“I think the ballpark, while it hasn’t quite stimulated the private development that was envisioned — the recession had a hand in that — it really did mentally map our neighborhood. . . . When you sit in that stadium and you sit in the top tiers, you look out and you can see all that building development,” Stevens said.
Now the restaurants and attractions are coming, and quickly. Construction is underway at the waterfront development of old Navy Yard facilities known as the Yards, and nearly a dozen restaurants are on the way: Austin Grill Express, Buzz Bakery, Brb (Be Right Burger), Huey’s 24/7 Diner, Kruba Thai & Sushi, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Willie’s Brew & ’Que and a brew pub called Bluejacket by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, operators of Vermilion, Churchkey and Rustico. All of them should be open by this fall.
Next year, Harris Teeter will open a grocery store at Fourth and M streets, with 220 apartments on top. The developer, Forest City Washington, is one of a number of companies planning or building high-end apartments in the area, such as its 170-unit Foundry Lofts. Two-thirds of the neighborhood’s residents are renters, according to the Business Improvement District, and more than half of residents are ages 22 to 35.
“I think what we’ve seen at Foundry Lofts is it’s generally an upper 20s and mid-30s type of renter,” said Ramsey Meiser, Forest City Washington senior vice president of development.
Parents may be disappointed to learn that the neighborhood still lacks basics such as a neighborhood school and a public library, though there has been discussion about reopening the former Van Ness elementary school on M Street.
And, for now, at least, there aren’t many options for home buyers. The last of 325 Capitol Quarter townhouses are being built between Third and Fifth streets south of M Street. Developer EYA says all but one of the townhouses have been sold. One of the few condominium buildings in the area, Velocity Capitol Riverfront, has a few dozen units left. In the 20003 Zip code, which includes all of Capitol Hill, median monthly home prices ranged from $465,000 to $640,000 in 2011, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems. In January, 22 homes were sold at a median price of $509,500.
Weber said he is looking forward to the new developments in the neighborhood, even if he hasn’t settled on a name. “If I’m talking to someone that’s not from D.C., I would probably just say I live near Capitol Hill,” he said.