47 Comment

  • Oh, yay. Another real estate office. I can barely conceal my excitement.

  • What a waste of a great space.

  • What an incredible waste.

  • When prime spaces get filled not by amenities, but by real estate agencies, it could be a sign of an overripe real estate market.

    • Agreed. Is there a classical economics term for a proliferation of rent-seeking businesses like Real Estate agencies? I’m amazed by how quickly 14th street has transformed from boarded-up scary to vibrant retail to boring paper-shuffling.

      • When there’s a proliferation of rent seeking, it means that there’s a disequilibrium in the market. Something eventually gives….

  • Ugh! Nothing against McEnearney, but this is not the third new real estate office on 14th, and they add nothing to the vibrancy of the street. Very disappointed.

    • It’s more like the 5th, I think – Long and Foster, Sothebys, M3 (or whatever, next to Lupo Verde on T), Tilton Bernstein, and Stages…..

      • Isn’t McWilliams Ballard along this strip, too? Maybe by Whole Foods? Seriously, these real estate offices are out of control.

  • This is not a good trend! The corridor loses two retail stores so that real estate companies can open up there. obvious sign that there is no plan for retention or recruitment necessary to keep a retail presence.

  • Hmmm if we only had realtors out there, who had the vision to entice the right businesses for that space. Wait a sec…

  • I’m curious how the business looks at it. Don’t most people do their real estate shopping online up until the point they’re actually touring properties with an agent? I can’t imagine there’s many casual walk ins for investments that large. I would think their office could be in a high rise in Rosslyn for all it matters.

    • I agree. I just bought a condo never once went to my relator’s actual office.

      • I think the idea is to be visible to homeowners on 14th Street so when those owners decide to sell they can be in play for the listings. Additionally someone visiting / moving to the area might walk in the first office they see when ‘scouting’ the neighborhood .

        • Fair enough. I suppose it’s just a personal bias that something so expensive and complex, I would only choose an agent through a trusted personal referral, and if they’re good at what they do, I couldn’t care less if their physical office is a shiny storefront or their Mom’s basement.

        • So Realtors would be smart to rent “sign space” or other advertising space in an actual shop on a popular corridor with a diverse assortment of businesses that is in fact, the very reason people want to vastly overpay to buy property there. No one wants to stroll around on a nice weekend afternoon looking at realtor offices and cell phone stores.

  • I said it when we learned about Washington Fine Properties:

    Seriously?! Exactly How many storefront real estate agencies does one community need in a 3 block [now 5] stretch? We currently have 7 now and if my source is correct another one [Hint CB] is coming to the new construction at 14th and Corcoran.

    Can someone please explain to me why a real estate agency needs (prime) store front? Do people actually walk down the street and say “Oh! Look! A real estate agency…I think I’ll go in and buy a house!”? What a poor use of valuable property in this neighbor’s opinion.

    Im sorry I ever complained about tapas restaurants!!

    Long & Foster
    TTR Sotheby’s
    Washington Fine Properties
    McEnearney Associates

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Just shows how well the real estate industry is doing in DC. The realtors can afford prime locations whereas other businesses cannot. I can’t blame them though. If you are looking for walk up clientele and overall convenience for showing places, this is a great spot to put your office.

    • that’s the difference when you go to other cities and notice the abundance of local shops.

    • But who in the world these days buys property because they happened to stroll by a real estate office? If anything, the sensible person would realize that any company paying premium rents for a storefront is going to be overcharging them one way or another.

  • Given the lack of federal hiring and consolidation among law firms, we’re probably head toward an at least soft landing in real estate. I know of a couple agents who are fairly lazy and rely on the places where they live for a lot of listings. A shakeout will force those folks to work or put them out of business. The hard landing in Atlanta (where a disproportionate number of people were connected to real estate in some way) pushed out even very competent people. A hard landing her could do at least some of the same.

    • I just don’t see it. The slow down in fed hiring and the legal market have been happening for years – but property just gets more and more valuable. As long as people at all are employed in the city, more and more want to move in to the District for a number of reasons. I think a storefront in a prime space like this is 100% ridiculous, but I don’t see a slow down at all. There are now other sectors to prop up that weren’t as big a number of years ago

      • Real estate lags behind employment trends like those. People need time to put together a down payment and start looking. DC doesn’t have the amount of foreign money that’s distorting markets in places like NYC, SF and Vancouver.

        The ingredients for the bubble bursting were apparent before it actually happened. i sold a property in LA as part of en estate near the top of the market in ’04. Things plateaued after that for while and then plunged. The market was already trending down slightly when I sold in Atlanta in early ’06–the bottom fell out 2 years later but there already was softness in many places.

    • I think it just goes to show how over-ripe and over-compensated the real estate industry is in DC at this moment in time. The only reason to even step foot in an agency office is to complete the closing paperwork and loan documentation. And many people even do that around a kitchen table nowadays.
      My guess? In four years – when interest rates are higher – these guys won’t have a presence on 14th Street.
      The entire DC real estate industry lives and dies by the macro-economy. The only thing that would save them is if a Republican is elected president and starts another war.

