Neighborhood profile: Logan Circle


Logan Circle is known for its Victorian housing stock. (Audrey Hoffer/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
August 9, 2013

Nicholas Galbraith, 28, moved to Logan Circle last year from New York. Julian McMichael, 34, came from Columbia Heights seven years ago. And Frank Hauer, 32, started out in Chevy Chase and then tried Van Ness before landing in Logan Circle about seven years ago.

What attracted them all to this Northwest Washington neighborhood was the energetic zing of the community plus the proximity to everything from shopping to dining to entertainment to downtown. “I was naturally drawn to living steps from Whole Foods and the nearby farmers market. Throw in the crop of new restaurants, Studio Theatre and the green space of Logan Circle and that pretty much sealed the deal,” Galbraith said.

The eminently walkable 0.63-square-mile neighborhood is the fastest-growing and most densely populated in the District. Roughly 20,000 to 25,000 people are residents and “it’s growing by the day,” said Tim Christensen, 57, president of the Logan Circle Community Association, who moved there in 1989.

Self-containment: Logan Circle is the only 100 percent residential circle in the city, but it was once bisected by 13th Street, and it took the LCCA’s advocacy to restore circular integrity.


(Gene Thorp/The Washington Post)

Eclectic architecture around the circle includes majestic Victorian-style houses built from 1870 to 1900 that have been refurbished and painted in shades of red, yellow, blue, gray and green. The grandest stand on the avenues jutting from the circle like bicycle spokes, especially at the corners that edge the circle.

The 14th Street commercial corridor is bustling. McMichael said he can get practically everything he needs in the radius of a few blocks — groceries, prescriptions, wine, hardware, even running shoes.

“The real hidden gem in the neighborhood is Logan Hardware. There is no better customer service in the District,” said Galbraith, expressing hope that the community will support other independent stores.

People in their 20s and 30s have found the renovated houses and new high-rise apartments with urban vistas appealing, and that in turn has drawn a host of establishments catering to a young crowd.

“My favorite place is Garden District [formerly the Standard], because it has amazing barbecue, beer and atmosphere,” said Hauer, who also likes the martinis at Number Nine and grilled cheese at Stoney’s Lounge. “That’s the thing, there are just so many choices it all depends on what you’re in the mood for or what direction you want to walk.”

Galbraith agreed that Number Nine is fun and “Black Whiskey is a reliable evening go-to destination but the real Logan treat is a brunch around an overflowing pastry basket at Le Diplomate,” he said.

Masa 14 is a spacious Latin-Asian vibe restaurant serving dinner and Sunday brunch with unlimited house cocktails. It is difficult to book a reservation.

“Twenty years ago the homeless and prostitutes were here, but now you see families, ball games, bicyclists and strollers,” said Christensen. “Today croquet, bocce ball, cricket and even tightrope walkers are popular activities.”

Parking problems: LCCA also tackles issues from vexing parking problems to serious crime. Neighborhood residents complain that they can’t find a parking spot because visitors take up the street spaces. Merchants disavow the Enhanced Residential Parking Program because it cuts available street parking by half.

Public safety is always a concern, but “we have an excellent relationship with the police department, and representatives always attend our association meetings,” Christensen said.

The Metropolitan Police Department reported 1,003 violent crimes in the Third Police District, which includes Logan Circle, between July 2012 and July 2013 — including seven homicides and 151 armed robberies.

Living there: Logan Circle is bordered by S Street to the north, Ninth Street to the east, K Street to the south and 16th Street to the west. The neighborhood “Logan Circle” is loosely applied by agents in the multiple listing service, said Claudine Chetrit, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. “Like all parts of town, there is a dearth of listings.”

“Everyone still wants to move here, and those who came the last few years don’t want to leave, but my experience is that most young people in their 20s are moving to Shaw and the U Street area now because Logan is too expensive,” McMichael said.

The homes now on the market are condominium apartments or town­houses.

Currently, there are 12 properties for sale. One is a townhouse with three bedrooms and two bathrooms for $875,000; the others are condos ranging from $244,900 to $1.399 million.

From July 2012 to July 2013, 19 townhouses sold, priced at $435,000 to $1.55 million, as did 226 condominium units ($177,000 to $2 million).

Schools: Garrison Elementary, Seaton Elementary.

Transportation: Metro stations ring the neighborhood, though none are within its boundaries. The Circulator bus and Metro’s 52 and 53 bus lines run nearby.

Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.

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