Then on the first floor, they wanted a big entertaining area—an open kitchen/dining room space. They liked to cook, liked the outdoors and wanted to animate the space with natural light.

DCMud: Given the period in which it was built, what did the first floor look like before?

Lawlor: You couldn’t see through the house for all the walls. Coming in through the main entrance, some strange diagonal wall pushed you off. Artificial fire places—part of a renovation at one time or another— abounded that were purely decorative; there were no elements to warm the home. We realigned all the openings in the house so that when you walk in (it’s a side entrance), we made a vestibule with coat closet and cubbies in which to put books, shoes, mail and more to organize. After you come in, you’re reoriented to the center of the house. We made a long, visual access that slices through the entire house so that at any point, you can look east or west and see the outdoors. Light penetrates deep into the house and you have that connection to the outside. It helps bring the house to life.

DCMud: What about the materials?

Lawlor: Some of the flooring is reclaimed heart pine. The kitchen is American cherry, and the island’s countertop is reclaimed white oak wood joists from a Wisconsin barn. The kitchen floor is cork, a renewable material, and the room is warmed by hydronic radiant heating which, with all the glass, makes it very comfortable.

DCMud: With outdoor space at such a premium in this neighborhood, in what other ways did you open the space to light and air?

Lawlor: Part of the whole manifest destiny of this house was to try to bring the outdoors into the house. Most row houses have very little outdoor space. This house occupied 80 percent of the lot, as opposed to a more typical 60 percent. With little backyard space, on the lower level (basement) floor we eroded the rear walls, installed new windows, and made brick openings. We designed a staircase that descends from the new kitchen down to the new terrace below, with the terrace accessed through the basement in which we lowered the floor and increased the ceiling height. A polished and stained concrete slab with radiant heat created a hard surface yet a warm surface at the same time. A family room with TV and library/guest room which opens onto the terrace is where they spend a lot of their time. Big French doors—actually we made the home’s old pocket doors into sliding barn doors—are used to isolate the space when guests are there. We really decided to make the downstairs as desirable a destination as the upstairs for this house.

DCMud: Speaking of desirable destinations, is there a part of the District you covet more than others?

Lawlor: I've lived in Capitol Hill for 26 years by design. My office is here. There are other parts of the city that are great, but Capitol Hill is the most modern historic area. All the things people try and put into an urban setting - access; walkability; public transportation - are here in what is essentially a small town in the middle of a big city.

Anacostia's BID a Bit Closer to Reality

Anacostia has been slow to take off commercially (though making progress), and much like the expectations for a thriving commercial neighborhood, its Business Improvement District may be close to becoming a reality too.

The neighborhood itself has struggled to attract private businesses and office workers, in part because it lacks nearby services and retail.  Service and retail providers in turn have had little incentive to open shop in Anacostia until more businesses and consumers are on the street.  That conundrum is reflected in the embryonic BID formation.  While corporations typically sponsor the BIDs that promote doing business in the neighborhood, that lack of commerce has hindered the Anacostia BID's formation.  Though landowners in the area point to much potential - a historic downtown, a Metro stop, the coming St. Elizabeths project - without a corporate base to fund the BID, lack of money has kept Anacostia's promoter-in-chief from becoming a reality.  That may be starting to change.

The group met last month to appoint ten board members, and will now be funded by a portion of property taxes from local landowners, but the group will have to wait until tax collections occur in March before it can hire a staff and rent a permanent space.

But that’s still a big step forward for a group that’s been pending for years. In 2008, Councilmember Barry sponsored legislation that would allow the area to create a Business Improvement District. It passed, but the business and property owners behind the effort had several hurdles to overcome before the organization could become a reality.

BIDs in DC, while classified as nonprofit organizations, can’t solicit foundation grants. And when DC’s Office of Tax and Revenue and the Department of Small and Local Business Development reviewed the Anacostia BID's business plan - as required as part of the enabling legislation - they didn’t think it was sustainable.

