From the Forum – Anacostia [East of the River] – Would you move there? Which parts?

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Anacostia- Would you move there? Which parts?:

“I don’t know much about Anacostia other than its reputation [to some] – dangerous, isolated, etc. But, looking at homes, it seems like there are some beautiful homes for reasonable prices on that side of the river. Are there parts of Anacostia that are better than others where it might be smart to target a housing search?”

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83 Comment

  • If by “Anacostia” you mean everything east of the river, the neighborhoods of Hillcrest, Fort Dupont Park, and Randall Highlands have great housing stock, are pretty solidly middle class, and have reasonably low levels of crime.

    • brookland_rez

      I would agree with this.
      Historic Anacostia (the lettered streets around Good Hope Rd and Minnesota Ave) is going to be the next big thing and is the number one place I would go if I were in the market. You have the new 12th St bridge park coming, a metro stop, good housing stock, easy access to 295/695, one metro stop or a 5 minute drive to everything happening at Navy Yard. And it’s still pretty cheap.
      Also, River Park near Minnesota Ave metro.

  • Shouldn’t you clarify the question. Used to drive out to the Rays the Steak – East River when it was there. Anacostia is ONE neighborhood, not the entire area east of the river. The framing of the question just points to the mis-perception.

    • It’s very conceivable that they are asking just about the neighborhood of Anacostia. If that is true, than there is nothing to clarify.

      • “it seems like there are some beautiful homes for reasonable prices on that side of the river” seems a bit broader than Anacostia.

      • When we were looking for houses EOTR we basically focused only on the neighborhood of Anacostia. The other neighborhoods seemed too far out or not urban enough. So I can see how someone might want to zero in on Anacostia in particular.

    • Accountering

      When I refer to EOTR to anyone but the most experienced DC residents, I tend to refer to it as “Anacostia” not in a bad way, just in that that is the most recognizable area. My dad in Fairfax has no clue what Hillcrest is, but he knows that Anacostia is EOTR.
      This could be referring to all of EOTR, and if someone is just starting their search, that isn’t unreasonable.

      • +1.
        And even if the OP _was_ referring solely to Anacostia, the discussion might be more useful/interesting if expanded out to cover multiple neighborhoods of East of the River.

      • In my experience Majority of blacks refer to it as SE while Whites refer to it as EOTR and or Anacostia.

        • Interesting. (Especially as there’s a big chunk of SE that’s west of the river.)

          • And a big chunk of NE EOTR.

          • Also- ask a black person where they live and most of times they say NE, NW, SE, SW. Ask a white person and Almost every time they identify by the actual neighborhood and not by the quadrant.

          • This is a gross generalization. My friends and I use the names of our neighborhoods like any so many other DC residents.

          • It is a generalization, although I’d add — also a generalization — that in my circles, it’s rare to ask someone where he or she lives. It’s much more common to ask someone where they went to high school — and move on from there. Growing up, while I lived in Petworth, I’d be more likely to mention living near a landmark such as Solidier’s Home, Grant Circle or Roosevelt rather than a neighborhood, but that could be a reflection of my gender.

          • It’s more than a black vs. white thing, it’s an old-time DC vs. newcomer thing. Kind of like saying DC instead of “the District.” Old timers would just say they live in NE whereas newer folks often say “I live in Brookland.” EOTR used to sometimes be called “far southeast.”

      • Right, and “Downtown” = “Washington, DC.”

  • near either MLK metro or Minnesota Ave/ metro. The second one will have the streetar connecting to it (one day) and will benefit from extending the H Street gentrifiction. MLK “main street” in actuall anacostia has the most potential to actually turn into a little main street. I know someone who bought a 215k condo in the area about 8 years ago and unfortunately it has not appreciated much at all, may actually be worth less. If you don’t mind getting away from metro, there are some amazing views in the hills above MLK. You just need to be in the for the LONG hall (like 10 years). First rule of retail, you need heads in beds. Retail generally lags 5 years behind. Unfortunately, almost any new housing east of the river s all subsidized, lower income. They desperately need market rate density.

