An outdoor pool, a lounge with a gas fireplace and a dog-washing station are among the amenities offered to prospective buyers at the Haven, a 248-unit condominium building going up at National Harbor.
But one perk for residents who drive to work is the community's own exit off the highway. National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., home to the recently opened MGM National Harbor, is off Exit 2A on Interstate 495 and Exit 1B on Maryland Route 295, less than 10 miles from downtown Washington. "No other development, up or down the East Coast, has its own exit," said Jon Peterson, principal of Peterson Cos. and developer of National Harbor and the Haven.
National Harbor is a 550-acre development that has been in the making for 10 years. "At the beginning," Peterson said, "our mind-set was, we hope, we think this will work. We're putting all the right pieces in place, but how will the world receive us?"
That original vision was a success. "People are coming by the thousands for fun, entertainment, [the] beauty of the site, and to live," he said.
Recreation to residential: Initially, National Harbor was intended as a commercial enterprise. "Then we added residential, and people realized, 'Oh, people live there, too!' " Peterson said. "The residential buildings totally transformed perceptions from a recreation destination to a real live community."
The Haven was initially designed as an apartment project, but then Peterson studied demographic and sales data. He determined people were interested in living there permanently — that apartments were over-built and condominiums under-built. So he stepped in.
There are 20 junior one-bedroom condos, 117 one-bedrooms, 85 two-bedrooms, three two-bedrooms plus den, and 23 three-bedrooms. Several street-facing condominiums have their own entry door and look like townhouses. A few will have a terrace big enough for outdoor furniture, and a few will have a small balcony. A one-bedroom furnished model is available for viewing at the nearby sales office. Delivery is scheduled to start mid-summer.
Interiors will be bright, with natural light coming through big windows, and contemporary in design. Multiple floor plans will be offered. A two-floor above-ground parking podium will provide condos with one space and some of the larger ones with two spaces.
What's nearby: National Harbor is a full-fledged neighborhood with more than 2,000 residents and 13,000 employees. "We are our own community, a micro-city and the crown jewel of Prince George's County. We've built a place with everything one needs — dry cleaner, bank, drugstore and coffee shops. It sounds like a cliche, but you can really live, work and play there," Peterson said.
There are more than 160 stores and 40 dining establishments. Potomac Gourmet Market, downtown and Aldi's in Oxon Hill sell groceries. Tanger Outlets houses retail fashion.
Holiday events are scheduled hourly from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 23.
Artwork: The Capital Wheel — a huge white Ferris wheel — is the standout landmark on the water's edge. A carousel, steps away, is also popular.
Public art is a whimsical backdrop to street life. Milt Peterson, Peterson's father, promoted an ambitious public art program by curating art from several artists.
J. Seward Johnson and Ivan Schwartz made painted bronze sculptures of famous people, including Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Marilyn Monroe. Albert Paley designed two monumental steel structures, one abstract and the other a pair of eagles. Prince George's artists also contributed: Steven Weitzman designed a large terrazzo tile mural; Norman Greene made a cast stone sculpture of five individuals; and Cheryl Foster designed two pairs of panels, one of stained-glass mosaic and another of copper, brass, aluminum and stained glass.
"Art isn't cheap but it's everlasting and brings joy to all," Jon Peterson said. "You know it's been received well when you see Lincoln's hand is discolored because so many people have touched it."
Schools: Fort Foote Elementary, Oxon Hill Middle, Oxon Hill High.
Transit: The Haven locale is walkable on wide sidewalks, and there's room for bikes and cars to ride side-by-side. A bike-sharing service will begin in the spring.
The Beltway/Interstate 495 entrance is barely a minute's drive. It takes 12 minutes to get downtown, 15 minutes to Ronald Reagan National Airport, and roughly 20 minutes to practically any other location in the region, Peterson said.
Water taxi service operates between National Harbor, Gaylord National Convention Center and Old Town Alexandria and the Mall. Starting in the spring, a service will operate between National Harbor and the Wharf. The cost is $8 to $20.
165 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md. (sales office and furnished model)
There will be 248 condominiums ranging from $250,000 to $650,000.
Builder: Peterson Cos.
Features: Hardwood-inspired resilient flooring runs through each unit. Frigidaire appliances are installed in the kitchen, along with two-tone cabinets featuring gray oak on the lower cabinets and high-gloss white on the upper ones. Quartz counters with polished chrome hardware are in the kitchen and bathrooms. Amenities include private cabanas in the pool area, a billiards table in the lounge, a cyber lounge for quiet work, an outdoor kitchen with a seating area and fire pits, a yoga studio and a fitness center.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 1 to 3
Square footage: 555 to 1,550
Condominium association fees: $279 to $699 per month.
View model: From noon to 5 p.m. daily.
Contact: Chris Masters at 703-299-4226 or havennationalharbor.com .