Apartment Living

Concord Residences, A Place for Reflection

The courtyard's Zen pool is sourced by a waterfall and runs the length of the space. At the other end is a glass structure that houses the Crystal City complex's swimming pool and yoga studio.
The courtyard's Zen pool is sourced by a waterfall and runs the length of the space. At the other end is a glass structure that houses the Crystal City complex's swimming pool and yoga studio. (By Susan Straight For The Washington Post)

By Susan Straight
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 8, 2007

If the Zen pool, waterfall and lush grassy lawn don't excite you, try the rooftop view of takeoffs and landings at Reagan National Airport.

The Concord Residences stand 18 stories tall at the south end of Crystal Drive, almost directly west of the airport. From the rooftop deck, the panorama includes the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, the Potomac River, the airport and much of the District.

"The rooftop deck is really what sold me. You can see every monument," said Mike Stern, who moved into the building in October.

Despite the proximity to the airport, he said he can't hear the planes from inside his unit. There's a buffer of office buildings between the Concord's lower levels and the airport.

Once known primarily for its government offices and hotels, Crystal City now has enough restaurants and stores to give it a little life after office hours. Residents at the Concord, which opened this summer, can stroll north on Crystal Drive into the heart of the high-rises and find outdoor cafe seating, tapas, Thai food, American cuisine, seafood and several steakhouses. "It is such a perfect property, a luxury building really close to restaurants and shopping," Stern said.

Rhonda Dill, who moved to the building in September from Old Town Alexandria, agrees. She said she wanted a place where she could keep her car. "I was looking for a modern architecture with easy access to downtown. I needed a place where I could afford to have my car," she said.

Concord residents can park in the building's underground garage, in unreserved spaces, for $75 per month for one car and an additional $100 for a second car. While this is less expensive than many nearby high-rises, there's no practical alternative for car owners: Street parking is extremely limited, and the few spots are mostly on one-hour meters.

However, it is relatively easy to live at Concord Residences without a car. The Metro is a half-mile walk up Crystal Drive, past the Crystal City Shops to 18th Street South. From there, the Blue and Yellow lines head north to the District (as few as three stops) or south to Franconia-Springfield and Huntington.

Frequent buses run on Route 1 to the Potomac Yard strip mall and Old Town Alexandria. The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is a four-minute Metro ride away.

And you can't beat the easy access to the airport. "I'm a consultant, so I travel a lot. I wanted to be close to the airport so I could walk if I want," said resident Nick Jaggers. Although he says he hasn't walked there yet, at less than a mile from its front door to Terminal A, the Concord may be the closest residential address to the airport.

As for daily necessities, residents don't have to go far for coffee: A coffee machine offers complimentary drinks in the clubroom, and there's a Starbucks next door.

The building's sophisticated glass front gives way to an art-filled lobby. The courtyard has a long, narrow water element -- a "Zen pool" -- running through it end to end, with paths for strolling, tables and benches. The pool runs from a multitiered waterfall at one end to a two-story glass structure, which houses the Concord's yoga studio and swimming pool. "It's really pretty at night when the Zen pool is lit up. My studio has a straight shot of the swimming pool and Zen pool, and it's really calming" at the end of a workday, Dill said.

Some of the 422 units have balconies and fireplaces. Residents can reserve the unit they'd like through the Web site, http://www.concordcrystalcity.com, which allows users to select fireplace, balcony and floor options, and tells them which finishes a unit has, such as stainless-steel or black appliances, the color of the granite countertops and the kitchen cabinet wood (light, medium or dark cherry). The Web site also has a feature for arranging furniture and -- especially useful for those who care about their view -- a "unit views" option, which provides a photograph of the view from the balcony or windows.

"Their Web site is very comprehensive," Jaggers said.

The building accepts approved-breed large dogs, which is unusual for a high-rise. For Stern, who has a 50-pound boxer, the Concord was the end of a long search through many apartment communities. Finding a place that would allow his dog was "one of the major issues," he said. "Nobody allows larger dogs," he said.

The amenities-rich building also has a large fitness center, massage room (with appointments made through the front desk), business center, conference room, and large clubroom with billiards, full wet bar, kitchen and flat-panel television.

"It doesn't have an apartment-complex feel. It feels like you're staying in a resort," Stern said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company