Good Deal or Not? “CityCenter” edition

920 I Street Northwest

This condo is located at 920 I Street, Northwest:

The listing says:

“The Residences at CityCenter bring the ease and sophistication of modern city living to the heart of Washington. Designed by internationally renowned architecture firm Foster+Partners, its homes provide open layouts where light,air and outdoor spaces are fundamental. Every residence is crafted with high quality, custom details and environmentally responsible materials that offer thoughtful living.”

You can see more photos here.

This 1 bed/1 bath is going for $585,000 ($722 monthly fee.)

53 Comment

  • Call me crazy, but over half a million for a 1 bedroom actually sounds reasonable in this situation. The unit looks beautiful and the location is, of course, amazing.

    • Wait, I neglected to notice the condo fee. Scratch that.

    • The condo prices was lower than I thought any of the condos were going to be priced at. Of course considering the monthly fee (that is only going to rise annually) trust funders and people with $200,000+ jobs are the only people who could afford to live there

  • Well, without pictures (or even a mock-up) of the actual unit being sold (or sqft, etc), it’s hard to judge whether or not this is a good deal. With that said, you could likely do MUCH better in this area for $585k + $700 monthly condo fee.

    • click the link. 768 square feet. and there’s a floorplan up there. that said, the price isn’t making me balk nearly as much as the fee is…

      • I saw the link and the floor plan (but missed the sqft). It’s not at all clear as to which of the pictures render the actual condo being offered. It seems that they show a number of different condos.

  • Can’t wait for them to finally announce some retail. Fingers crossed for Uniqlo.

    • +1. I dunno what the wait is. With DCUSA it seems the major tenants were announced well in advance. I really hope this building doesn’t open with a bunch of vacant spaces that sit emplty for years (i.e. F Street/Conn Ave retail corridors).

  • Anyone know whether and how quickly these places are selling? This price seems ridiculous to me, but I’m sure there’s a market for it.

    • Back in March (~3 months of sales), they announced that over 50% of the H building was under contract. I think this past month they at least unofficially announced that both buildings have over 50% under contract. Supposedly they are selling at a surprisingly rapid rate.

      To me, however, the 50% number alone is not impressive as it doesn’t reveal which units are popular. As a link below indicates, the price per square foot increases significantly for the 2-bedrooms that have a reasonable amount of space. Since more than half the units are 1 bedrooms or cramped 2 bedrooms, it may just indicate that the units the slightly more reasonable price point are actually selling. I would like to know whether those $1.2-1.5 million 2-bedroom units are actually selling. I would have jumped on one of those at say ~$700/sq.ft. (roughly how the small 1 bedrooms are priced) , but >$1,000/sq.ft. is just ridiculous.

      Note that no settlements have occurred yet. Buyers may still back-out, albeit with the loss of a 5-10% deposit.

  • I really fail to see why a brand new building needs to have a condo fee of $700/month. That seems significantly higher than market.

    • Agreed. And that fee is only going to go up, up, up.

      I’d get more satisfaction out of flushing my money down the toilet. At least I’d get to watch the bills go ’round in circles.

    • They have a rooftop pool, firepits, etc. etc. This isn’t your ex’s condo building.

      • That are shared between how many people?

      • yeah all those amenities are bullshit. Those areas always get overcrowded and annoying and then you just stay inside your apartment so your paying these fees for lame shit you don’t use.

        • Or, you can be one of the people that uses them…if it’s crowded up there then obviously someone is using the amenities.

      • there is no pool for the condos. it’s a “water feature” and it will be very shallow. there is a pool for the rental building that’s attached but my understanding is that it will be off limits to condo owners.

    • One reason for the high fees is probably paying people. There is a 24-hour concierge in both towers, so each concierge is only spread across about 100 units. Plus there is some sort of security as well, so you have to pay several yearly salaries. Granted, these are probably low, but they do add up.