  • I was about to write “in before “Anacostia ≠ Ward 8″” but refreshed and realized I was already too late. Either people need to stop being so pedantic, or we need a better name for that area- “Ward 8” sounds too much like “District 9” or “Stalag 17”, and for the last 30+ years “Anacostia” served that purpose well.

    The neighborhood around Park Drive (Good Hope? Woodland?) is beautiful, I’d move there.

  • Does just moving to a neighborhood with a high murder rate mean you’re that much more likely to get murdered? I’m pretty sure they’re not just murdering random people, but people who they have some kind of connection to.

    • I assume this a joke? Are you really arguing that being around more murders does not increase your likelihood of also being injured/decrease your standard of living?

      • I dont think MMMkay mentioned quality of living/injury in his comment, he simply noted likelihood of being murdered. And its not a joke considering there are people that legitimately ask “will i get shot if i go to Anacostia”, b/c everyone that lives there has been shot at some point.

    • I wouldn’t be afraid of being murdered, though I would be afraid of other crimes such as assault, robbery, theft, etc.

  • Honestly, if you don’t know enough about EOTR not to call all of it “Anacostia,” you probably do not know the city well enough to evaluate the individual neighborhoods and decide whether any of them are within your comfort level. No one else can really tell you if YOU should live there. I wouldn’t, simply because the more stable neighborhoods (Hillcrest, Fort Dupont) don’t have great transit access and that’s really important to me. Also, to PP’s comment about Minn Ave – the streetcar connects at Benning Road IIRC. Neither of those neighborhoods are particularly safe relative to, say, developing neighborhoods WOTR like Bloomingdale or H Street.

    • IDK, I think that’s a little unfair. I don’t really know much about any of the neighborhoods in the west part of the city, for example (in my head it goes Georgetown, ?, Tenleytown, Maryland) but I’m not sure that means I could not move there. I mean, I know that POPville is a somewhat self-selected group of folks with much higher than average knowledge about the city, but I don’t think everyone has to know every nuance of neighborhood boundaries before they move to a place.

      • I think when you’re moving to an area where neighborhoods vastly differ in terms of safety, it’s very important to know what’s what. It’s one thing not to know Forest Hills from Chevy Chase and another to not know Deanwood from Hillcrest.

    • In the OP’s defense… I don’t think it’s clear from the original post whether he/she is equating “Anacostia” and “East of the River” (although it’s entirely possible that he/she is).
      Imagine if the original post had read like this:
      “I don’t know much about Tenleytown other than its reputation — boring, full of NIMBYs, etc. But, looking at homes, it seems like I might actually be able to afford something in upper NW. Are there parts of Tenleytown that are more vibrant than others where it might be smart to target a housing search?”

    • Settle down. I three blocks south of the Petworth Metro station but the neigborhood is actually Park View. But less people know that so I often just say I live in Petworth. I don’t think that means I don’t deserve to live here. Good grief.

      • But YOU know the difference, and you presumably also know that portions of Park View have a bit more crime than Petworth proper. Someone who moves there without knowing that might be very unhappy/uncomfortable compared to an informed person.

        • And S/HE knows the difference because S/HE lives there. Everyone should do their research before moving somewhere, and that’s what our fine OP here was trying to do before the border police got itself all riled up–coming to PoPville, one of the awesomest city resources there is! I assume they’re then going to take that info and explore on their own. They’re asking for a baseline. Don’t be so judgy.

  • I recently moved East of the River near Fort Dupont Park/Hillcrest. For the same price as a row house or small condo on the other side of the river – I am able to afford a large single family home that backs to a National Park, plenty of parking, and great neighbors who have lived in the neighborhood for 20+ years. The crime rate is no worse than it is in other parts of DC, if not less since there is not much pedestrian traffic and groups of people loitering around.

  • If I were looking now, I’d move to a house on the east side of MLK in downtown Anacostia. Nice houses, good density and nice bones on the buildings, close to the bridges.

