Good Deal or Not? “Beautiful, quiet block” edition

DC8370968 - Exterior (Front)

This unit is located at 11 S Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“New 2-level condo w/ high ceilings & great light. Corner building w street level entrance. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 marble Baths & great closet space. Large open floor plan w room for formal dining area and multiple living spaces. Kitchen w granite and stainless steel appliances! Beautiful, quiet block. Parking included!”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/2.5 bath is going for $599,900 ($220 monthly fee.)

Ed. Note: We noticed this one popping up in Bloomingdale back in late May.

69 Comment

  • The exterior actually turned out pretty nice. At least they attempted to blend it in with the rest of the block. The interior is pretty blah though.
    The fact that this condo costs $600K just proves that the people who say splitting a house into condos makes a neighborhood more “affordable” are full of it. If anything it just drives up the price of single family homes even more.

    • Well, to be fair, a renovated rowhouse on this block would probably run 900K.

      • Considering this house was sold for $400K 6 months ago, a person could have put $200K into it and had the entire building as opposed to only part of it. “Luxury” condos are going to drive up the price per square foot, thus making single family homes even more expensive.

        • What type of non-wealthy homebuyer can afford the carrying costs of the scenario you just described?

          • Exactly this. It’s also a huge personal commitment and headache to undertake that sort of project, and lots of people don’t have the financial, personal, or work flexibility to take something like that on.

            These houses are getting chopped up because big developers basically stopped building condos between 2008-2014. Lots of people want to live close-in but don’t have the money for a row house. In a normally functioning market, there would have been tons of new condos in mount vernon triangle, Noma, and Navy Yard to meet that demand. Instead, those became apartment buildings and Bloomingdale gets chopped up. Speaking as someone who bought a 2BR condo in Bloomingdale.

          • I’m not wealthy, but because I made a large profit on the sale of my last house, I was able to do pretty much exactly that.

          • “I’m not wealthy, but because I made a large profit” — If you could afford the carrying costs of a gut-reno, you most certainly are wealthy.

          • You don’t carry the costs, you get a FHA 203(k) loan.

          • Does the 203K pay your rent while your unlivable shell is demoed?

          • I’m not wealthy in that I make under $100K a year, and considering people on this very blog have said those who make $100K a year are “working class” in DC, I don’t think I qualify. I invested what little I had wisely in a developing area and turned it into a lot more. Any normal non-wealthy person could do the same (if they wanted to put up with living in a bad neighborhood for a few years).
            Not saying everyone should do what I did. Living in a bad neighborhood and living through a renovation isn’t easy and it probably took a few years off my life- ha. Though, in the end, I think it was worth it. I now have a custom house that I love in a neighborhood I would have never been able to afford otherwise.

          • People who make under $100K are “working class” in D.C.?? According to whom — PPercy??

          • Under FHA 203K, you can defer mortgage payments up to six months if the reno (i.e., gut job) makes the home unlivable. So you can continue to pay your rent until you’re ready to move in and make mortgage payments.

      • The house directly across the street sold for $700k a few months earlier, which was a high for a house of that size.

    • Well, 35 Randolph Pl NW, which is a single family row house one block south, sold for $902K last month. This is more affordable than that. My friends sold their single family home on this very block 2 years ago for about $750K.
      Most of the other homes sold in the area are condo conversions, so it’s hard to get a good comparison. But sadly, yes, this is apparently more affordable than single family homes in the immediate area.

      • Wow, didn’t realize 35 Randolph sold for so much. That house didn’t appear to have had any permits on record when they built the addition at the rear, nor did they get a variance on lot coverage to build a car port at the back. And still someone paid 900k. Wow.

    • Agreed — splitting houses into “luxury” condos drives up the price of everything in the area, including single-family homes.

    • It drives up the price of a SFH because a SFH is now two condos. But the price of an individual condo is less than, and more affordable than, the price of a the full SFH. If zoning were opened up and you could build a 20 story condo building here, then the value of the SFH homes would increase even more.

