There’s a neighborhood in the District, just a short Metro ride from downtown, known for community, diversity and, best of all, surprisingly affordable home prices.
This is Brookland. Its quiet, shady streets and single-family homes with yards have long been popular with families, gardeners and nature-lovers, not to mention the 3,000 students at nearby Catholic University.
With home prices shooting up in D.C., the neighborhood’s affordability is drawing more home buyers to Brookland.
It’s also a straight shot from downtown by car or bike. Just head northeast along Rhode Island Avenue and across a small bridge to 9th Street NE. You can ride Metro’s Red Line from downtown to Brookland-CUA Station in roughly 20 minutes.
Once they move in, residents find even more to love, including a strong sense of neighborhood pride.
“We wanted to pick a community we could engage with,” says Tom Bridge, an IT consultant who moved to Brookland two years ago.
These days, the once-sleepy streetcar suburb is changing (though not without some growing pains).
New retail and residential developments near the Brookland Metro and at nearby Rhode Island Avenue Metro are making the neighborhood more attractive to younger buyers. According to Zillow.com’s Home Value Index, recent prices for Brookland condos of all sizes averaged $302,000, about $50,000 less than in Petworth and more than $100,000 less than in Columbia Heights.
For those prices, you miss out on a few amenities. The neighborhood’s retail options consist of a few sit-down restaurants, pizza and wings takeouts, and greasy spoons. “I miss U Street and some of the convenience of having all those choices [of restaurants and shops] in really close proximity,” says Geraldine, 33, who did not want her last name published.
Geraldine lives at the Chancellor’s Row at Brookland Metro (627 Regent Place NE; 202-290-3794), which broke ground in 2010 and offers three- and four-bedroom, LEED-certified row homes starting at $343,000.
On the other end of the price spectrum is Oak Terrace (3719 12th St. NE; 202-529-2420), an older building where a one-bedroom recently sold for $122,000. The Brooklander (1218 Perry St. NE; 301-513-9300) also offers attractive deals, like a one-bedroom condo that assessed for $220,000.
Value is what draws most buyers to Brookland. Long and Foster Realtor Tanya Slade has seen this firsthand. “I think a lot of people who are transitioning from other cities recognize how expensive it is to be near a Metro [station]. And then they find their way to Brookland and realize, ‘Wow, I can be on the Metro and live in my smaller condo, and I’ll still be in the city.’”
Buyers on a budget who want to remain in D.C. proper “definitely have to come to the east side of North Capitol,” says Slade.
Unlike other Northeast neighborhoods, Brookland combines low prices with accessibility to transit. As for restaurants and services, there is slow but steady growth. An upscale bar, the Brookland Café (3740 12th St. NE; 202-635-6307), opened a few years ago, and the neighborhood recently welcomed its first cupcake shop (Divinely Decadent Desserts; 2701 12th St. NE, 202-450-1953). Menomale Pizza Napoletana and Craft Beer (2711 12th St. NE; 202-248-3946) is scheduled to open later in 2012.
Dance Place (3225 8th St. NE; 202-269-1600) offers performances and classes just a few blocks from the Metro station, and residents tout the recently renovated Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave. NE; 202-576-9236) as a “hidden gem” with a 25-meter swimming pool. Brookland’s Langdon Dog Park (2901 20th Street NE) is one of the largest parks in the entire District. The Woodridge Neighborhood Library (1801 Hamlin St. NE; 202-541-6226), which serves much of Brookland, is scheduled to be renovated, with assistance from the firm that designed the new Arena Stage.
The Metropolitan Branch Trail, which links Silver Spring with Union Station, runs right through the heart of the neighborhood, following the Metro tracks. You can enter the trail at 7th and Franklin Streets NE.
While neither is technically located within the bounds of Brookland, both of D.C.’s new breweries — D.C. Brau and Chocolate City — have opened up shop in Northeast, so growlers of fresh beer are just a stone’s throw away.
“I’m for the most part very excited about what’s coming down the pipe,” Bridge says of the new developments. “Brookland is a rising star.”
Bridge’s and his wife’s decision to move to Brookland, he says, was “easily the best decision we made.”