Good Deal or Not? Brightwood Condo Edition (Reader Request)

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This condo is located at 5885 Colorado Ave, NW:

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The flier says:

“Visually stunning two-level, 2br/1.5ba NY-style loft is a show-stopper. Like a page out of Architectural Digest, it features two walls of windows, soaring 20ft ceilings, bamboo fls, granite counters, ss appliances, W/ D in the unit A rare urban showplace on two magnificent levels. Hip new Restaurant/Lounge on main level. Convenient to major commuting arteries, shopping, & night-life. Pets Welcome!”

More info and photos found here.

Well, I think there is no question that this is a good looking condo. The question is how far north are you willing to live? Do you like the style of this condo? I gotta say I’ve never seen a condo for this price look this good. Do you think $319,000 sounds reasonable?

42 Comment

  • holy crow that’s in brightwood?!?!? amazing.

  • I checked out these places when I was looking for a place about a year and half ago. (I did buy a great condo in Petworth — 8th and Upshur.) I thought the construction was mediocre and the rooms not that large. I was deceived by the “2 bedrooms” — which is actually “1 bedroom” and “1 loft space that can be converted to a bedroom.” Street parking in the area is terrible, and way too many people hang out on the corner of Missouri and Georgia — across the street from the buiding. At that time, to buy a parking spot in the garage of the building, the cost was an additional 30K. Also, the hallways in the building could have used a new paint job — each floor was painted an awfully bright color.

  • It’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but otherwise it sounds like a pretty good deal. This unit appears to come with parking.

  • My first reaction was that it was really nice, but after taking a harder look at the pictures, I think the layout of this place is really bad. All the rooms, especially the bedrooms, look very tiny. The downstairs main room has a hard shape to layout in a nice, livable fashion. There’s no definition between the kitchen area and the rest of the room, the kitchen itself is sorely lacking in counter space, and there’s no real good place to put a couch/tv combo. Seems like too much money for a poorly though out space.

  • Wow, someone is reading my mind — I looked at the pictures and thought “but where do you put the TV?” and was thinking that maybe I’m being hopelessly pedestrian and that maybe hipsters don’t watch TV, they do all their people watching in bars and nightclubs.

  • I agree with Anon. I too looked at these units & found them to be small & unimpressive. They aren’t Metro accessible & parking is a headache. There are talks of development in the vacant lot of Curtis Chevrolet (near the building). When I looked at the units about two years ago, they were going for 375K.

  • What IS in that area? It seems like there is no access to public transportation (14th street buses, I guess) or commerce. So why live in the city if you don’t want to be near the conveniences?

    That said, $319k is an honest price for almost anything in the city, and this is probably someone’s idea of gorgeous. Personally, I dislike the fishbowl effect, as well as fact that all the living space is combined in a single room. I want to be able to leave the kitchen dirty and not have to look at it while having after-dinner drinks.

    Good deal for someone. Not for me. Good luck to the sellers finding that someone.

  • POP I’m so excited to finally see inside this building. I drive past this place everyday on my way to work and I wonder how they look inside. I live in Brightwood and its actually a really nice community, however, I live in the detached single family home area, which is much quieter than this block will be. And, don’t hate on people who live north of Petworth, please…

    Pros: Its gorgeous inside and considering the price, its a good deal even with a weird layout. This is also across the street from the Georgia ave redevelopment that will probably take as long as the target to get built, but its going to be a thriving area in a few years, I just know it! Another pro- the Brightwood Bistro on the first floor. Its awesome food (but terribly slow service). Another pro is its right across the street from Little Rascals doggy daycare.

    Cons: Its on the corner of Missouri and Georgia, which means lots of traffic. If the windows aren’t good its traffic noises nonstop, I’m sure.

  • Yeah, those windows are quite nice. I guess it’s an ok deal for someone willing to live that far up there and not be near a metro. There’s another one in the same building with a tad more square footage, but without the half bath and without the huge windows. It’s going for $350K, so that makes this one look a little better. I guess the TV doesn’t bother me, as the only one we have is in a bedroom. Condo fees are only $286, which isn’t too bad.