“So we took a break, got a pro bono counsel, and hired consultants to file paperwork, petition the IRS, and get approval to establish a BID out of the 501(c)3,” explained Stan Voudrie of Four Points Development, the group’s new board president. “It took a lot of time; we were doing it with volunteers.” But eventually, he added, the IRS approved of the group’s new status and the various city agencies signed off on the BID’s new business plan.

Other than Voudrie, the board is composed of representatives from 1918 LLP, Anacostia Economic Development Corporation, ARCH Development Corporation, EDC LLC, Grubb’s Southeast Pharmacy, Honfleur Gallery, Industrial Bank,
NSC, Inc., and Urban City Ventures.

Voudrie says the group will use the time between now and March to prepare for their next steps. After hiring a director and renting a permanent office space, the first order of business will be to increase basic services in the business district, particularly from a visual perspective. “All of the BIDs”—there are eight others in the city—“have that kind of program,” said Voudrie. That means increasing trash pickup, sweeping streets and sidewalks, and planting flowers.

Second, the organization will focus on marketing and business outreach, acting like a local chamber of commerce. “We'll reach out to retailers that we think would bring a service the community would appreciate,” said Voudrie. “We want to be a single clearinghouse where people can find out about opportunities in the neighborhood.” 

And by the same token, the group will allow local business and property owners to speak with a unified voice, addressing issues that might need attention from the city or other institutions.

What the BID won’t be doing, according to Voudrie, is independently establishing a vision for what the neighborhood should look like. “We’ll probably do surveys of people who live and work here to find out their interests, but we won’t tell people what we think they need,” he said.

So all that talk about Anacostia becoming the city’s next arts district might not be on the BID agenda, at least for now, but such ideas might soon be more likely to become reality.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified DC BIDs as not being nonprofit organizations; they are, but are not 501(c)3s. Additionally, the new board has 10 members, not five.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Morning Real Estate Fix

In national home price rise, DC leads the way (Fairfax News)  As national home prices begin to rise, albeit slowly, posting their first six-month winning streak in 3 years, the DC area continued to lead the nation in the 20-city index.

Remembering DC's development struggles of a previous decade (Washington Post)  The early '80s were a time of uncertainty and struggling development as the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) celebrates 30 years of achievement.

Fairfax approves Capital One expansion in Tysons Corner (Washington Post)  The county board last night approved plans for 3.1m s.f. of expansion that Capital One will build over the next decade.  A 20-story office building is likely to be the only new building added in the short term.

Mortgage rates fall to all-time low (Washington Times)  Rate declines follow the FRB's decision to lower rates with more quantitative easing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ground Floor

Scotch & Soda, the Dutch retailer of men's, women's and children's clothing, is coming to the former Betsey Johnson space in Georgetown at 3029 M St, NW.  Construction is slated to begin in late October.

Sweetgreen, the local salad and frozen yogurt chain, is opening it's eighth and ninth locations in the West End and Glover Park.  The West End location will open at the end of September at 2238 M St, NW.  The Glover Park location will open in November at 2200 Wisconsin Ave, NW.  (Eater)

Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Michaels, and DSW are coming to Georgetown Park Mall in 2013.  The J. Crew store in Georgetown Park Mall is also planning to expand.

Einstein Bros. Bagels, the bagel and coffee chain, is taking over the former Vespa location at 2233 Wisconsin Ave, NW.

Al Dente Ristorante, a modern Italian trattoria, has signed a lease for a 5,500 s.f. space at 425 Eye St, NW in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood.  It will be the restaurant's second location; their first location is 3201 New Mexico Ave, NW.

Rhode Island Row, the new rental complex at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, has signed several new retailers including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Sprint.

Poboy Jim, a Cajun restaurant, is coming to 709 H St, NE.

Absolute Noodle, an Asian restaurant from the owners of Absolute Thai, is taking over the old Quiznos space at 772 5th St, NW in Penn Quarter.