  • No. Way. But partially for the same reason that I wouldn’t move to Virginia. None of my friends live there, so why would I move so far way.

    Also I fear bridges over rivers.

    • Same here. We bought a house in Anacostia but we’re renting it out for now because we’d feel too isolated from friends/family/amenities if we lived out there. Even living in Capitol Hill like we do now I feel like it takes forever to meet up with most of my acquaintances, who are concentrated in the city core. But it would be a lot better than living in Virginia.

  • I’ve lived in SE for 8 years and have not had a problem with crime. I was wondering about moving out of SE but it seems the crime happens in the other parts of the city. Maybe the residents that everyone are so scared of that live in SE go outside of their neighborhoods to commit crimes and everyone in SE is actually safe……… or maybe the police just don’t do a good job anywhere in the city? I never hear of home burglaries or muggings in SE or packages stolen from doors…….. #ImJustSayin

    • I think a lot of the crime has moved out to PG County (or if the criminals in PG want to commit theft crimes in DC they come to Capitol Hill where there’s a greater return on the investment).

    • Packages get stolen from doorsteps in the Sheridan Station townhomes.

  • One of my co-workers lives in Hillcrest, and her place/street is lovely (as someone else pointed out, no access to transit, though, and she sends her daughter to private school.) I went to a show at the Anacostia Arts Center several months ago and thought the neighborhood was fine, and has a lot of potential. However, I’d likely not move there since there just aren’t a lot of amenities that I value/have grown accustomed to.

  • YOU ARE ALL UNBELIEVABLE WITH THIS ANACOSTIA, EOTR, HILLCREST BS! If you look at the original posting ( they only said Anacostia! I am pretty sure PoP added EOTR. Ugh.

    Anyhow, we looked there briefly. I couldn’t see myself there, but I agree with what some others said: if you’re in it for the long haul (10 years) I think it’s a good bet. Anacostia has so much potential.

    • Anacostia is a small neighborhood — about the size of Adams Morgan if not smaller. Admo has the character to be separated into different “parts” but I’m not sure about Anacostia. It’s mostly residential, pretty homogenous, I don’t think it matters what “part” you move to.
      Seems like the OP was using Anacostia as a placeholder for EoTR.

    • I go back and forth on that one. If you look at the commute times from most of those neighborhoods to most of the job centers in the area, it’s not great. And the heavy concentrations of poverty are not going anywhere fast.

      • Huh? Tons of people work in the Navy Yard and Capitol Hill area which is extremely close. Many more work in the ‘burbs which are easy to get to via 295 which runs right through there. And it’s only a few metro stops from Penn Quarter, etc.
        I think most NW neighborhoods are a lot less convenient for commuting.

        • I will say it’s a long commute if you happen to work in Tysons or Reston though.

        • Also CH is (maybe) shaping up to be a big job center.

        • My commute would have been amazing from Anacostia as I work right off 395 in Alexandria. My commute isn’t horrible now, but it averages about 35 minutes where it would be 10-15 minutes from Anacostia. Most of my commute is just getting out of the city!

        • Yeah but even if YOU work in Navy Yard, your SO may work in Tyson’s/Arlington/Downtown. And the commute issue goes double if you have children. So for a larger number of people, it’s going to be much less convenient than most WOTR ‘hoods that have blown up so quickly in the past decade. St. E’s is pure speculation at this point, especially since the local economy has gone a bit soft. I’d love to see it happen, but I put the odds of it happening in the next decade at well under 50-50.

          • If you’ll forgive me for making a NYC comparison – look at the South Bronx. There are fundamentals there that explain why it’s been slow to develop. Many of those fundamentals are present EOTR as well.

          • Think it depends on the field you’re in. My partner and I have STEM jobs, all of which have been more convenient to Anacostia than WOTR neighborhoods. But if you’re a lawyer it’s a completely different story.

