Good Deal or Not? New Condo Building Edition


These condos are located at 3534 10th Street, NW:

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“Brand new complete renovation of charming older building
Located on a quiet suburban street
Highly efficient unit layouts
Off-street parking available
Many state-of-the art GREEN Building features (link to Green Features tab)
Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances in kitchen
Oak hardwood floors in living area
Built-in custom closet organizers
Pet-friendly building
Storage spaces available”

More info and a virtual tour from their Web site.

There are 23 units in the building and prices range from mid $100s for an efficiency and low to mid $200s for a 1 bedroom. Full pricing info can be downloaded here.

I like the location of this spot and the model unit that I checked out seemed pretty nice. So what do you think – good deal or not?

22 Comment

  • Personally, I thought these were a great deal. The spaces are not huge (and this is where my wife finds extreme disagreement, as she thinks the spaces were too small for an adult human to inhabit…oh, we used to happily reside in 600 sq. ft….together, but that is irrelevant). I love that the building was redone (I live up the street, so perhaps selfishly)….but overly I think a unit here would make a great start for someone or a great continuation if one’s living needs were not extravagant and maximizing space could be ‘sacrificed’ for minimizing finances. I thought the units were generally well done (a couple of choices I might have made differently, but no one asked…ha), but generally I really thought the workmanship looked good and the spaces very live-able!

  • Looks nicely done and very well-priced. Nice to see windows in the kitchens and bathrooms! I think every living space should have a view of the front or nice gardens, and not just of brick walls… seems to be a problem with putting all of those units into that skin.

  • I have to agree with BS’ wife; too small. I’d rather pay the same price for an older unit that is 300-500 square feet larger, as I did with my place.

  • It’s unfortunate that they don’t list square footage numbers. I really had to dig deep to find them. Many of the 1BRs are only 400 SQ/FT, which, even at the cheapest unit price ($245k) means that the 1BR unit space costs over $600 per square foot.

    To me, $600 /sq ft seems outrageously high for Petworth, especially since the there are no W/D in the units, and no parking. Also given that Petworth is still a ‘developping’ area.

    For $600/sq foot you could live in Dupont, Capitol Hill, or one of the other ‘nice’ parts of the city. Or, for that matter, Bethesda or Arlington. Am I missing some details about these units that might explain why they are so pricey?

  • I agree- if these are that small, not a good deal!

  • Anon5, that’s interesting about the sq footage… that explains the low prices and makes me think they aren’t quite a good deal.

    However, not to nitpick, but even though on this block PW is your closest Metro, it’s still very much Columbia Heights (south of Spring, west of Georgia). And you are very close to Red Rocks and CH Coffee, so I think it’s a good location, but I agree with you that it’s not good enough for $600/sq ft.

  • The building mentioned is still firmly within Columbia Heights.

  • FYI, If you go to the developper’s website and click on POS you can view the building floorplan with dimensions. Many of the 1BR units are 12’8″ by 32″, minus @5 sq/ft for the entry. That’s about 410 sq/ft for a 1BR. 410 feet is smallish for an efficiency and absolutely tiny for a 1BR.

  • OK, the building is in Columbia Heights. It’s also one block from 16th St. Heights and two blocks from Petworth.

    I’m not sure thay anyone will really care what neighborhood this is called. I don’t think it will effect your property resale values either way.

  • I made this point earlier about a GDON? studio but I wonder given that these are so tiny why they are condos and not rentals in the first place? It strikes me that the target demographic for this type of housing would be 20somethings early in their careers, and as a member of this set I can say that we don’t often have the resources to buy, nor would it even make sense to since there’s a good chance I’d want to move within 5 years or so which wouldn’t give me any time to build equity. If I were in my 30s, had more money, and were looking for a long-term place to live I’d want more space.

  • I don’t think these are terrible deals. New construction starting at $165,000, in NW DC is good. Sure some people would rather have an older unit with more SF. Not everyone. There is no one piece of property that can suit every demographic.

    I think the green amenities are well thought out as well. They mention zipcar membership with purchase. I wonder if they will add a zipcar parking spot there? We could really use some more in CH.

  • Not Telling:

    The $165k price is for a 270 square-foot efficiency on the ground floor. That works out to $611 per square foot.

    The same size efficiency on the upper floors costs $175k – $185k, or more than $650/square foot.

    If you go to the Alexander webpage and click on Documents>Alexander POS, go to page 46 for floor plan and dimensions.

    I think that anyone would be crazy to: 1) pay >$600 per square foot for a ground floor unit in a ‘transitional’ area; or 2)live in a 270 square-foot closet. I’ve seen what 387 square feet looks like, and it isn’t pretty. I dont even want to imagine what 270 square feet looks like. A queen-size bed would take up roughly 1/8 of all of the space in a 270 sq/ft apartment. Once you add a kitchen and bathroom I’d be surprised if you have room to turn around.

  • I thought good deal at first- about $250k for a 1 bedroom is great. but if they are really 400 square feet…not a good deal.

  • I think price-per-square-foot is not always the most important metric — it depends on your situation. I personally value a sensical layout over sheer square footage, since I really don’t need that much space. And not all square feet are the same — a condo could have a great price per square foot, but those extra square feet may be in unimportant places. It also may well be the case that if you want to buy a condo in a decent neighborhood in DC for under $200K, your only option is to spend a lot per square foot (I have absolutely no idea if this is the case, I’m just playing devil’s advocate).

