First-time home buyer Seth Moucka knows something about staying flexible and being open to different possibilities in the tight Washington housing market. Moucka, a buyer at the Eleven 15th condominiums at 11 15th St. NE, searched for about nine months for a condo.
"I lived in Lyon Village in Arlington for seven years and thought I wanted to buy there, but then I realized I was spending all my time in D.C. in Shaw and Bloomingdale and 14th Street," says Moucka, an Iowa native who came to the area 12 years ago to work for the Education Advisory Board, which recently became EAB. "I decided I had a better chance of a return on my investment in D.C., too."
Moucka, who preferred new construction, started looking at the Wharf but found that everything in his price range sold out quickly. Near the Navy Yard, he found high condo fees and a long wait for new construction. Next, Moucka decided he liked 16th Street Heights for its residential character, but he decided the commute to Reagan National Airport would be too long; he travels frequently for his work. Finally, he looked at a resale condo on Capitol Hill near Lincoln Park and realized the neighborhood felt like home.
"I like it that you can walk to H Street but not actually live right on top of H Street," Moucka says. "Maybe it's because I'm from Iowa, but I like being in an area with a lot of big trees and families walking around. But I still want to be close to the bars and restaurants I like."
Once he focused on Capitol Hill, he saw signs for the new Eleven 15th condo development and was among the early buyers. Not only does he like the neighborhood, but he was able to buy one of the few units with a balcony.
Two doors: Although a large percentage of the people in the 10-unit building so far are first-time buyers, units are also being purchased by downsizing buyers and investors, says Megan Schlabaugh, operations director of Lock 7 Development, the builder of Eleven 15th.
"One of the principals of Lock 7 lives in Capitol Hill and is always looking for new projects in the neighborhood," Schlabaugh says. "When this property became available, we jumped on the opportunity, because we know how rare it is to build new-construction condos in Capitol Hill."
Eleven 15th, which has a contemporary design, has 10 one- and two-bedroom units, each with one bathroom.
The smaller units allow for relatively affordable pricing in the $300,000s and $400,000s.
One unusual feature of the condos at Eleven 15th is that each unit has two doors. Instead of installing a fire escape on the back of the building, the developer opted to have a front and back door for each condo that provide access to either the front or back of the building via a hallway and stairs. The building doesn't have an elevator.
The one-bedroom condos, which have 600 square feet, feel more spacious than the two-bedroom units, which each have 750 square feet.
Unit Two, a one-bedroom, one-bath residence priced at $329,900, has an open floor plan with a kitchen island that can serve as a dining area, and a living area with floor-to-ceiling windows and a coat closet. At the back of the unit are a closet with a washer and dryer, a bedroom with a floor-to-ceiling window, and a bathroom with a combination tub and shower.
Unit Five, a two-bedroom, one-bath residence priced at $459,900, has an open floor plan with a box bay window at the front of a living area with four floor-to-ceiling windows. This space also includes the open kitchen and dining area. A laundry closet and a full bathroom are between the kitchen and bedrooms. At the back of the unit are two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a Juliet balcony and a double-door closet. The guest bedroom has a walk-in closet.
All closets in the building include a customizable Elfa closet system to maximize efficiency.
Unit Seven, a two-bedroom residence with the same floor plan as Unit Five, is priced at $469,900. This unit features Capitol Hill views from its windows.
Unit 10, a one-bedroom residence with the same layout as Unit Two, is priced at $389,900. This upper-level condo includes a private balcony off the living area.
Unit One, a two-bedroom residence with the same layout as Units Five and Seven, is priced at $429,900 because of its lower level location.
The condo fees, which are $205 for one-bedroom units and $303 for two-bedroom units, are relatively low. Building amenities include bike storage, a secure entry system and a small courtyard for outdoor space. In addition, there will be a transportation monitor system in the lobby that will display the latest Metro and bus arrival times at nearby stops.
What's nearby: "The building is situated in an ideal location only two blocks from Lincoln Park, five blocks from the Stadium Armory Metro and walking distance to all the stores in Eastern Market," Schlabaugh says.
Residents can walk to numerous locations on Capitol Hill, including restaurants and shops at Eastern Market and on Barracks Row. At Eastern Market, fresh local produce, meat and more are available, along with community events, arts and crafts and a flea market. Bookstores, restaurants and coffee shops surround the market.
Barracks Row, which is home to more than 30 local and national restaurants, includes Pineapple and Pearls, Rose's Luxury and the new ChiKo, a Chinese-Korean fusion restaurant. Residents can also walk to grocery stores and other specialty stores. The H Street corridor is nearby for more restaurants, nightlife and entertainment. Lincoln Park, a favorite for families and dog lovers, is also nearby.
Schools: Maury Elementary, Eliot-Hine Middle, Eastern High.
Transit: Three Metro stations are one mile or less from Eleven 15th, including Stadium-Armory, Potomac Avenue and Eastern Market, all providing Blue, Orange and Silver Line service. The area is also served by numerous bus routes. No off-street parking is provided for condo residents, in part because of good access to transit. In addition, no alley access is available for parking behind the building.
11 15th St. NE, Washington
The condos are priced from $329,900 to $469,900.
Builder: Lock 7 Development
Features: Each unit has hardwood flooring, customizable Elfa closet systems, a full-size washer and dryer, a programmable Nest thermostat, pre-wiring for a security system, recessed lighting and large windows. The open kitchens have quartz counters, subway tile backsplashes, stainless-steel appliances, under-cabinet lighting and gas cooking. The bathrooms have patterned tile flooring, subway tile walls and quartz counters. Some units have a balcony.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 or 2 / 1
Square footage: Approximately 600 to 750.
Condominium association fees: $205 or $303 per month.
View models: Open by appointment.
Contact: Kate Hanley with Urban Pace at 202-774-6022 or visit eleven15th.com.