          • The point is that you may be facing a much smaller pool of people for whom the neighborhood is convenient, which is compounded by very very poor public schools and lots and lots of low-income housing that may be around for a long time. All of these things can have an effect on home prices. My only point is that people who buy there thinking that in 10 years they’ll be sitting on a seven-figure house should consider these factors and should consider that they may be sorely disappointed at the end of the day.
            Obviously I could be totally wrong and things could change really quickly there – but it seems like some places EOTR have been getting a bit more hype than they deserve (home prices in Anacostia, in particular, just don’t make any sense at the moment), and inexperienced investors ignore the potential downsides of investing EOTR at their peril.

          • I disagree that it’s a much smaller pool. Nearly everyone I know works in NoVA now. The jobs are moving away from Downtown (and it’s not like Anacostia is terribly inconvenient to Downtown).

  • justinbc

    I wouldn’t move there myself, but I would definitely buy an investment property and fix it up to rent out. The Historic District has already gone up quite a lot in value, almost to the point it doesn’t make sense to get into it if you’re this late, but I’m sure there are still some deals down there. We found two properties that we really wanted to buy to turn into rentals but couldn’t get the owners to sell (they were empty buildings).

  • We moved EOTR last winter and so far have loved it. We ended up buying just outside of the Deanwood neighborhood in Ward 7. We looked at many homes in Historic Anacostia but didn’t see much in our range. We fell in a weird hole where we couldn’t afford the move in ready/flipped homes and couldn’t afford the needed renovations on the houses we could afford. We tried to wait it out until a well maintained home came on the market but nothing was coming up in the time frame we needed.

    Historic Anacostia has a great coffeeshop (Nurish Anacostia) and a couple of restaurants. Just today it was announced that Busboys and Poets was moving in.

    • We managed to find an exception, but I agree that almost all the homes for sale in HA either need a lot of work or are poorly-done flips.

    • Well hello neighbor! I too live in Ward 7, just outside of the Deanwood neighborhood. And I love everything about it! Though my neighborhood is not overflowing with amenities (yet), there are gorgeous parks, walking trails, and bike paths and I’m still within walking distance of the Metro. This neighborhood is already great (and affordable!) and will no doubt be busy and vibrant one day as well.

  • The only nabe EOTR that interests me is Historic Anacostia. I would not move there today. But I think it is very close to the point where I would move there. It needs a little more change. I am excited by the BB&P opening – though that will not be till 2016, IIUC. The conversion of Barry Farms to mixed income is also a positive, but I think that may be a while because of resident opposition. While I understand resident skepticism – DC has botched the New Communities initiative badly, by not replacing units in a timely fashion – that delay does make me less willing to move to that area any time soon.

  • It depends.

    Do you like to drive or are you willing to take the bus? There are some lovely homes that are not very close to metro and in pretty quiet neighborhoods (Fairview, Randle Highlands, Hillcrest, Ft. Dupont, Fairfax Village).

    Do you need good neighborhood schools or are you willing to lottery for other schools/pay for private/try a school with lower test scores (I think Beers and Savoy have the most potential)/don’t have kids?

    Are you willing to fix up a house? Or can you afford a flipped home?

    Do you want more diversity or are you ok in a neighborhood that is majority black (and I don’t know OP’s race–some people of any races prefer a more mixed environment)?

  • I ran through historic Anacostia last Sunday on my long run, and would absolutely buy there. It reminds me of many parts of Mt. Pleasant in that there were beautiful, unique houses, not far from newer, worse ones or ones of similar age that irretrievably falling apart.

    To be really specific, it would be MAGIC to own that spot at the top of the hill on Maple View. However, I wouldn’t spend the money to buy this place nearby on Talbert when the market for the area is still maturing. There are some really nice homes in the area. You just have to look.

    • I own that house on top of that hill, 1344 maple view place, am thinking of selling, personal reasons. 4b/3.5b, 3300 sq feet, incredible views, big lot, etc. Anybody in popville interested?

      • If I didn’t have wife and kids, I would totally buy. We’re happy with where we are but if the kids ever grow up, it’d be sweet.

