The Great Condo or Rental Debate Solved


There have been lots of discussions about the property being built above the Petworth metro. First they were going to be condos then we heard they were going to be rentals then there were rumors that they were going to be condos again. Well, the mystery is finally solved. I spotted this sign this weekend:


So rental it is…

31 Comment

  • The mystery to me was when that building was going to be open for business, and that sign answered that question for me as well. Spring it is! (We’ll see.)

  • saf

    OK, and do we think anyone’s going to learn from this? Face it, the condo market is dead, dead, dead, as dead as that run-over rat in the alley.

    Now, all those proposals that they’re trying to sell us with “Oh, it’s CONDOS, the residents will be OWNERS, they’ll care as much about the neighborhood as you do!” well, I think it’s time to call bullshit on that line of sales patter.

  • I called the number hoping to get some prices and they said “We will begin pre-leasing in spring.” That sounds a bit different from “Move-In Spring.” It was also just a voicemail box. boooo.

  • Vonstallin

    saf Says:
    February 2nd, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    My man !!!!
    Create Density my azz…

    well, I think ill see if my friend who lives at 13th and N can afford to move here….
    I would feel better if its Condos, and I will say its a good spot for it….but I think all these millions of condos they are building will eventualy become rentals and with that the possibility of hoolagans.

  • Spring can mean June 20th.

  • I wonder how many condos will hit the market at roughly the same time over the next few months? 5,000? More?

  • Vonstallin

    Hey, how much would you guess these places rent for?
    Studio to say 2 BD room?

    My friend have a Studio on 13th and N and she pays $1,600 plus a shockingly low $60 a month for a car spot.

    The place is a Jumbo Closet.

  • Pennywise, you mean rentals? At least in Columbia Heights / Petworth, all the major new construction other than Kenyon, which is already 3/4 sold, have now been converted to apartments it seems … so the new condos will slow to a trickle. I think that D.C., unlike places like Miami or Vegas, did not build based on speculation — people are hurting now and want to wait out the market, but there is not some artificially large amount of housing being built — rather, much of D.C. was underbuilt for years due to the lack of infrastructure and safety. Between all the new Obama folks coming to the area, the perception of being a “hot” city, gov’t being a lot more stable than other job sectors, the lack of speculators in the D.C. market relative to other markets, the low interest rates, and the stalling / delaying of many big projects or conversion to apartments, don’t think tons of condos will be sitting on the market for months upon months in the heart of D.C. …. I’d still rather invest here than almost anywhere else at this point, even if it is going to take at least a few years before prices start to climb.

  • Rental price, I’d say whatever Highland Park is renting for minus about 20 percent …

  • I’ve been seeing this development advertising a lot on Craigslist (I’m looking to move to Petworth soon so have been reading the rental listings pretty religiously):

    They’re a block further from the metro, and not brand-new, so I’d guess that a 1BR in Park Place will be in the $1200-$1300 range, a little less if utilities are excluded and about $100 extra for a parking space. Does anyone know if they’re allowing pets?

  • I’m kinda okay with this because I live in condos right near there and boy, ours would have really paled in comparison to something super-snazzy and new. On the other hand, more ownership in the area is nice. But the market is the market.

  • i don’t think rentals are bad if they’re market rate. the problems occur when well-meaning liberals build big boxes of subsidized housing and create concentrated pockets of poverty.

  • While I am slightly dissapointed that these are rentals instead of Condos, Im still very happy that the building is coming to the neighborhood. In 10 years people will be saying, this is the building that started the boom in Petworth.

  • To Anon @ 5:43pm

    I looked at an apartment in that building actually. It was smaller, older, dirtier and no where near as nice looking as the unit they show in the photos. (No hardwood floors, no double doors, old carpet) The kitchen also showed signs of roaches.

    I don’t think it was an awful place though. For being such an old building, it looks fairly well maintained. They were repainting and cleaning the apartment they showed us. So if you’re not picky, and looking for a place in a good price range, it may be just what you want.

    And they do allow pets 🙂

  • I don’t think you can escape roaches in Petworth. maybe if you live in one of the few single family homes up north.

  • I lived in a roachy craphole in Roanoke one summer during an internship. LIke, waking up and a roach was on the bedspread near my face crappy. Boric acid powder did the trick, but it takes some time. The secret is to place a very light, almost invisible “puff” of the powder in all cracks and crevices, and to not kill the roaches when you see them — let them take it back to wherever they come from. Roaches groom each other and themselves and letting them live will spread the poison around. This is the hard part, to just let them go and not smash them.

    Don’t put down thick “coke lines” of boric acid powder, they’ll avoid them.

    And of course, NEVER leave food out, wash and dry the sink every day, take out stacks of newspaper and magazines, don’t leave dirty dishes anywhere, etc.

  • Vonstallin

    Christina Says:
    February 2nd, 2009 at 11:37 pm
    spot on…had to do the same thing when i first moved in durring the Roach Wars of 94.
    I endured a second Roach Rebellion and Raid uprising in 98. The insurgents started flanking my kitchen via crevests under my fridge and exposed pipes between the walls.

    I napalmed them muthasukaz with Roach Proof and kept a side arm of Raid for mercy killings.
    Some days I would get so mad when I see a Roach impregnated with kids. I would make sure she stayed alive and douse her with Raid and watch her slow roll away, then put a match to the can as I sprayed liquid Raid…. Blow Torching her azz.