  • Yeah, that’s a really good point about the layout. I guess if I were living here I would use one of the BRs as a den and put the TV there, and the downstairs would just be for cooking and eating. But then of course you couldn’t use it as a 2BR so it wouldn’t work for someone who wanted to have a roommate or a baby or whatever living with them.

    But as to GDoN, it looks like it’s a lot higher $/sq ft than the other condos in the area… I don’t know Brightwood at all, but I think the appeal of moving up there would be to have a house and a yard so I don’t think it’s worth it at this price.

  • I’d like to see a Metro stop as part of the Curtis Chevrolet development, altough I recognize the Red Line skews a bit east of this location. Metro would be a great asset for Brightwood.

  • I know the photos distort things, but that refrigerator looks bigger than my first apartment!

  • I live up that way and generally like it a lot, besides the idjits wandering Georgia Ave of course. For transit, forget the trains, take the 79 express bus up/down GA Ave. The best thing ever, fast and every 10 minutes. Beats the trains like you wouldn’t believe… (or it takes you to Petworth or Silver Spring metro quickly if you prefer).

  • The kitchen is awful, where is the counter space?

  • a light rail out georgia ave would be the rockin thing.
    whats happening with the old curtis place?
    that a huge property. its really close to rock creek, so thats nice. short hop to bethesda, silver spring, takoma.if you worked up in that area, sure would makes getting there easy. still, a condo in a rowhouse kinda neighborhood seems distancing. theres a condo on my street and those peeps never say hi, its notable and weird. know what i mean?

    anyway, is there the kind of concerted effort for development in that area as there was in columbia heights? that took a long time of a lot of hard work. just like that whole foods on p. loooong time of hardwork. are any other areas of the city in that kind of effort? maybe h ne, right?

  • I think the lower level could be better utilized than the staging suggests. A freestanding butcherblock top island could help define the kitchen area and provide more counter space. The living room arrangement could be turned toward the stairs with a television against the stair wall. This is just a case of the sellers renting as little staging furniture as possible. I think the appeal of the location really depends on your lifestyle. I’m sure there are some buyers for whom public transit and proximity to shopping, restaurants or vibrant street life hold no appeal.

    But I think some of the other units for sale in the building offer a better deal–real bedrooms, for instance.

  • the property itself is nice. Yes the kitchen is small but aesthetically it works.

  • For Curtis Chevrolet lot info, various info is here:

    That site links to some of the correspondence between the ANC and the DC Office of Planning. The latest letter from April 3 probably gives the most up to date info on plans. There is also of course a squabble among the various ANCs and such over whether the area really wants an apartment building. Note the official DC plan for the site linked on that page has never worked for me, the copy of that plan on the site is here:

    Its a Foulger-Pratt development project but there is no info on their site. As far as I can tell, there is a lot of discussion and planning, but no date for breaking ground, or demolition, or anything of the sort. I note a new parking lot business has recently opened on the site. So, I’d guess its a plan with no financing at present and no actual commitment from Foulger-Pratt regarding when it will get started etc. I hope to be wrong of course. It doesn’t seem to be a priority for the city, for Bowser, or anyone else in power.

  • You can’t cook with “aesthetics.” But you’re right that it is pretty.

  • BW Says: ‘ they were going for 375K.’

    I remember when the condos first hit the market pre-completion You could not get an appointment to see the model. (If the sales office ever called you back. They claimed to have a 600 person wait list so they wanted deposit check in hand)

    It is cool that this condo is in the original building.

  • Odd kitchen configuration – not even an island separating it from the rest of the space?

    Cheap fixtures – especially the full bath.

  • I find the kitchen space awkward (and the fridge does look huge – though it could be because the useless stock, tiny above fridge cabinets may not be helping) and to call it a 2 bedroom is stretching if that loft space is supposed to be a second bedroom. Seems a bit pricey considering the market but I don’t know the area well enough to say yea or nay.

