New townhouses at National Harbor offer a mix of urban and suburban conveniences

February 21

Eric and Rhonda Crenshaw went to settlement on their Potomac Overlook home in July 2011, just two months after the model homes officially opened.

“We were buying when there was just dirt on the ground,” Rhonda Crenshaw said of the community at National Harbor.

The Crenshaws purchased their four-level townhouse, built by Integrity Homes, seeking the middle ground: They wanted to blend Eric’s suburban background (he is from the outskirts of St. Louis) and Rhonda’s city background (she’s from the District).

She said the couple enjoys the tucked-away suburban feel of Potomac Overlook but relishes the fact that it’s within walking distance of or a short commute from urban conveniences.

“We had very different needs, and this was a nice compromise,” she said. “It’s great to walk right out and be a part of the energy in the community.”

In high demand: While the riverfront area of National Harbor is filled with shops, restaurants and seasonal events such as festivals and concerts, Potomac Overlook is in a serene enclave off the main path.

The community has about 170 townhouses, ranging from $659,000 to $859,000, that neatly line the landscaped streets. The development includes a Brownstone series and a new Courtyard series introduced in October. The first three sections have all sold. Houses in the fourth section, said Bruce Nelson, a sales agent, are going fast.

Nelson said 21 of the 28 newest Brownstone units are already sold, as are three of the newly released Courtyard models. The houses are made of brick and stone, and they come with rooftop terraces, balconies and lots of windows.

The Crenshaws and Kimberly Bibbs, a recent newcomer to the community, purchased the end-unit Patuxent model. Bibbs and her husband, William, closed on their new home in May. They moved from New Jersey but still have a home there.

“The location is . . . great for us,” Bibbs said. “We moved a lot in the past 10 years and were looking for a place with parking and where we did not have to do any landscaping.”

The Brownstone series has two floor plans. The Patuxent and the Severn models include four finished levels, three full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and a two-car garage. On the top level is a spacious loft, which can also serve as a third bedroom. This level also has a dramatic rooftop terrace.

The foyer of the Patuxent model opens into the large living room, which has a gas fireplace as a standard feature. On the opposite side of the foyer is the kitchen with a center island that opens to the dining area. More living space is found in the recreation room on the lower level. The sleeping quarters are split between the third and fourth levels. The third floor has two bedrooms, including a spacious owner’s suite with a luxurious bathroom and walk-in closet.

Columns and crown molding are standard. Options include floor-to-ceiling built-in shelving surrounding the fireplace and, on the loft level, a dual-sided fireplace that can be viewed from the terrace .

“I love this house. It’s very spacious, light and airy. The builder’s quality is great, and I enjoy all of the architectural details such as the . . . high ceilings,” said Rhonda Crenshaw, adding that she especially enjoys watching the sunsets every night from the rooftop terrace.

The Courtyard series has three floor plans, each with three bedrooms, a two-car garage and a main-level terrace off the kitchen and dining area.

The Bristol floor plan has a formal dining room with columns and a great room that opens into the kitchen. Two bedrooms are on the top level, including the owner’s suite, with a third bedroom on the lower level adjacent to the recreation room. Options include a fireplace in the great room and a wet bar in the recreation room.

Living on the Potomac: The community is next to the Potomac River, located right off the Beltway in Oxon Hill.

Being within walking distance to one of the area’s newest tourist attractions has its advantages. There’s always a variety of entertainment options, including farmers markets, holiday festivals, fireworks and musical performances. National Harbor residents also have easy access to a range of dining options, including upscale restaurants, international cuisine and neighborhood cafes.

“It’s easy access to the harbor and a short walk to many shopping and dining options,” Bibbs said.

In addition, there are jogging and biking paths and trails on the waterfront, a marina, public piers and waterfront activities such as kayaking and canoeing.

The National Children’s Museum and the Tanger Outlet Mall have recently opened at National Harbor.

Schools: Fort Foote Elementary, Oxon Hill Middle, Oxon Hill High

Transit: Living on the river means such perks as water taxis. Transportation service is available by water or shuttle bus to Washington and Old Town Alexandria. The Beltway and major highways to Washington and Northern Virginia are all close by. The NH1 and NH3 bus routes connect National Harbor with the Branch Avenue Metro station.

Carisa Crawford-Chappell is a freelance writer.

Potomac Overlook

500 Rampart Way

National Harbor, Md.

The prices range from about $659,000 to $859,000.

Builder: Integrity Homes

Features: The townhouses have four floors with crown molding, a loft, floor-to-ceiling shelving around the fireplace and a rooftop terrace. Some of the floor plans have a formal dining room with columns and a wet bar in the recreation room. Residents have access to festivals, shopping, international cuisine and a range of other activities on the waterfront.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 /3 full ,2 half

Homeowners association fees: $460 a month

View models: 1 to 5 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Sales office: 703-772-9396 or visit www.potomacoverlook.com.

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