The Corner of Luxury, Convenience in D.C.

In addition to a fitness center, the V at City Vista has a business center, lounge and club room, and retail shops.
In addition to a fitness center, the V at City Vista has a business center, lounge and club room, and retail shops. (By Susan Straight For The Washington Post)
By Susan Straight
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just a block west of where Interstate 395 dead-ends into New York Avenue in Northwest Washington, the V at City Vista recently opened its luxurious doors on what was once a fairly desolate stretch.

Now the area teems with pedestrian traffic. Safeway, a Busboys and Poets restaurant, Results Gym, and a number of other conveniences are all on the ground floor of the months-old City Vista complex, which includes the rental V at City Vista and two sister condominiums, called the K and L buildings.

Busboys and Poets at 5th and K streets NW, the third location of the local restaurant, has become a favorite hangout for residents. "That's often where I study," law student Marsha Dixon said.

"I've been to Busboys and Poets probably four or five times in the past month," resident Michael Meuti said.

Proximity to groceries and other services has been a major lure for residents. The Safeway "was one of the big attractions for me," Meuti said. "And having the gym and hardware store nearby is really convenient."

Dixon said, "It doesn't get any more convenient that this, with Chinatown and Judiciary Square so close. I have a car, but I try not to use it often."

Increasing development in the neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue has made parking even during non-event times scarce, so residents who have cars need to pony up the $200 per month for a parking space in the underground garage.

But the location means a car may not be required.

Resident Steve Drennan commutes to work in Manassas by car, but "when I park my car on Friday night, I don't see it again until Monday morning," he said.

Some of his co-workers couldn't understand why he wanted to move from Virginia to the District, farther from his job. "I spent 10 years in Northern Virginia," he said. "There's so much more to do here. I love it."

Being close to I-395 means his commute doesn't require navigating city streets. "The location is good near Chinatown. I thought that was perfect because the Third Street tunnel is one block away," Drennan said.

The V, as it is called, opened in the fall. It's the newest luxury high-rise in the rapidly transforming NoMa/Mount Vernon neighborhood just north of Gallery Place and Chinatown. The blocks immediately around the complex are still largely parking lots, empty lots or construction sites.

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