When it comes to options for buying a home, the District has everything from quiet residential streets to high-density urban neighborhoods.
The most popular trend at the moment, however, is homes that offer the right mix of both. Real estate agents continue to share how high the demand is from their buyers who want to live closer to urban amenities, yet also want to retain a sense of living in a neighborhood. With all the development and growth happening in Washington, there are a few places that meet these criteria:
Where Georgetown meets Foggy Bottom
The expanse of space where Georgetown ends and Foggy Bottom begins now takes on more of its own identity. The arrival of the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods along with more upscale restaurants and apartment/condominium buildings has shifted the tone of those city blocks. No longer is the area just for college students or patients visiting nearby George Washington University Hospital. It now has a more permanent, livable feel. Gradually that shift has expanded to attract more buyers who are looking for a place to live near abundant retail and restaurant options while still staying in a residential setting.
The presence of George Washington University Hospital can be considered its own neighborhood amenity since it and all the nearby physician offices are a major draw for those who are looking to purchase a home that makes it easier for people to age in place. By not having to worry about finding transportation to and from doctor appointments, they gain tremendous peace of mind when they purchase their home. A consideration previously relegated for later years now offers the plethora of vibrant neighborhood options that make this part of the District especially appealing for their immediate needs.
Farther north and slightly to the west is the 14th Street corridor near Logan Circle. This area has been a mainstay as an amenity-filled neighborhood for many years. Recently, the momentum from all the action centered around P and O streets has pushed northward and bridged the gap between Logan Circle and U Street to create a much more cohesive community. High-profile restaurants and entertainment options that appeal to more than just the club-going crowd have brought new life to the neighborhood. Coupled with the resurgence of Shaw, especially with the reopening of the Howard Theatre, there is renewed interest in this patch of the District.
Southwest Waterfront and Navy Yard
If you are looking to buy in a neighborhood that already has some amenities in place but will soon have many more to choose from, then look to the south. Southwest Waterfront and Navy Yard are undergoing such a rapid transformation that they will barely be recognizable five years from now. For Navy Yard, the latest development plan calls for more than 9,000 new residences, 1,200 hotel rooms, hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, four parks and an Anacostia Riverwalk trail system.
The Southwest Waterfront development plan will bring approximately 1,300 residential units to the area (some of which will be part of an expanded houseboat community associated with Gangplank Marina), more than 600 hotel rooms, almost a million square feet of office space, and many more square feet of retail, restaurant and waterfront entertainment spaces.
These two locales differ from Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and 14th Street both for their sheer size and for the amount of planning that went into each project before any transformation began. Unlike the other neighborhoods that resulted from the gradual addition of new amenities to replace outdated ones, both Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront are creating entirely new spaces that will be available at approximately the same time. And while this does result in a different feel to each location, it also brings with it a sense of massive rebirth that appeals to many buyers.
The ongoing transformation of Washington has taken every route imaginable — from individual rowhouse reconstructions that gradually overhaul entire city blocks to massive urban revitalization plans that create thousands of new homes. As a result, we now have dozens more livable neighborhoods that captured the right balance between urban and residential settings. The really good news? There are plenty of buyers looking for these types of neighborhoods.
David Charron, chief strategy officer of Rockville-based multiple-listing service Bright MLS (formerly MRIS), writes an occasional column about the Washington-area real estate market.