    • PS – great article on the insanity of the DC market right now. Buyer beware. DC really needs a housing Lemon Law.
      wamu. org/projects/house-flipping/#/part1

      • oh my goodness, that is the scariest and most anxiety-provoking article I’ve read in a long time. I wish I could reach out and help that couple in some way; that developer needs to be drained of all his dirty money. Too bad he’ll be able to hide behind his LLCs.

        • There’s an interesting discussion about the series on the DC Red dit board. Lots of good tips and concerns. One point that was brought up is that all these pop-ups and pop-backs will settle differently than the rest of the older existing structure. Eventually, with time (20 years) a lot of the places being built now will have uneven and warped floors, roofs, etc.
          Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to buy into one of these row houses that have been carved up into multiple units and pop-ed out in every direction.

          • Never thought of that, but that is a great point. You couldn’t pay me either, you have no idea what is behind the walls. In this couple’s case, nothing at all.

      • Heard this on NPR this morning. It looks like the house in question was a GDoN Revisited by Hipchickindc. In the post she went out of her way to complement the seller/developer…


        • Real estate agents want to be in developer’s good graces – they can get exclusive showings for their clients. Gotta know how to butter that bread….
          This parallels the mortgage backed security debacle in the mid 00’s. People are only interested in selling the assets along to the next buyer, without giving a whit about the underlying quality. Brought to you, of course, by Cheap Credit Inc.

      • wait a second, their home inspector wasn’t able to flag to them that they were technically buying a 1-br house? Weird that the inspector gets a total pass in this article.

        • What recourse do buyers have against home inspectors who don’t find or notify them of fatal flaws? If I was a home inspector, I’d ask to be absolved of all liability before looking at a place. There’s just so much that can’t be seen without ripping up drywall.

          • That’s a legal response. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still totally bewildering that they aren’t going after his reputation at least. Fine, you can’t sue him, but I know I would do everything I could to make sure others knew not to use him in the future. The only racket bigger than real estate agents are home inspectors.

  • This is what happens when commercial rent gets too damn high: all the funky little stores like Pulp get pushed out, and the only things that can afford to replace them are overpriced restaurants and real-estate offices. DC needs more commercial storefronts on or near 14th and U.

  • maxwell smart

    This my friends is the tipping point… it’s all downhill for 14th street. It’s riding out it’s last days as the “trendy” “hot” “hip” place to be and will soon be replaced with somewhere else. This is the reality of DC – there can only be one cool neighborhood that all the restaurants, retail, etc. flock to – once it busts, they clear out and move to the next place.

    • What is your history for that? Honestly 14th Street was the first time this has happened in DC in quite a while. Dupont was the center of activity for decades and some would argue still holds its own in some pockets. And it never grew up as fast as 14th Street did.

      14th Street isn’t going anywhere. All this represents is a stabling out. Once you see actual home listings start to drop prices or stay on the market for more than 2 hours in Logan Circle, then you can start to worry. The newness has worn off so the desire for newer places may slow, but I think it’ll do just fine for a few more years. Most of these new restaurants aren’t even four years old. Calm down.

      That said, I’m unsure why the beer garden next door didn’t try to invest in the space and either expand to add indoor space or a full dining experience.

      • Good point and interesting “what if.” By all appearances Garden District is wildly successful and could have used the space.

      • Yeah, I mean, 14th Street is no longer my go-to for “let’s try some brand new places!” like it was maybe a year and a half ago, but it’s still the social/restaurant engine of DC. I tried to go to Lupo Verde a few weeks ago and there was a three hour wait. It wasn’t even a Saturday!

    • Many people buy in close-in center-city for reasons beyond small plate restaurants. 7 minutes on Metro to some of the greatest art galleries/museums in the world. Dozens of theaters, music venues. Very accessible green space in Rock Creek , Meridian Hill Park, the mall. But a neighborhood vibe, being able to walk to neighborhood restaurants & shops is also vital, and this screws that up. So I wish a pox on McEnearney. (Though with such a difficult spelling, they probably don’t need my hex!)

  • justinbc

    Sorry, but I have to laugh at people around 14th Street, where seemingly more businesses have opened in the past 4 years than anywhere else in the city, moaning about losing one amenity for another (real estate agents provide a service, you know?). Those people need office space too, you know, and it only makes sense to build it in an area with high visibility to outsiders, which also has a high number of properties being built.

    • “which also has a high number of rental properties being built.”
      Fixed that for you. Though, maybe it makes sense to be near people willing to pay out the nose for a high end rental. Eventually, they’ll wise up and want to buy instead of flushing $3K per month for a 1BR down the toilet….

  • Bo-ring!

  • For the life of me, I still can’t understand why Garden District/Standard didn’t pounce on this place like Dacha did with the Chinese place next door.

  • This makes me sad, honestly. The incredible speed of development in the last few years has been exciting. Pulp was an early entrant into this area when it was taking off again. Pulp was a fun store (I still miss their card selection). This is a blind transition in a market that fills whatever needs are out there, but I miss the old days already.

    • To me all this says is there is more demand for real estate than funky cards. But I guess that’s too logical.

      • Not more demand – just disproportionately more income. Still, as has been said many times already, there is no need for a realtor to have an office in prime streetfront space. It is just another slap in the face to those who actually value real city living.

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