      And I don’t think I would expect the rates to “go up, up, up” as [email protected]:16pm says. The preliminary budget looks fairly robust, with conservative replacement costs already factored in. For example, they budgeted for replacing the elevators every say 20 years (I may be off on this one, but I remember it being sooner than I would have thought), so 1/20 of the cost is included in the monthly dues. The reason HOA fees often do “go up, up, up” is because they are not well budgeted, and there is a deficit at some point.

      There is no pool, only a water feature. And the rental buildings are not attached to the condos. There are no shared amenities between the apartments and the condos.

      What is disappointing about the high fee is that is unclear which if any of the amenities will include usage fees. I would expect that running an event dining room with catering kitchen would have some usage fee to at least cover a post-event cleaning. Or is expected usage already amortized across the monthly fees?

  • No F’in way. nope…not gonna do it. I for one rather live in a small house with a few units then a massive place like this with the fees for amenities I wont use!

  • CRE underwriter here.. I am pretty shocked by the low pricing here actually. I know Hines was looking for $1,000 psf, which has never really been acheived in DC but this was supposed to be the project to do it. These prices are lower than many in Logan, Dupont, and Gtown for similar high-end, boutique buildings. Condo demand here must have been weaker than expected despite them reporting over 50% sold (but unsettled).

    • “Boutique” implies small. Implies that you can get something changed if you have a problem. This here ain’t boutique, it’s just another giant complex run by a faceless company who gives not one fuck about residents, provided their checks clear. So this might be a little less than a “boutique” building, and for a damn good reason. It’s stupidly overpriced.

      • Maybe they meant “bespoke” (as in smidge of individual customization?), which is a word that also makes me throw up a little.

    • Really? Could it be that delivering so many at once, along with resale of existing units made the $1Kpsf difficult to achieve (though within spitting distance)?
      I wonder if the new Eastbanc building on the canal in Georgetown will hit $1k – Lanier’s projects are much more inspired than this and frankly in a more desirable locale.

  • This pricing doesn’t seem unreasonable till you see the HOA fee. Even with 20% down and a 4.5% rate, you’re talking well over $3000 per month when you factor in the HOA fee. That for a one bedroom that’s less than 800 sq ft…kinda crazy. You’d be better of renting at that rate!

    • binpetworth

      +1. That $3000 a month is the equivalent of buying a $750K property with 20% down. No one-bedroom in this city is worth three-quarters of a million bucks.

    • Whether it’s something you would buy or not, $3000/mo is LESS than the going rent on the luxury apartments going up these days. Take a look at the Bozzuto buildings in hot neighborhoods. The Avenue (foggy bottom) has rents over $3000 for a similarly sized unit. DC District (14th street) lists a 625 sq ft unit with a rent between $2777-$3563, presumably varying by floor. If that’s what you would be renting otherwise, then the deal is not bad — it’s roughly the same price, plus you recoup a good fraction (say 25%) of your monthly fee in tax breaks and equity.

      It is unfair to compare against the average rental prices across dc. Clearly this building is trying to compete with luxury buildings, not the average.

  • Those curved cabinets are going to be out of style in about 2.5 seconds.

    • ..and they are out.

    • At least they didn’t go with stainless. Can’t believe how many builders are still using it like it isn’t already dated.

      • what do people use now? what’s in with appliances?

        • White (especially a cool glossy white like they used here), or those kinds that look like they’re part of the cabinetry. I think colored appliances are also making a retro niche comeback.

          • hmm… I’m not sure that I agree with you. I don’t disagree that glossy white appliances can look awesome, but I’d put them in the same category as colored appliances. Some people are using them, but they only work with certain cabinets, so they aren’t the standard stock. I think stainless steel is still the go-to.

          • Are we saying the same thing? I think we may be because all this article is really saying is these glossy new white appliances look kinda cool and some people are using them. But I don’t think we’re quite to the point where we can say everyone is going to go buy these glossy white appliances and throw them in their kitchens. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I hope we’re heading in a direction where not everyone has the same colored appliances! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

          • I didn’t write that article, but I think we’re sort of saying the same thing. Glossy white is becoming popular, but so are other non-stainless options. I think plain white is sort of coming back too.