    Ive been Roach free for 11 years now.
    Stand strong and never ever give up your grounds against the roaches. They may be millions against your 1 but Got Dammit You will Win !


    [/thread jack]

  • I’ll say ~1500 for a 1BR. With DC’s rental laws, landlords are forced to start high and stay high. Once a tenant gets in, you have a hard time raising the rent. Another policy the liberals put in place that ends up having perverse consequences.

  • A friend lives in one of the Donatelli buildings at the Columbia Heights metro – it’s in the $1900/month range for a 1BR with parking. My guess is these 1BRs are in the $1500-1700 range. Rent is ridiculous around here….and by that I mean DC. This building is big enough, too, that just by opening makes the neighborhood nicer, helping to justify high rents. I think that’s what happened when the Ellington opened on U Street…just kicked the whole neighborhood up a couple notches.

  • Back when it was said to be a condo place these were some of the features listed:

    Features include:

    *Open floor plans by award-winning architects, Torti Gallas & Partners
    *Walk-in closets
    *Penthouse units with private roof terrace
    *Hardwood floor in living room, dining rooms, kitchen, and foyer
    *Berber carpet in bedrooms and dens
    *Cable, telephone, and internet outlets in every room
    *Full and French balconies and terraces with expansive views of the city
    *17,000 square feet of 1st floor retail space with outdoor café seating
    *Landscaped grounds; Patio with landscaped garden
    *Rooftop with garden terraces, outdoor grille and sundeck with panoramic city views
    *High-tech party room with plasma TV, outdoor garden, and full kitchen
    *Fully-equipped business center with high-speed Internet
    *Controlled access to building and underground parking
    *Short walk to Columbia Heights and the new DC USA, the city’s largest retail destination
    *24-hour attended front desk
    *Dedicated TV channel for front door security camera
    *Small pets welcome

    I can’t imagine any of these features have changed very much. Though I don’t remember seeing any signs of underground parking…

  • I actually miss the Roach War sometimes…. The sensibility of it all, the excitement, and camaraderie…. You knew you meant something…. (smokes cigarette and stares off into the distance)

  • Maybe it’s impractical, but with such a large building, couldn’t they have made it half-rental and half-condo? Spose not.

  • The 3800 building looks nice! What a good deal, too! Do any readers live there? Is it safe? Is there a shared laundry room? Does someone stalk you when you’re going to the laundry room?

  • I find it both funny and sad that as soon as some people hear the word “rental” all they can envision is a Section 8 property. I have no doubt that the rents in this building will be comparable to the rents in the new buildings around the U Street and Columbia Heights metros – i.e., at the working professional level. The developers need to get their money back and that won’t happen if these are priced at the “affordable” housing level. That’s not a value judgment, it’s just an economic reality.

  • do any of these rentals tend to become condos eventually, or do they tend to stick as rentals? I imagine the latter, because after five years or so people aren’t going to be as keen on buying places beat up by renters as opposed to owners, but just curious …

  • Uhh… have you been outside that building GSG? Columbia Heights and U Street have a ton of retail and bars. What do you have outside Petworth? A ratty gas station and disgusting Chinese takeout? There’s nothing there, and I would be surprised if there’s enough suckers out there to pay ‘comparable rents’.

  • I lived in one of the new columbia heights buildings back when there was really nothing else there yet. Everyone kept talking about the potential of the neighobrhood but I kept on thinking I was paying a premium rent for some future development. I much rather would have owned something so that if this promised improvements happened, I’d stand to benefit. I think it’s a tough sell to make people pay premium rents on the promise of the neighobhrood improving eventually…

  • dc_publius, nice posting. If you had ever been to Petworth, you’d know that the new building is about a 5 minute walk to 11th St in Columbia Heights (Red Rocks, Wonderland, new pub by Asylum owners, new wine bar, Columbia Heights Coffee), and maybe a 10 minute walk to the Columbia Heights metro.

    You could have made the same snarky comments about Columbia Heights when the Donatelli buildings were under construction there – – but Petworth has way more now than CH did before the development. Almost ALL of the new restaurants are in their buildings. Park Place will follow the same path as other Donatelli buildings and will have restaurants and other businesses on the first level – so far 2 restaurants, Mocha Hut and Gillian Clark’s new restaurant. This building will also be less than 3 blocks from a brand new Yes Organic Market, a new coffee shop opening on Georgia b/w Randolph & Shepherd, Domku at 8th & Upshur, and Sweet Mango Cafe right across the street. One block from Looking Glass Lounge. And oh yeah, Donatelli will be building 2 other buildings by the Petworth metro.

    But I guess you’re one of those people who 2 weeks before the Target opened were saying CH sucks and there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do.

  • To what PetworthRes said I would add that: the building is on top of a metro station and along two or three bus lines providing direct access downtown; it is a 10 minute walk to the renovated Giant in Columbia Heights; and it is one block from a Safeway that is scheduled to be completely renovated. When the first condos/high-end rentals were constructed on 14 and Park, and on U Street, there was less in the surrounding neighborhoods than there is right now in the neighborhood of the Petworth development. And single family home prices in the area of the Petworth metro are much cheaper right now than single family home prices were in the area of 14th and Park or U Street when the first condos/high-end rentals were contructed in those areas.

    But again, my comment about what the rents will be is based upon the economics of construction.

  • Has anyone heard back from leaving a voicemail at the listed number?

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