Placing service alleys and garages behind homes eliminates curb cuts and enables uninterrupted curbside parking for visitors along subdivision streets. And as an additional aesthetic benefit, front facades are garage-door-free.
Designed by Creaser/O’Brien Architects, each of two traditionally detailed, brick-clad model homes contains four upstairs bedrooms and a loft space, 2.5 baths, a main floor “great space” — kitchen and sitting-entertainment area — and a dining room or library. Options include a studio atop the garage and basement recreation room.
The “Greenwich,” up to 2,755 square feet in size, starts at $565,990; the 2,619-square-foot “Tribeca” starts at $590,990. At about $225 per square foot, these condos cost much less than CityCenterDC’s $1,000-per-square-foot condos yet still are out of reach for many households.
Townhouses of all vintages, styles, sizes and prices continue appealing to people desiring some of the advantages of single-family living but also some of the conveniences of apartment living. And few Washington-based housing developers have focused more on townhouse development than EYA.
EYA’s newest project, Little Falls Place, will be a compact cluster of 30 upscale townhouses in south Bethesda. Unlike condos at CityCenterDC and homes at One Loudoun, Little Falls Place is not in an urban setting or future downtown. Rather, it is an intimate enclave of homes nestled in woods between Little Falls Parkway and the Capital Crescent Trail.
Although not near a Metro station, Little Falls Place nevertheless will be only minutes by car or bicycle from shopping, restaurants, civic amenities and transit available in downtown Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase.
Townhouse floor plans are fairly conventional: At street level, a two-car garage with recreation and utility rooms behind; on the floor above, an open-plan great room with a modern kitchen, Energy Star appliances and access to a balcony, rear yard or patio; and on the third floor, a master bedroom and bath, plus two bedrooms and bath. With 9-feet-6-inch ceilings and large windows, daylight will fill interiors controlled by home environment automation systems.
Much less conventional will be the unique fourth-level of the luxury townhouses, a spacious roof-top terrace with built-in kitchenette and optional fireplace, wood decking, overhead shading system or hot tub rough-in.
Townhouse exteriors likewise are unconventional, having none of the traditional decorative elements or historicist details seen so often on townhouse facades. Lessard Design, architects for the project, created a style that EYA refers to as mid-20th century modern.
Of the 30 townhouses in the cluster, 25 are luxury models: the 2,430-square-foot “Berkley” starting at $1.375 million; and the 2,635-square-foot “Carlton” starting at $1.495 million. The $565 square foot cost is more than double that of One Loudoun homes.
Within the cluster, five moderately priced dwelling units — the “Duvall” model — required by Montgomery County will contain about 1,600 square feet and sell for approximately $180,000.
Clearly, EYA can build reasonably priced town houses, as it has in recent years in Hyattsville’s 25-acre, downtown Arts District, a suburban municipality in the process of urbanizing. Restaurants and local shopping are at hand, and D.C., the University of Maryland, the Mall at Prince George’s and Prince George’s Plaza Metro station are only a short distance away by car, bus or bike.
A new set of stylistically modern, three-bedroom units — EYA at Arts District Hyattsville — opens next month. Featuring gourmet kitchens and rooftop terraces, units range in size from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet and will be priced from $350,000 to $450,000.
Developers have figured out this market, as have some local governments now revising obstructive, outdated zoning regulations to allow such projects.
Nevertheless, despite best efforts by developers and governments, financing and producing housing for those unable to afford what the market offers remains a daunting economic challenge.
Roger K. Lewis is a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland. His cartoon may be seen at washingtonpost.com/realestate.