      • It drives up prices to the extent that — depending on the neighborhood — you now get condos selling for what entire rowhouses sold for 3 years ago.
        (The “3 years” figure might not be applicable to Bloomingdale, but the general point stands.)

        • So you think the condos make people want to live in bloomingdale–that this is an induced demand situation? Personally, I think people want to live here because it is close to nightlife and work. If condo conversions were banned, do you think prices would stagnate?

          • I think the introduction of “luxury” condos (and “luxury” SFH renovations) does to some extent induce demand.
            I don’t think prices would stagnate if condo conversions were banned; they just wouldn’t skyrocket quite as rapidly.
            I don’t have a problem with condo conversions per se (as long as they don’t involve pop-ups). I just think the claim that they somehow make neighborhoods more “affordable” is false — they increase expectations/appetite for similar luxury condos, and accelerate the increase in price.

          • Oops, that was me.

          • textdoc, what’s more affordable – a $900,000 house or a $600,000 condo? The $400,000 rotting shell is not the pertinent comparison. As someone who just lived through a gut renovation in bloomingdale (lived in the basement for 8 months) I can tell you that it is not trivial in terms of time, money, and disruption to renovate a home. Ergo, condo conversions are a key way to generate affordable housing.

          • Obviously $600K < $900K, but I think we're talking "less unaffordable," not "more affordable."

  • The chopped 1st story window (2nd story of the unit) completely ruins this for me.

  • justinbc

    Well at least the paint looks good (re: better).

    • Agreed that it looks much better than in the post from May… but why couldn’t they have painted the siding to match?

      • justinbc

        At first glance I thought it was painted. Kind of hard to tell now whether that’s just the sun light or actually lighter paint. If it’s not painted to match, then major minus points.

  • Kind of hard to tell but I’m guessing the main floor of this condo is the street level of this building and the bedrooms are the first floor of the building? So really it’s basement condo with bedrooms on first floor?

  • Jesus. I’m glad I bought my 3 bedroom five years ago a block away for half the price. I’d be priced out these days. And I walked by there yesterday and that paint color is much worse than the photos suggest. It has a greener tint in person, kind of like baby diarrhea.

  • i believe this was once a judging popups post.

  • The paint makes the exterior look a little better (except those shortened windows…..) .

  • You can see in the picture the cable that goes across the front door. I guess they decided to go ahead and put it on the market before Pepco could come and move that. You’ve got to do the limbo to get in the house.

    Went to the open house and it wasn’t a very good quality renovation. I feel bad for anyone that would pay that much for this condo. Not a good deal in my opinion for the quality of the renovation. You are paying for the location.

    • Those floors look so cheap and atrocious. I hate this fake hardwood flooring trend. God awful.
      30 years from now, we will have the same reaction as when we see wood paneled wall living rooms from the 1970s.

      • i so agree! what are people thinking? paying massive amounts per square foot and the floor isn’t even real wood? very odd.

  • Ugh. As someone currently househunting, I weep that such a princely sum of cash only gets me so far as a basement condo in Bloomingdale.

  • It seems like a decent way to get a 3br for under $600k in Bloomingdale. But do the buyers have to worry about their living room/kitchen flooding? And it seems any vehicle passing through the alley will block out the natural light. Also, I’m betting they don’t get to use the nice-looking roof deck. 🙁

  • Does anyone know what is going on with the electrical wires at this place? Look at the basement entrance. It looks like the power line is stretched across the entrance. They dug out the basement entrance and I think this powerline used to be under the ground, but now it is stretched across the entrance. It can’t be up to code and I’m sure they have some remedy planned.

  • Had the opportunity to check out the house when it was last on the market and it is so disheartening to see how the developer has managed to remove absolutely all of the amazing character and original features that were in the house. There was a beautiful wooden central staircase, several large wooden pocket doors, as well as original fireplaces and fixtures. The house had some pretty serious structural issues (perhaps from the earthquake?) that ultimately prevented us from buying the property, but it could have been a beautiful resortation project instead of just a dull and soul-less chop job.