  • Check out this listing in the same building for a two-bedroom, two bathroom (not even the penthouse):

    CRAZY. Plus check out the HOA fees on that one…. 0_O

    • I looked at the model for these places. They are pricing it at $1 a square foot for condo fee. They kept saying, “those fees can be lowered later byt the condo board if they choose.” There is no pool – just water ‘features.’

      • No way they’re going to lower condo fees. Their current budget is just guesswork, and when the condo association sees what their actual expenses are, they’ll go up. Guaranteed.

    • figby

      It looks like the cafeteria area in a circa 1990s somewhat upscale office park. If that’s what feels like home to you. Seriously — it looks like the Bloomberg News bureau.

  • This makes me want to vomit. Id rather live in Brooklyn or Jersey City

  • This building is probably caters to foreign investors (China/Middle East) and by keeping the condo fee so high, they’re trying to keep us poor DC folks out. For 700.00 bucks a month condo fee I better have my own fire pit and hot tub in the condo!!!!!! Good thing my condo fee is only 219.00 and I have a pool!

    • Exactly. And corporate apartments. Hence the high maintenance fee – it’s a profit center for whomever manages this place. Only people/companies who don’t care about money simply because they have way too much of it will be buying these places. The monthly maintenance fee is the equivalent of a rounding error.

      I will wager that half of these apartments will be empty 80% of the time. Just like many of the apartments in tony parts of NYC and London.

      • My “corporate” friends lived in a corporate fully furnished 2-Bdr penthouse rental in chinatown for about 3.4K…that was back in 2007 though…’re right on it being empty 80% of the time….still awfully ridiculous! There was this 60 Minutes piece last Sunday on real estate bubble in China where there are empty cities. I hope DC will not turn into this!!!!!

      • It is typical for condo bylaws to limit the amount of renting or subletting to at most 20% of the units. So I think this behavior would be excluded. Are most “corporate apartments” in condo buildings? I know of many that are in rental buildings, which I assumed was pretty much for this reason.

  • I did expect a higher sticker price….
    but those HOA Fees are insane. 700/ mo for a 1 br


    & that 2 br link someone posted had HOA fees over 1k/ mo

    • Have you ever looked at some of the condos and co-ops in Kalorama or the West End? There’s a bunch of buildings with monthly fees in excess of $2,500. It blows my mind; that’s more than my mortgage, taxes, and insurance combined.

      • It’s because those buildings are old and have very high upkeep costs. There’s probably also underlying mortgage(s) on the property to pay for years’ worth of capital improvements. Many of the older buildings in Foggy Bottom (The Watergate) and on SW waterfront have $1K+ association fees due to that and it also includes the property taxes rolled in.

        This building doesn’t have an underlying mortgage. And I doubt that the upkeep required is that high. Most of this is probably going into “management fees”.

      • yes, i have seen rent be about half of what mothly fees are. which is crazy to me

        also they try to make those co-ops seem like a deal with low rent to only find out you more than double rent with fees lol

        both cases (co-ops and city center) are nuts imo

  • This is defintitely a great deal – for the developer and for the city which will collect RE taxes on it. Sure it might be absentee jetset owners who are never actually there – maybe Bezos will buy CityCenter too!

  • Absurd. I think the price without HOA fees is pushing it. The HOA fees are just the straw really. I don’t know why anyone would think this is “the place to be” either. I work a block away and other than tourists, there isn’t much of anything going on down there on a weekend. Enjoy Gallery Place and all of the nonsense that goes on down there.

    I think the city should pass a law that limits HOA fees to the actual cost to provide services/amenities to owners and not to line the pockets of developers. I’d rather pay more on a mortgage for a larger place elsewhere.

    • I don’t understand this comment. HOA fees don’t pay the developer. At worst, they pay some management company that may be initially appointed by the developer. But the condo board is free to fire said management company.

      • people are so naive about HOA / condo fees. The owners of the condos actually control and set the condo fee once the initial sales are mostly done, and are free to raise or lower them as they see fit to pay for the services and maintenance actually rendered.

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