There's no "For Sale" sign posted on the premises, but the 40-year-old, 1,800-unit Buckingham garden apartment complex in North Arlington - along with modern, high-rise apartment buildings on Buckingham land, the 520-unit Claremont garden apartments and 42 acres of undeveloped land near Fairlington - are on the market.
That's a heap of real property with a high occupancy level and it can be picked up for $50 million, or thereabouts, according to Gerald Freed, a son of the late Francis Freed, who died 14 months ago at 83. Her husband, New York industrialist Allie S. Freed, started the Buckingham development, which came to be known as a model FHA-financed garden rental community in the 1930s. Mrs. Freed finished it after his death and stayed with it over the years.
Buckingham, the high-rise Chatham and Hyde Park apartments and Claremont are owned by a public corporation, Paramount Communities, Inc. More than 90 per cent of the stock is owned by the family, according to Freed. He and his sister, Joan Freed Kahn, (whose husband, Franklin B. Kahn, heads the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust), are the only surviving children of Mrs. Freed, a native of England who lived here at the Shoreham.
Allie S. Freed, who died in 1938, was in the automobile business until the Depression. When he undertook the Buckingham project, it was the second major FHA-approved garden apartment project in this area. (Colonial Village in Arlington was the first.)
Located on a 125-acre site off Arlington Boulevard and Glebe Road, Buckingham has had a reputation over the years as a nice, close-in, landscaped area for moderate-income tenants. Rents in 1938 ranged from $32 for an efficiency to $75 for a three-bedroom duplex. By 1964 those bottom ranges had moved up to $74 to $162. Today the same units range from a base of $125 for an efficiency to $283 for three bedrooms. Heat and water are included in the rental but tenants pay their own gas and electricity bills. Window air conditioners are available or tenants may install their own.
At Hyde Park and the Chatham, both of which are modern high-rise apartments, rents range from a low of $210 for efficiencies to around $500 for bath units. Rents for the Claremont garden units are generally comparable to those at Buckingham.
Concerning the sale of the Paramount properties, Freed said that there were some other considerations in addition to settlement of his mother's estzte. In his own right he has been active in the development and building of both single homes and townhouses in Northern Virginia with the Lowstuter brothers. During his mother's lifetime, Freed did not take an active role at Buckingham.
A dozen years ago, the Chatham high-rise was started on Buckingham property on Arlington Boulevard; Hyde Park was built some years late on another location.
The total property package includes 59 stores in a small shopping center at Buckingham and an 18 store shopping area at Claremont.
Mrs. Freed had hoped to undertake other redevelopment of the sites. Now, as Buckingham general manager Paul Fromhartz screens inquiries about the properties for referral to the Chemical Bank of New York, there is speculation here about what a new owner might do. There's always the possibility of upgrading the existing garden units, conversion of some or all to condominium ownership, redevelopment of some garden apartment land to a high-rise and, of course, the development of the 42 acres of Claremont land near Leesburg Pike and Walter Reed Drive into new garden apartments.
Obviously, a buyer with the financial clout to handle the purchase would have his own ideas. Shortly
A dozen years ago, the late Mrs. Freed tol an interviewer that a number of well-known Washingtonians had lived in Buckingham before moving up the housing ladder. Among them was Milton L. Elsberg, now the head of Drug Fair and a resident of Shoreham West, which was converted to condominium ownership about five years ago.
The recent sale of the Trans-Lux tract in downtown for $1.2 million to investment counselor Harold Zirkin from builder-developer John McShain was handled by broker Donald C. Rosinski.
Associated Builders and Contractors, the 25-year-old organization that named former Rep. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) of Prince George's County as its new executive last week, has been seeking a strong voice on Capitol Hill to represent the openshop segment of the construction industry since the common site picketing bill was passed last year (and subsequently vetoed by President Ford). The organization has an office at Baltimore-Washington Airport and a small office here in the Madison office building. A spokesman indicated that a move to more spacious quarters in the Captiol Hill area is planned this year. Hogan, a former FBI man who had a public relations firm here in the 1960s, has been a partner with his wife in a law firm. He reportedly will make about $75,000 in his new post.
With no deliveries scheduled until late April, 20 contracts have been signed for the single-family houses that Southern Engineering is showing and building in its Twin Lakes subdivision of the Burke Centre new town in Fairfax County. Spokesman-builder Herman Greenberg said that more than 300 persons have seen the models that include a California ranch priced about $77,000. This model has a living room with a high cathedral ceiling and balcony galleria. Other models are larger and priced up to $85,000.
Houses and Home magazine, a trade journal for builders, recently reported that the Dallas-based Centennial HOmes has found a strong market among home buyers for energy-saving items. For instance, 95 per cent of 289 energy-saving house buyers also took optional features costing from $600 to $1,300. The options included a heat pump (to reduce electrical heating and air conditioning costs), double-glazed windows and insulated patio doors.
Appraiser Alfred Jarchow reported that a study of 277 sales of existing houses in Montogomery County in November showed an increase of 1 per cent over the almost level pattern of prices that had prevailed for five months. Jarchow calculated the price trend with ratios of resale houses to purchase prices previously paid, relating them to a common base - the price level of existing homes in July, 1971. The average increase over that 1971 level was more than 77 per cent. And the November index of relative home prices was 7.8 per cent higher than the level of November, 1975, but only 2 per cent over the level of May, 1976. Jarchow said the median price of the November sales was $64,500.
How does one get a job selling new townhouses? One way, according to the procedure of Ethel (Bubbles) Stone, is to buy a townhouse at Montpelier Oaks and become enthusiastic enough to bring friends to see the furnished models. As a result, she was offered a part-time job by developer Michael Rose. With the townhouse project in the Laurel area nearly sold out, the young mother and wife (of a Justice Department attorney) is working at nearby Montpelier Forest, where 182 single houses will be built.