Judging Buildings – River Park Coop in SW

Wow, the River Park coop is wild. And huge. From their Web site:

River Park (1301 Delaware Ave. SW) itself is composed of a set of townhouses and high-rise buildings in a park-like setting. River Park structures feature a unique modernistic design created by the award-winning architect, Charles M. Goodman. Its 1200-plus residents form a dynamic community that makes River Park a great place to live. River Park is a main feature on the District of Columbia’s Southwest Heritage Trail.

You guys like the style?

A few more photos after the jump.

23 Comment

  • The architectural equivalent of meerkats – love them.

  • I like them a lot but I know they aren’t for everyone. Im sure someone will comment that they are “fugly” in 3.2.1…

  • Looks to me like nouveau brutalist with a touch of the grain silo!

  • looks cool for commercial space.

  • Not to my taste but at least some architect was using his degree and not copying the exterior look of 100 other developments.

  • somebody needs to look up brutalism.

    I like them, but my biggest problem is the chopped up courtyards and passageways, which were probably later additions. Several individual houses have questionable taste in storm doors and window treatments. I like Capitol Park a lot more.

  • Forgot to add, Goodmans suburban MD and VA work is much nicer, and I think he did a modernist interpretation that is regionally appropriate.

  • We were tempted to buy one of these last year. The sq. footage is ridiculous inside and they can be awesome if kept up well. Unfortunately, the one barrel roof that was for sale was not up to par and it seems that might be the case with many of them. And while the upfront price is great, the $1k monthly co-op fee is a lot. Still, I love their style. Sigh.

    • yeah, but the co-op fee covers stuff that you would have to pay for anyway, like utilities, property tax, property insurance, and maintenance. They fix anything that breaks and you only have to get insurance for the contents of your home, not the structure.

  • I live at River Park in one of the barrel roofed townhouses. You either love em or hate em…

    The interior design is very open, as you might expect from a mid-century modern architect oike Goodman.

    The courtyards and passageways were not later additions as someone commented above.

    BTW, brutalism refers to raw concrete used in construction – an example is the FBI building downtown on Penn Ave. at 9th or the HUD building on 7th St SW. River Park is not brutalist because it is built of brick and aluminum.

    The monthly fee is a bit over $1K/month for my townhouse (actually cheaper than the neighboring coops like Harbour Square). But it includes a lot: property taxes, heating & A/C (including maintenance & usage), water, trash (daily pickup), grounds, all exterior maintenance, a 24 hour desk, pool & fitness center, security, insurance on the building. And parking is $25/month.

    My furnace was leaking – River Park replaced it the same week at no cost to me. My balcony was reconstructed last year at no cost to me. A window broke that cost over $1K – the coop replaced it at no cost to me. My drain got clogged a week or so ago – the coop called a plumber and snaked it at no cost to me.

    • Interesting experiences with homeowner association and monthly fees, Paul. It points to the co-op structure: the people who live there own shares in a corporation, and the corporation in turn owns the physical structures. Hence, the corporation pays for many things that normal homeowners would usually be responsible for, but the co-op owners contribute through higher fees. Seems like it would reward the squeaky wheels much more than the church mice. Have you had issues with certain co-op members using up much more maintenance resources than others?

      • As to sqeaky wheels getting more grease / some members using up more resources, there is some truth to that, but minimal, because for major repairs (ie expensive repairs), the mgt team applies the same standards regarding replacement or repair to everyone.

  • somebody needs to look up nouveau!

  • I think they’re cool–apparently, the roofs were a demonstration project of the Reynolds Corp to show cool things you can do with aluminum. They’re a pretty good value for the square footage, even with the high fees. My main concern would be the open staircases in them–if Paul or another owner there reads this thread, what do people do to baby/pet-proof them?

    • One person built bookshelves along the sides of the stairwell the same height that the railing was and put one of those accordion gates at the top of the stairs. It looks good the way he did it. I think you could just put those gates in at top and bottom and be fine.

      Some River Park townhouses don’t have open stairways

  • LOVE them.

    My best friend lived in one when we were kids – many, many years ago. It was a great community.

    If I recall there was an article about the co-op in the Post – maybe 5-7 years ago? The community had gone through a rough patch and had to raise the fees as high as they are in part to make up for a drastic shortfall in their budget.

    And @Paul certainly makes it sound like you get pretty good coverage for the money. And the townhouses themselves are pretty reasonably priced for DC.

  • I love these buildings. The townhomes seem like a great value – architecturally interesting, spacious, coop amenities – not to mention the other changes ongoing in the SW/SE area.

    I’ve been eyeing the townhomes for a few months, but won’t be in a position to buy for another 6 months or so. Could anyone offer any insight on the River Park community? Any advice on raising a family there? Thanks

  • Goodman built the most incredible suburban development in the area, hollin hills.

    River Park is awesome.

    • make that the “only” incredible suburban development in the area. my bad.

      • he did another one near kennsington that is amazing too.
        my work brings me to a lot of suburban neighborhoods. there are a lot of nice ones in the dc area.

  • The prices I see these units going for on a regular basis make me think that it’s a relative bargain for some unique, modernist architecture. But the prices may also reflect the high co-op fee and the condition of the units.

  • I was hoping no one wanted modern architecture like this in DC and the prices would come down to their lows of 2009, maybe get a fixer-upper for 260-270 but apparently I am not the only one trolling around this neighborhood via redfin and my realtor.
    I called about the coop and about the cooling towers (The townhomes derive heating and cooling from the main highrise building using a water system piped underground) because I had some questions and was sent directly to the head engineer for the neighborhood and he spoke with me for 5 minutes abut the system. However, when calling security to look at open houses I found the people at the desk pretty rude and dismissive. For 1K a month I would not be too happy about that. Finally, if enough of the people paying the fee stop for whatever reason you could lose everything as the corporation in which you own shares could go bankrupt. However, at the right price I would take those risks. I LOVE those townhomes. Well, most of the ones I have seen. There are several different configurations.

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