Good Deal or Not? Plenty of Bathrooms Edition


This condo is located at 1830 18th Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Stunning new boutique condo building with perfect Dupont location! Luxury multi-level residence offers reclaimed H/W floors thu/out, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, private roof deck with adjacent wet bar and much more! Walk to Metro, shops, favorite restaurants, Parking avail. Nov 2009 settlements; Currently taking reservations for purchase agreements.”

More info and photos found here.

I always like to post the condos for new buildings that have been constructed or renovated. Incidentally what area do you consider this – Dupont or Adams Morgan? For some reason I associate it more with Adams Morgan. Anyway, what do you think of the condo itself? Does $847,900 sound reasonable for this 2 bed/3 bath?

Ed. Note: While house porn will remain on Wed. I’ll be sure to post more modest homes/condos at least every Thursday.

35 Comment

  • Looks nice enough, but I don’t think I’d want to live across the street from Laureal Plaza.

  • Man, i wouldn’t pay more than 550,000 for that. It is okay, but not worth 800 grand. And yes, that is Adams Morgan. If you can see Adams Morgan and hear Adams Morgan, I consider it Adams Morgan.

  • I am wondering how much that extra full-bath added to the price of this place.

    Also, is this new construction? If so, what is with that odd space to the right in the picture that looks down the stairs?

    The finishes are nice but it seems a bit pricey for a 2 bedroom. Does this have 2 units?

  • Greed personified *** 850k for 4 dry walls

  • Sammy, that might be your definition of Adams Morgan, but technically it’s not correct. The boundaries of Adams Morgan are U Street/Florida Ave to the Sounth (the north side of the street), 16th Street to the east (the west side of the street), Connecticute Ave. to the west (the east side of the street and Harvard Street to the north (the south side of the street).

    Now at one point in time (the last census) the area in question was considered Adams Morgan, but no more.

    I think City Dogs is moving, but I wouldn’t want to live above a dog day care (and I like dogs) or across the street from Lauriol…

  • Anything south of Florida Ave and west of 17th is considered Dupont. To the northeast is U Street, southeast (east of 15) is Logan.

  • Ugh and I just looked at the photos and there is that little ledge in the stair-area which would be cool to display things on, but good lord you will never keep that clean because you will need a ladder every time you want to clean it.

  • I consider anything south of Florida Dupont.

    Those doors that open inward into the bedroom seem foolish.

    Good adding of residential density to the neighborhood, though.

  • The title of this GDON really cracked me up – on a lot of the ones recently, the main complaint has been not enough bathrooms! PoP readers really know the value of a good can.

  • Could some of that open to the below part be filled in to claim more space?
    Could almost be considered a 3 BR in the sense that there’s usually one BR that’s very small, but of course in this case there is no window, but functionally it could save the same purpose.
    I think it is expensive but it may not be overpriced considering what it is and where it is.
    Except for the bloody dogs and it depends how you feel about Lauriol Plaza.
    Since I don’t have that kind of money, it’s only academic.

  • @PoBoY:

    It’s not greed at all, PoBoy. It simply the reality of real estate development in 2009 DC.

    I’ve followed this project at 1830 since it was bought and developed by a friend of mine; following every arduous step along its years of planning, permitting, construction, financing, re-financing and development until its first open house last month.

    It is has become simply so very, very, very extremely expensive to build and develop anything in this city within such an over regulated industry and a local government so incompetent and unwelcome to any small business and small private sector development.

    When all is said and done two years after the last closing of these four units, my friend will likely walk away most likely with nothing but before and after pictures. You have no idea what it’s like, PoBoy until you’ve experienced it yourself.

  • So if these vague “regulations” are done away with, Mr. Anonymous, everyone will be able to live in Adams Morgan?

  • It’s a shame that with 3 bathrooms, there is no convenience on the main level.
    That lack reduces the desirability considerably, especially in light of the price and that this is new construction. How could they not have planned a half bath on the main level?

  • I didn’t read the words “vague regulations” I read the words DCRA is a pain in the ass that makes you jump through ridiculous hoops to improve a piece of real property, ultimately driving up the cost of the project. Those costs are passed on to the buyer as much as possible, in the hopes of breaking even, in this case.

    Getting everyone to live in Adams Morgan has more to do with housing supply, I just don’t think you could fit everyone there.