Construction Work Begins on Cathedral Commons

Initial construction work has begun on the Giant Supermarket site at 3336 Wisconsin Avenue, a 4-acre site that will be redeveloped into a mixed-use community known as Cathedral Commons.  The $130 million project has been more than a decade in the making, and will create a new, larger Giant as well as 137 apartment units, 8 townhouses, and a concourse with 125,000 s.f. of street front retail space.

Giant had been fighting a devoted neighbor- hood opposition group for years, but scored some decisive legal victories in 2011 and obtained financial partner Bozzuto Group to give the project the final kick needed to start development.  While no formal announcement was issued by the team, partners in the project have been saying for weeks that construction would be imminent, and construction crews began erecting fences Monday afternoon.  
The supermarket, one of the last major groceries to begin (a much needed) renovation, closed in March.  Renderings and descriptions for the new Giant show a wide-aisled suburban-style supermarket resembling its Bethesda counterpart more than the reimagined urban supermarket being promised by developers of the CityMarket at O.  The project was designed by JCA Architects of Reston, which is also responsible for the design work at Union Market.

Update:  A spokesperson for the project notes that Bozzuto is not only the financial partner but also the developer and joint venture partner with Giant, and that no formal date has been announced regarding an official groundbreaking.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Morning Real Estate Fix

NYU opens DC facility - New York University today celebrated the opening of its newest residence on Monday, a 75,000 s.f. facility at 1307 L Street, NW, that will house 120 students and interns.

New FHA rules could make low-downpayment condo sales easier (Washington Post) New regulations will make it easier for condominium associations to become FHA certified, after a large percentage of projects failed to obtain certification.

West End civic groups want Ralph Nader to shove off (Washington Post) Nader's group has been fighting for years for better libraries in DC.  Critics have long said his meddling is unhelpful at best, now community groups in the West End are calling his efforts obstructionist and counter-productive.

Level of commercial/multi-family debt on the decline (RealEstateRama)  The overall amount of debt dropped .4% in the second quarter, following a trend of declining debt.  Commercial banks continue to hold the largest share of mortgage debt.

Housing prices on the rise (CNBC)  Market reports due out today are expected to show that housing prices nationwide are trending upward, following on the heels of a larger sales volume.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ANC Supports RiverFront on the Anacostia Project at Zoning Hearing


Late last week, a zoning commission meeting brought the RiverFront on the Anacostia project one small step closer to fruition.

The 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project, which was designed by SK&I architects and is situated on the Anacostia River just south of Nationals Park, had a hearing in front of the DC Zoning Commission Thursday night. While commissioners were noncommittal, requiring supplemental information from Florida Rock Properties (FRP) and Mid-Atlantic Realty Partners (MRP), the developers, the coup was a letter of support from the local ANC commission covering the site.

The zoning commission originally approved plans for the 5.5 acre site back in 2008, but the developers proposed last year to change the project’s first phase from office space to 300-350 residential units, given the current dismal situation for office space in the neighborhood. A February 2012 hearing didn’t go well—the commissioners all but told the developers to start all over with the designs—but John Begert with MRP Realty said this one seemed a little better, though he didn’t draw any conclusions. “We feel like our presentation went pretty positively, and that’s kind of all you know,” he said.

The commissioners tasked the developers with sending in additional information, including clarifications on the project’s roof plan and how an alley running through the development will be designed. The developers will submit the information within two weeks, but the commission may not make a decision until later this year or even early 2013.

Still, support from the ANC was good news.  "After presenting at multiple monthly ANC meetings and working with the ANC and my SMD’s Citizens’ Development Advisory Committee, the development team presented a final plan this month that we were happy to support,” wrote ANC 6D commissioner David Garber, whose district includes the site, in a letter dated September 20. “The elements of this most recent plan that we hope you will join us in specifically supporting are its engaging architecture, creative and usable public space, ground floor and roof-top retail, and the promised play installation designed specifically for children that is noted in the plan but will be laid out as part of a future phase of the PUD.”