  • I purchased a townhouse in Anacostia 7 years ago after renting in VA for almost 3 years looking for a place that I could afford. I have a front and backyard that backs up to Fort Stanton Park. The neighborhood is rapidly changing for the positive. Each year I’m more excited about the growth. My property value is less than what I paid, but is creeping up each year. Long way to go. The single family homes are a better deal. Yes, you have to be in for the long haul. Love Anacostia Park, close to Nationals Stadium, Navy Yard and Barracks Row. I work uptown near Michigan Ave NW and N. Capital St. Takes less than 30 minutes to drive. When I worked in Rosslyn, less than 30 minute drive. The major issue is that every new housing development is 70-80% low income housing. That has to change!!!

    • “The major issue is that every new housing development is 70-80% low income housing. That has to change!!!”

      Amen to that! I think the biggest reason more professionals aren’t renting in Anacostia is that there isn’t much housing that is appropriate for them.

  • Early this year I purchased a home in the Uniontown section of Anacostia proper. Yes, we have sub-neighborhood names too. It was a total fixer upper and I was lucky to be able to do what I wanted. It was a long search though. Most of the flips in the area are unacceptable. As a single woman I am aware of my surroundings and make different choices about cabbing or metroing home after a few glasses of wine than I made living in other parts of the city. Which probably just means I made bad decisions before. That being said, the worst I’ve experienced is someone smashing my pumpkin. My neighbors are friendly and look out for the other people and homes on the street. I can own a 1800 sq ft house with big yard and parking pad here. I previously lived in a one bedroom on the Hill.

  • I’m a third generation Washingtonian. I grew up in Logan Circle, Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, always in the 20009 zip code. I had lots of friends and family who lived in S.E. (57 Place, S.E., Barry Farms, Orange Street off of MLK, Wheeler Road, etc.) and once I got a car I hung out over there a lot as a young adult. I’ve been to a lot of little nooks and crannies and side streets that most folks don’t know exist. However, I could never move over there. I’m too N.W.-centered. I guess it has a lot to do with where you grow up and what you become used to. Going back and forth across that bridge every day to work or shop would drive me crazy. The crime is probably no worse that where I live now – we still occasionally hear gun shots at night. We still have muggings and stick ups. Never in my lifetime did I even think I’d see the improvements that I’ve seen over there. All the new townhouses that have been built (Wheeler Creek), the Metro, renovating the high school, etc. I’m stunned but happy. Anacostia and the rest of S.E. have been D.C.’s step-child for way too long. I’m not putting EOTR down, there are certainly some nice neighborhoods over there but I just think I’ll stay on this side of the river.

  • I’m white and I’d have no real qualms about moving EOTR except for the shear lack of basic amenities (restaurants, quality grocery stores, pharmacies), and that the few commercial corridors tend to be a bit dodgy. I think I spend more time EOTR than most white folks so I know the area pretty well, and while there are some areas I avoid, there are a lot of great neighborhoods filled with friendly, hardworking people who take pride in their communities. Tell you this much, I feel safer walking down MLK Ave. in Anacostia than I do in parts of Columbia Heights or Petworth at night. Most folks are as nice as can be to me; only a tiny handful ever have been hostile to me (perhaps due to my race). Hillcrest and Fairfax Village have always been, and continue to be, very nice places to live.

  • My husband, five year old daughter and I live in Hillcrest (since 2000–prior to that lived on the Hill for three years). We love Hillcrest and have a WONDERFUl network of families who live here. We gather regularly to celebrate birthdays, organize hay rides, Halloween parties and trick or treat in the neighborhood. There are both men’s and women’s groups that meet separately– guys have a game night w/ beer; ladies typically will have great food and lots of wine and other options for non-imbibers.

    Having said that, I made a point this summer to check out the Anacostia Arts Center on Good Hope Road in the heart of Anacostia. There were some great artists/exhibits, as well as some cool, funky shops inside. The female chef at Domku has opened a cafe called Nurish–great sandwiches and baked goods. And a sadly overlooked historic gem is of course, Frederick Douglas’ home, Cedar Hill. I have taken the tour several times: outstanding!