  • 847K is a reasonable price for this house as long as another house comes along attached to it. Overpriced. Sorry! And a boring cheap bathroom to boot!

  • …the very, very, high cost of construction in 2009 coupled with incompetent regulators that don’t show up and are accountable to no one in a small business enterprise like this or sometimes carry a chip on their shoulder seeing someone in the private sector making something of themselves while they can’t in the public sector or are prejudiced against development, progress or someone else’s prosperity.

    You can’t truly understand the hoops that change without notice in a system that is unaccountable until you’ve experienced it yourself here in this city.

    This property is definitely in Dupont Circle, but happens to be just south of the 18th Street commercial corridor of Adams Morgan.

  • *The smell of donkey fajitas and sidewalk vomit not included in the condo fees. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • I work with DC building regulations every day of my life and they are no more difficult to navigate than any other major city (Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, LA, all of which I’ve worked in, and more). You do have to know what you are doing. Some first-timer who has never been through the process is certainly going to be frustrated and probably have to go back to the permit desk a few times before they get it right.

    Building costs everywhere are simply a matter of supply and demand. More people want property in DC than is available, and the district can’t expand up or out, so the price of land, materials, and labor goes up. And losing money today on property that was purchased two years ago is the same story all over the world; it is nothing unique to DC, it is simply the market.

    All that aside, it seems overpriced to me. The finishes and fixtures are all very high end. Not a builders special to be found. It does seem unfortunate that there is no main level bath. And two baths on the second level seem unnecessary, when there is only one bedroom there. The lack of any yard or green space is disappointing. Living next to Lauriol Plaza would be annoying. I’m sure someone will buy it, though, for the asking price, or very near to it.

    I’m curious what the rear unit was listed for (or sold for). Same layout but no view and very close to the neighbors.

  • I lived a couple of blocks from this place (N. of Fla, just west of 18th), and I always considered it Adams Morgan. Since this place is next to Lauriel Plaza, I’d have to consider it Dupont. Not sure which of AM or DC is the lesser selling point.

  • the rooftop terrace is cool.

  • Dupont. Definitely.

  • Definitely Dupont. But also overpriced at $643/sq.ft especially when parking is sold separately. $750k-$800k would be a fair price though certainly more than I can afford.

  • Call me a grouch, but who needs 3 bathrooms with a 2 bedroom place? Seriously, I shared a bathroom with 3 other people and never really had fights. One and a half baths is all I’ll ever need, frankly.

  • i feel bad for the builder – I understand trying to pass the cost of the project on to the buyers, but if the market doesn’t value the end product for that much money, the builder and bank lose their shirt. $650k tops for a 2BR place with no parking is my guess

  • A nice renovation, but it definitely seems priced a little steep. Then again, my interest no longer aligns with the “hip condo in Adams Morgan/DuPont area” lifestyle, so that likely colors my evaluation.

    And while I can appreciate the red tape that DC makes you go through with a project like this, I have no doubt that at least part of the struggle to turn a profit with a high-end condo development like this is that there was an intervening burst in the housing bubble. I dunno, it just strikes me as the type of place that seemed like a much better idea in 2006-7 than it actually was.

  • 2006 prices, with top quality finishes – can they sell it for 2009 prices and make a profit? Perhaps the developer should rent it out and then sell when the market recovers.
    I don’t feel to bad – it was a spec development and the spec didn’t pan out. Millions of folks around the country can share in the misery.

  • As to the neighborhood – technically Dupont, but I kind of consider the area around 18th & Florida/U to be its own beast. Love the vibe around there.

    By the way, I don’t think living across the street from Lauriol Plaza would be too terrible. It’s just a busy restaurant, not a sign of the Apocalypse.

  • Floor plan is too nonfunctional. If they combined A & B into one unit and made it say 950K then it’d make more sense.

  • Fridge door opens the wrong way.

  • Love the comment from the friend of the developer seeking sympathy from the community.

    There is another way to tell the story.

    Small, perhaps inexperienced, developer overpaid for the existing building, had trouble navigating the bureaucracy, experienced the delays that most if not all builders experience when contractors don’t sync and inspectors don’t show, had to go through a couple rounds of financing to get through the project, and frankly planned a building with an inefficient (from the economic POV, not space planning) layout. If the developer has to set the price of this unit at $850K to make his year’s salary, then he’s going to lose his shirt. Lots of inexperienced developers do.