    • Yup. All they care about is making as much money as possible. It’s very sad indeed. The house was probably built in the late 1890’s. It kills me that they knocked down the turret and trashed the original fireplaces & pocket doors.

    • They didn’t remedy any of the structural issues. If anyone on here is planning on making an offer, make sure you get a damn good homeowners policy and a warranty from the developer. The side wall was bowing into the alley and all they did was stucco over the wall to hide the cracks and make the bowing less obvious. I wouldn’t be surprised if this house falls over in 10-15 years.

  • There’s currently a condo for sale a few blocks away, 2 bd 2 bath, for $749,000. Just think about that for a bit…

    • That condo for 749 is way overpriced. While there is a good amount of space, the renovation job is very poorly done with cheap hollow doors and generally cheap finishes.

  • I have 5 words for those feeling priced out: Rhode Island Avenue Metro area.

    Dupont, Logan, U Street, Bloomingdale and Shaw used to suck, and none of them all that long ago. (Yes, Dupont was gritty in the 80s, which isn’t all that long ago for me.) As another poster said, “go east.” And do it before you’re priced out of those areas, too.

  • Follow PoP’s “Ed. Note” back to the ***architect’s comments*** at the bottom of the May commentary on this property (architect is “Makeba”). I found it interesting that the architect acknowledges many people’s disappointment in the finished product but then pivots to an appeal for work on a property in YOUR neighborhood. Not saying that’s bad….but just interested in other’s views of the architect’s dilemma when their ‘vision’ shifts dramatically from its original intent (e.g. you’ll see in the architectural renderings that a ‘version’ of a turret was in the original rendering). So the question becomes what ‘responsibility’ (for lack of a better word) does an architect have in vetting clients that won’t substantially build a finished product that they (the architect) will be proud to list on their portfolio of work?

  • Isn’t anyone else curious about the price for the upper unit? The one with the roof deck? I haven’t seen it listed, and a note on the door says it is under contract. How can you find that information?

  • Sigh. I remember the days (really, like 3 years ago) when a whole house on this block would have gone for $599K. Those were the days!

    Nice reno though. I like it.

  • I don’t trust the quality of the construction here. Everything looks like it was done on the cheap — I think that’s why they raised the second floor rather than digging out the basement (as evidenced by the windows shrinking.

    I also saw that the back porch is not secured in the foundation. It is just on top of the concrete backyard –

    I am glad that they modeled their popup off of their neighbor’s. But the neighbor put iron on their balcony. These guys just put two by fours…

    • agreed David….. awful awful awful. I wouldn’t step on any of those decks if you paid me

  • While all the comments here are valid from both perspectives, the fact of the matter is that condo conversions are here to stay. Its a double edged sword for living in what has become one of the TOP vibrant neighborhoods in DC. The demand is pushing for these sorts of conversions. Having lived near this house for several years, I will say that I’m relieved something was done, it was in very bad shape, to the point where I was certain the entire thing would collapse into alley at any time…… HOWEVER, I am a proud resident of this neighborhood and the end result here is a complete eyesore. Shame on the developer for cutting so many corners to get this sold so quickly. I cannot tell you how many awful and bizarre construction practices we witnessed over the past several months. Case in point, the rear decks. They are leaning away from house, have been dismantled at least once during construction, and are by no means supported properly. I will embrace proper development in this neighborhood, despite the impact it will have on parking etc, there really is no option to prevent it. I will, however, demand that this sort of chopping up for the sake of making money stops when it compromises the look of our beloved bloomingdale. How in the world this got approved still boggles my mind. Best believe I will be watching this developer closely, because rumor has it they also are in negotiation with another house nearby on S street.

  • Well, it already was on fire, so thats a start. See –

  • Apparently there was a fire here recently. There is a stop work notice on the front door. I don’t believe the fire was very serious, but the firemen did have to break some windows to get inside. I was told that the reason for the stop work notice was because the place has not been inspected and was not up to code.

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