The project’s first phase is a nine-story building that will feature almost 19,000 square feet of retail space and a small amount of affordable housing; 8 percent of its residential units will be priced at 80 percent of the area median income. The project will also include an expansive public section: picture wide green lawns, wetlands-type areas that act as bio-filtration mechanisms for stormwater management, and tree covered spaces, as well as a marina that could accommodate up to 50 boats.

The project, a former concrete plant, is set at the foot of the South Capitol Street Bridge, and has been in the works off and on since 1998.  The developers have more plans for the property, but subsequent phases are several years down the road.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Today in Pictures - 800 N. Glebe

In 2006, Chevy Chase based JBG demolished the Bob Peck Chevrolet dealership, a uniquely futuristic building at 800 N. Glebe Rd. in Arlington that inspired some adoration in the architectural world.  But rather than break completely with the past for its flagship Ballston office project, JBG hired Cooper Carry to design a 10-story office building that would incorporate a faithful reproduction of the one-story dealership, including the blue diamond canopy that became the symbol for the dealership, and what JBG calls "a bold exclamation point on the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor."  The office building, completed this summer, features a glass curtainwall with three "sails" and has been designed for LEED Gold certification.

Arlington,  VA real estate development news

Morning Real Estate Fix

Head of Drew Co. headlining National Mall Project (Boston Herald)  The $700,000 plan to restore the National Mall is underway, with the reflecting pool the first completed section, and is being headed by a Bostonian to assist in the fundraising.

House Subcommittee passes bill to reform GSA's land use (Sierra Sun Times) The bill, headed to full committee, would reform a number of GSA procedures for holding property, and require the federal agency to reduce space in buildings it controls by 1 million square feet per year through 2016.

Architecture revenue down 40% since 2008 (Atlantic Cities)  Gross revenue at architecture firms fell from $44b to $26b, and 28% of jobs were lost, but the industry is trying to adapt.

Montgomery County plans new tech corridor just north of the beltway (Gazette)  County planners have approved a plan for 3,000 acres to be redesigned with tech centers in mind, transforming an unplanned suburban enclave into a job-hosting, mass-transit oriented gateway to rival I-270.

The new app for DC's best landscape architecture (Architecture Newspaper) The American Society of Landscape Architects has a new mobile-friendly site for visitors (locals included) to tour the city's best architectural landscape features.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Your Next Place

Look how cute this little building is, nestled cozily between two much-larger buildings, and yet with an undeniable appeal all its own.  (Insert your own "size doesn't matter" joke here.  It sounds too autobiographical if I do it.)

This beautiful unit is one of 22 in this boutique building, which means it's just big enough that there's probably at least one other person in the building you can have an ill-advised romance of convenience with, but not so small that you won't be able to avoid them after it crashes and burns.  It's a corner unit too, so it's a bit bigger and brighter than the other units, a fact you should bring up constantly when you run into other building occupants.  ("You look depressed, is it because your apartment is slightly smaller than mine?")  The main area is open and gets a ton of light; it features glowing hardwood floors and recessed lighting.  The kitchen comes with the granite countertops/stainless steel appliances one-two punch, and there are a ton of built-ins for your collectible plate collection.  The master bedroom is spacious and wide, and boasts a world-class walk-in closet.  It got me thinking, "wait, why doesn't my bedroom have a walk-in closet?"  And then I realized, my bedroom IS a walk-in closet.  Explains all the built-ins, and why my twin mattress takes up 90% of the floor space.

This building also comes with concierge service, extra storage, rental parking, and even a gym.  Imagine how much guiltier you'll feel about not working out when there's a gym right downstairs!  It's located in Penn Quarter, so it's close to Chinatown, downtown, NoMa, and other neighborhoods people go to, look around, and say, "wait, is this it?  Really?"  (I kid, I kid; aside from that horrible intersection where they have the huge tvs, I actually really like Chinatown.)  Also, it's equidistant from two metro stations, turning each morning into an agonized internal debate over where exactly you want to go to get the back of your neck breathed on by total strangers.

675 E Street NW #500
1 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths


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