    From my somewhat experienced point of view, I see a building stuffed to the gills with high-end builder-grade finishes meant to look fancy but not actually all that much higher quality than standard builder-grade, and the tell-tale signs of a well meaning developer whose eyes were bigger than his wallet at the outset and who had to cut corners to get the project done.

    A good home for $650K. I would applaud it at $850K only if it were genuinely custom designed and built, like a lot of what you see in LA. It’s not. This is DC where you get a lot of wannabe architecture.

    By the way, that big hole between the main and upper level: probably a floor-area-ratio (FAR) solution. Code stipulates in different zones that a builder can only construct so many square feet of livable space on any given lot. A 60% FAR means that if the lot is 1000SF, the builder can only build a maximum of 600SF livable space (oversimplifying the numbers). The big hole in between levels is actually a clever way to build a bigger building but still stay within the FAR limits. A genius example of this solution: the Lacey at 11th and Florida Avenue (adjacent to the Florida Avenue Grill) — that’s a building with genuinely custom designed and built homes, from the common hallways to the doors to the light fixtures and kitchen appliances, even the glass interior walls. IMHO, LA quality right here in DC.

  • Yeah, the friend posting on here sounds a lot like my dad. He retired in 2005 with a ton of money, decided to “try” developing condos and lost a ton of green. Really sad but it was a risk he took.

    I obviously feel bad for him, but have to bite my tongue when he talks about it. He blames the public for not buying at a decent price. “We’re practically giving these things away!!! What is wrong with people? Don’t they know a good deal when they see it? We are so much better than the 1,000 other spec condos in the 1 mile radius!”

    He blames the contractors. He blames the bank. He blames the codes.

    What it comes down to, is that he thought he could make an easy buck on something that is rather complicated. The market dictates what is fair. If this sells, the price was fair. If it doesn’t, well it isn’t worth it.

    I hope this guy sells these condos, but damn, that is really expensive. I wouldn’t pay more than $600,000 for that. In fact, I would not buy it at all due to the location, but that is just me. I would much rather buy in an older, more established building and make my own renovations.

  • @Son:

    Personally I wouldn’t buy these apartments either as I feel they are over priced as well, but not because of greed (which is part of the lesson from this thread), but because of modern day reality in urban real estate development:

    the high cost of in the city acquisition, the very high cost of urban construction today, and bad local government.

    There’s nothing easy about real estate development and your dad may or may not have been after an easy buck. His timing was off after retiring in 2005 and getting into it. Nothing he could have done as none of us could foresee. His timing was off. That’s all.

    And he created something much more than just a bank balance.

    In the bigger picture, this city (and this country) was built much less by the comfortably seated committee types in the public sector, and much, much more by risk takers in the private sector like your dad.

  • @Mike W:

    There is no such thing as a “60% FAR” that you write about.

    You’ve confused Lot Coverage with Floor Area Ratio which govern basic land use regulation and development anywhere.

    Under R5B Zoning designation in the District of Columbia, which this property falls under, the maximum allowable F.A.R. is 1.8 with lot coverage of no more than 60%.

    A 1.8 F.A.R. allows for no more than 1,800 square feet of living space for every 1,000 square feet of land with a building lot coverage of no more than 60 %, or a 600 square foot footprint for every 1,000 square feet land.

    Your “telling of the story” contributes nothing positive to this thread, passes quick judgements on others work and writing on a subject you obviously are less knowledgeable about than those you make contrived assumptions and pass misinformed judgement upon.

  • Zing! Pow! @anon 5:48AM. Great catch. I’m a blockhead. I should have thought about those numbers. Boy did I think I was being smart. Dur.

    I stand by my opinion that the picture you paint is one of an inexperienced developer who has had to set his price higher than the market will bear because of problems he incurred during the process, including a stark shift in market conditions. If I’m wrong there, then I’ll revise my opinion: he’s a greedy developer. Lots of those out there too.

    Sorry about the error in FAR. I’m not less knowledgeable (I know exactly what you’re talking about) I was just confused. It was a very good catch. I still think everyone in the business should pay a visit to the Lacey ( – it’s beautiful. And no, they’re not “friends of mine.”

    PoP – have you considered doing an update of the 15JAN09 entry on the Lacey? Now that the building is open, it’s very worthy of a visit. In the words of a famous man, you’ll think it’s “totally sweet.” I’ve added three crappy cellphone photos to PoPville on flickr.

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