  • I thought I saw in Kevin’s real estate sales update that a 2 bedroom, 2 bath place not too far east of this at 1322 Missouri Ave. went for $169K. If I’m not misinterpreting what I read, I’d love to know what the story is with that one.

    I went to an open house in 1322 Missouri Avenue back in the day, and I thought some of the units looked nice but were oddly shaped. So, not to say that $319K is a bad price for this one, but there are places not too terribly far away selling for less.

  • I toured this complex during the boom. I think the developers overextended each unit. What could be a nice 1 bedroom became a mediocre 2 bedroom. And what could be a nice studio became a mediocre 1 bedroom.

    Just look at the pics. They use tiny furniture because nothing else will fit. In the living space, there’s not even a good place to put a plasma TV. Bedrooms will accommodate a Full size bed, if that.

    In terms of amenities, rooftop deck is nice. But there is no gym or anything else. Ground level spaces are supposed to be restaurant/bar, but I don’t think that ever happened. Across the street as a view from your great windows you have a shady poor people hangout hot spot.

    Overall, not that great… But it is $320K… That’s very close to a fair price for an interesting space. Tear down the wall between the two bedrooms and make it into a very decent 1 bedroom.

  • $319,000 is relatively reasonable. The fact that it is far, far away from any public transportation sucks, though. Yes, it isn’t that close to shops and restaurants, but I bet it is pretty quiet there at night, which isn’t a bad trade off in my opinion, especially if you have a car.

    Set up is a little suspect and parts of it look a little cheap, but anything that does not need renovation, is in a safe neighborhood in NW, and is under 350 is a steal.

  • Christina, is a great site to look up sold properties. This looks like the place you were talking about:

    It’s a 2/2 that sold for $162k. It’s pretty small – 750 sq ft, and was a foreclosure, but even taking that into consideration I think it does indicate that over $300k (almost double!) is too much for the neighborhood.

  • 1322 Missouri Ave is WEST of this building, sorry. I’m directionally challenged.

  • I can’t remark on the price, but all the amenities in the world can’t make up for how awful that intersection is.

  • This is a horrible deal and I will explain why. A good friend of mine was seriously considering buying into this complex and I convinced him not too and now he is thanking me. The units themselves are actually pretty nice, but most people already pointed out the obvious flaws: poor layout/functionality, difficulty finding parking in the area (although this one has a space) few amenities in walking distance and knuckle-heads along Georgia Ave.

    What really convinced my friend not to buy though were financial reasons. There really isn’t anything similar in the neighborhood and the comps are not going to support those prices. Furthermore, this isn’t the only unit that has a weird floor plan, most of the units I saw had a very strange layout. What’s going to eventually happen is that one or more of the units with strange floor plans are going to drastically cut their price in order to get it sold, and the comps will never recover. I will not be surprised if everyone in this complex is underwater in 3 years.

    I would not buy into this at building @ any price.

  • Its a great price and the area is not that bad….People buy condos on 14th and u with the same knuckleheads for 550,000. If you have a car you can get to u street in less than 10 mins, dupont in 15mins, silver spring in 10 mins, friendshipheights in 10 min. I think it is worth it. There are alot of haters on this blog……you guys need to get a life, and stop hating soooo much without any facts……Hi HATER……

  • Hey thanks Anon 4:06! Sorry that I missed your msg earlier.

  • @ stream and Pennywise

    Last I heard Folger-Pratt is planning to break ground at Curtis Chevrolet in the summer of 2010.


  • Syn, yes, I’ve read that plan, its the same one I link to above. I don’t think it mentions 2010 anywhere, and is just a plan on paper. The real question is financing, which I don’t think has materialized yet. An ANC member on a listserv yesterday said 2010 was unlikely, and even 2011 was in doubt. Please do correct me if I am wrong…

  • Even with financing, the car dealership redevelopment is a long way off. They had an architect produce a few hypothetical concept sketches, but that architect isn’t contracted to actually design the space or produce construction drawings. They were just hired to draw something that looked good, to give the development review board something to look at. After financing and city approval is obtained, the developer then elicits proposals from architects for the actual design and drawing production. This could easily take 6 months, probably more, and will likely involve more public hearings or city approvals that will take even more time. And then there is the construction phase, which on a project that size will add another 6 months to a year.