  • Also, we’re fans of ordering pizza from Mama’s , a small, local business in Anacostia, and when my husband and I used to commute together, we would occasionally stop by Union Town Pub for a glass of wine before heading home (to Hillcrest). I have been remiss in checking out Big Chair Coffee, but I’ve heard good things from others. Oh, and the Anacostia Playhouse (formerly the H Street Playhouse) moved from H Street to Shannon Street in Anacostia and has had some thought-provoking performances.

  • If you want a place really, really close to the metro station, WCSmith is building an additional 20 townhomes in the last phase of Sheridan Station. You could walk to the metro in about 3-4 minutes depending on how fast you walk. I work at HUD at the L’Enfant Plaza metro; it takes me about 15 minutes door to door. My little street has about 52 middle-class to upper middle class households. I would say that convenience is one of the main reasons my neighbors chose Anacostia.

  • I purchased a house in Anacostia 5 years ago and so far I love it. I have friends who purchased in other parts of the city that paid two or three times the amount of money I paid. My biggest problem with Anacostia is that it’s a food desert. Hopefully the redevelopment of skyland shopping center and the announcement of Busboys and poets newest location will bring new delopment.

  • I lived (and owned) in the Anacostia/Fairlawn area off Minnesota Ave for 9 years up until early this year. Now I live in the new development near the new Costco. I never really had any problems while living there . I stayed there all those years thinking that things would get better (amenities wise). I attended many community meetings where promises of new developments only to watch them get delayed or scratched all together. I agree with one of the commenters about the comparison to South Bronx/NYC. There’s just too much going on over there with poverty and isolation to keep it from being as comparable to West of the River. I still think it’s going to get better, but instead of 5 years ( my thought), I think it’s about 10 years away. However, there are really some good solid neighborhoods (Hillcrest, Fort Dupont, parts of Randle Heights and others) with very hard-working people, so if you move there with hope of finding a home with great value in a solid neighborhood with limited amenities, then EOTR is the best place to live. But if you’re looking for a lot of amenities and good schools, then I suggest you look at other parts of the city.

  • I used to rent in Sheridan Station. Loved the neighborhood and the fact that I could hop on the metro at Anacostia Station and be virtually anywhere near Downtown in minutes. The only reason I moved was because of the fact that I exceeded the income cap for the building and couldnt find anywhere else in Southeast that was affordable and not income-restricted. I had to bite the bullet and move to Maryland which isn’t all that bad since my commute to my job is cut in half.

    Folks are right in saying that the area is a virtual food desert. There is a Giant on Alabama Avenue but after a couple times of going there and not caring for their selection, I stopped going there and ended up doing all of my grocery shopping at the grocery stores in Alexandria. As far as restaurants go, any time I wanted to grab some food, I’d have to cross the bridge to go to Barrack’s Row or go even farther into Alexandria.

    If I were in a position to purchase I definitely would’ve looked into one of the townhouses at Sheridan Station or nearby. I’ll definitely keep the area in mind in the future. Seems like $ goes so much farther EOTR.

  • My husband and I moved east of the rive almost 3 years ago, though to the Capitol View neighborhood not Anacostia. We’d also looked at houses in Anacostia, but fell in love with our house farther north. I think the takeaway from our experience is that it really depends block by block which parts feel okay and which don’t. So, if you see a house you like go and view it and walk around a bit. You’ll be able to tell if you’ll feel comfortable there. Be honest with yourself about whether you’ll be okay living in a neighborhood where you need to be a bit more safety conscious.

    On the very positive side for our neighborhood at least: We like it in Capitol View because I have a short commute to work in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. There are a lack of some amenities, but it’s easy to go to Capitol Hill (by metro or bus) or out to Maryland (in our car) for things we can’t find in our neighborhood. Our neighbors are friendly and look out for each other.

  • i call everything south of the river “arlington”.

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