  • I generally agree with the points above about the places being small, but I think the emphasis on price per square foot may be a bit misplaced as a metric in this case. I mean, you still have many of the same costs you have with a larger place — appliances, HVAC and plumbing systems, cabinets, countertops — but those are going to be allocated over a smaller footprint. A 1000 sq ft place at 600/sq ft would be far more troubling to me than these. It’s not like you’re going to get a 300 sq ft. place for 90k, which would be more in line with the better prices per square foot I’ve seen on fixer-upper houses.

    Still, they’re small and not in the most convenient location and don’t do much for me.

  • Anon @3:56:

    The costs of outfitting a tiny efficiency are not the same as outfitting a more sizeable unit. The kitchens in these units are bound to be much smaller than those found in more sizeable 1BRs. For example, whatever granite there is in the kitchen will likely be a very small piece, and the appliances in the units are probably not full-sized. Whatever kitchen cabinetry there is will be of minimal quantity.

    Price per square foot aside, I have real hangups about the size of these units. I can understand living in 410 square feet for a very short period of time, but I can’t envision myself living in such a small place for 3 or more years. I’ve lived in a 470-sq ft efficiency and with a unit that small there aren’t too many ways to configure such a space without giving up your living room or bedroom closet.

    For me, 270 square feet is literally unthinkable. I mean what is this, Tokyo? But who knows… if you can sleep standing up, or if don’t need any closet space, maybe you could make it work.

  • Anon5, just to be clear, there’s no way in hell I could make it work. I have entirely too much crap and value room to move. My best guess is that these will appeal only to certifiably good people who have transcended the American consumerist ethos or recent graduates of NYC student housing who somehow have gotten used to putting on the morning pot of coffee without ever getting out of bed. But allowing that the costs of outfitting an efficiency are less on an absolute scale, a tiny fridge and a two-burner stove still require an initial outlay, and I’d be willing to bet have a much higher price per cubic foot than, say, the refrigerator in your average suburban McMansion. At least to my mind, there’s a sense that you don’t achieve the economies of scale in an efficiency that you do in a 2BR, thus leaving you with a higher price/sq. ft.

  • It’s true 400 sq ft is small, but it can work, and for some people just being able to live solo in a renovated place would be great. I lived in a 490 sq ft co-op unit for 4 years, and probably would still be there except that I also had 2 cats and that was making me a little crazy. We had many studios in our building that had people who stayed for a decade or more, and they couldn’t have been more than 300 sq ft. Anyway, last I saw one of those 490 sq ft co-ops in my building sold for $310,000 – $630/sq ft. And since they are co-op units they are selling for $50K or so less than a similar condo. So no, you can’t live in Dupont for those prices, anyway!

    I think the location is great, within 2-3 blocks of Red Rocks, Wonderland, CH Coffee and other new spots and close to the metro.

  • Anon @ 4:55PM: Sorry, I meant to say that ‘maybe one could make it work.’ I wasn’t referring to anyone in particulars.

    I’m not sure what your ‘average suburban McMansion’ would look like. The vast majority of average suburban homes are not McMansions.

  • SM:

    Here is a 652-sqft efficiency in Dupont Circle for $312k ($479/sq ft).

    Here is 504-sq ft. Junior 1BR in Dupont Circle for $299k ($593/sq ft).

    Both buildings are older, but the condo fees are comparable to the new building in CH.

    There are many other condos in downtown in the $400-$500/sq ft price range, including some buildings constructed since 2006.

  • This is a real shame. There were once plans to do a quality renovation here, but apparently the waning economy won out, and instead of a full renovation, it looks like it got a half-assed make-over. And what’s up with those awnings?

    Also, apparently someone was killed in the lobby some years back…maybe the haunted angle will attract buyers?

  • It seems quite obvious that a few of the people here have not been to the units. To those quoting $ per sq/ft, who pays list price in this market? I’m bet they will negotiate the price down to a better price. Besides, it’s all in the layout and most of these units have a very nice floor plan.

    There are some features in this unit that you will be paying a little more for in order to save more later. For instance, you only pay electricity and gas (cooking only). Water, Hot Water and Trash are all in included in the condo fee. The programmable heating/A/C units are made even more efficient by the double paned efficient windows they installed. The washer and dryers are not in the unit, but the on site facilities are free of charge.

    As for the studios, by sq/ft they are rather small, but they are set up pretty nice. The kitchen and bathrooms are close to the same size as all the other units. The fridge and stove are the same size as the other units. They have about the same amount of granet. Each room is a little smaller then their counterparts in the other units. So the studio’s are somewhat comparable to the other units minus the bedroom and the bedroom is probably the cheapest room as far as building materials.

    Some would consider the location to be Petworth, but I would still call it Columbia Heights. It has a Columbia Heights zip code.

    I’m in the market for a house and I’m continuing to look, but the Alexander is still on my short list for consideration. I think it’s decently priced considering the comparable units for sale in the area. Plus the $3000 closing help and 6 months paid condo fees are just another added bonus.

Comments are closed.