    If it ever does get developed, it will probably enhance the value of all properties around it, including this condo building. But that is several years down the road at least.

  • Looks beautiful, which would have normally made up for any reservations about spending more than 300k for a condo in brightwood, but anyone trying to market a place with 800 sq.ft. as a 2 bedroom is trying to scam you. Plus, the lack of physical separation between the living area and the kitchen makes the living room feel cramped. In the end, you live in a place like this because you *really* want to be in that location. And while the neighborhood’s not a bad place to be in, it’s not a “destination” that makes owning such an awkward living space worthwhile.

  • Pennywise, you are absolutely correct. Is it likely that they will break ground in 2010? No. As you said financing is not firmed up yet, the economy, etc. I was just conveying what the plan is — p. 7 (or around there) by the way.

    I just hope the plan goes forward, for my own personal gain — at the very least, I’d like some more restaurants around.

  • This is worse than I originally thought. I am seeing what people are talking about with the loft space being what they call the 2nd bedroom. This isn’t even a 2br they way that you can be generous and call some 1br + den places a 2br. It’s a 1 bedroom apartment. And you can buy a 1br in Adams Morgan or Columbia Heights for $300k. And in Brightwood, you can get a nice 3br house for the high $300’s, probably something that needs a little work for less. So the price really makes no sense at all. You’d be paying over $2k/month for a 1br in Brightwood!

  • This unit looks beautiful to me and I would love the space. There is a bistro on the bottom level of the building. Everyone keeps pointing out that there is no transportation, however, it is actually directly on Georgia Ave. with buses every 10 minutes as someone mentioned earlier. Not necessarily an ideal location, but not bad either, depending on your needs and financial situation. The reality is that we can’t all afford to live in 500-600 k condos on U. St. This is a good reasonable alternative depending on your personal preferences.

  • I actually like the odd shape of the condo- anyone with an imagination can make it work. Its so not a two bedroom, both bedrooms are very small. The location isn’t bad and from what I hear the bus system is great on GA ave, even with express buses. Its also very close to rock creek park . I think it will sell for 275-290k.

  • Public transportation is steps away. Please don’t forget about bus lines, or worse yet, ignore them because they’re not metro trains. Buses are great, especially the new express lines. It’s a difficult bias to get over. But believe it or not, you can use the bus system to get from different As to different Bs much faster than metro, and usually at less cost! Don’t like this unit, but that express bus should make people look seriously at Brightwood, and hopefully stop saying “no public transit anywhere nearby.”

  • I can attest I take the 79 express bus right by that location every workday and its fantastic. Much faster than train, and I almost always get a seat…

  • Years back people thought buying in Logan was nuts. Now it seems obvious with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight the neighborhood was bound to take off; good housing stock, proximity to Downtown. Same can be said for U Street, Metro access, location, no-brainer it had to turnaround. The earliest new buyers in those areas took a chance. I would venture to say Logan of the late 80’s – 90’s, 14th & U Street of the early to mid 90’s had more serious issues than GA Ave. 2009. DC on a whole was not in good place then. If you are looking at the place as an investment there is good upside as GA avenue improves. I like it at 319k love it at 285 – 290k. 300s is more of a Columbia Heights price for a 1br, which this property is based on square footage. Columbia Heights is directly on Metro and definitely has more shopping and new buildings seem to have more amenities.

    True story, I attended an open house in 1999 a block off Logan where renovated 1br condos were selling for 85k (below ground still had decent light and ceiling height). 1br w/ den 142k – 160k from floor 1 on up . A ‘friend,’ DC Native, said don’t do it not at that location. If you like the space and don’t feel unsafe then sometime you take a chance.

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