“We wanted to provide buyers with large units and lots of space for living and storage at an obtainable price point.”


From a press release:

“On the heels of Pope Francis’s historic visit to the Brookland neighborhood, the area will soon attract more visitors: homebuyers checking out Lock7 Development’s all-new condominiums at Brooks Row. This community of 22 townhome-style residences at 2724 12th Street, NE will offer two-level living, private outdoor space, and designated outdoor parking. Urban Pace is about to start presales for the two-bedroom and three-bedroom condominiums, which are scheduled to deliver early next spring, with prices starting in the high $400,000’s.

“Brookland is a really unique part of the city because it’s less dense than many other neighborhoods, so there’s a great deal of trees and green space,” said Lock7’s David Gorman. “It’s also Metro-accessible and very walkable, and you get a lot more space for your money than in other urban neighborhoods.”

“However, the single-family houses in Brookland have gotten very expensive, with a handful of recent sales topping $1 million,” Gorman went on. “We wanted to provide buyers with large units and lots of space for living and storage at an obtainable price point.”

Lock7 acquired contiguous parcels on the corner of Franklin and 12th Streets, NE from two separate owners, and assembled a 19,000 SF site for ground-up construction. “We decided on townhouse-style condos,” he explained, “which allowed us to keep unit prices relatively low while giving buyers great value for their money.”

In addition to spacious two-level floor plans, Brooks Row offers appealing “green” features including a green roof, pervious parking lot pavers in place of concrete, high efficiency heating and cooling, Nest learning thermostats, Energy Star GE appliances, and dual flush toilets.

Individual homes feature abundant natural light, private outdoor space and nine-foot ceilings. The finishes include five-inch oak flooring, Porcelanosa kitchen and bathroom tile, white quartz countertops, European-style frameless cabinets and polished chrome fixtures.

“Brooks Row has a great location within walking distance of both the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations, as well as a variety of popular new restaurants including Menomale, Brookland’s Finest, and Steel Plate,” said Matt Dewey, Vice President of Sales, Urban Pace. “It provides a rare opportunity for people to own a large new condominium at an attainable price point in this booming neighborhood.”

“Much of Brookland’s housing stock is old, and a lot of the recently built new housing has been rental apartments,” noted Gorman. “In order to mature as a neighborhood, Brookland needs more new homeowners. With Brooks Row, we are providing people with the option to stay in the District near Metro and get more space, without spending a million dollars or feeling the need to move to the suburbs.”

31 Comment

  • Huh?
    1. How are they selling these? They are worth more than the listed price – are they going to take offers over ask, thus voiding out what they’re trying to say? Does income matter? Can you rent these out (i.e. make a lot of money)?
    2. DC in general needs affordable housing. Not affordable housing with private roof decks, 3 beds/3 baths, etc. It’s a nice idea, but if you can get more units at an affordable price point having them by 1, 2 and 3 bedroom standard apartments, that’s a lot more worthwhile in providing affordable housing.
    At some point, beggars can’t be choosers.

    • Oops, I thought it said starting out at $400k, not high $400s. If the ground level 2 bed/2 bath are $499k, it’s not really a steal.

      • Yeah, I would not characterize “starting” in the high 400’s as “affordable housing” in the conventional sense. But I guess it’s more affordable than $1 million.
        Funny how Brookland real estate was going nowhere for a long time – neither up nor down – but now has started booming.

        • I met with a real estate agent who’s one of the top producers in the city last week regarding pricing my house. He said that the new limitations on pop-ups were causing developers to increasingly focus on parts of the city that weren’t booming as quickly as areas like Columbia Heights and H Street have been. So, turns out the people who claimed pop-ups *decreased* affordable housing despite adding more units of available housing at a lower cost than an intact rowhouse were wrong, as basic economics would suggest they were. And those of us who used basic economics to recognize that taking a $700k house and splitting it into two $450k units was creating affordable housing, not “inducing demand” (which is of course a fake concept), were right.
          You see this in bloomingdale already – where every rowhouse conversion was previously a split into two units priced to be affordable for middle/upper middle class incomes, developers are now renovating them into spectacular single unit houses that are selling for $1-1.5M to wealthy people.
          We’re going to end up with a city in which only the rich and the poor can survive, a sad outcome for many reasons, not least of which being that the schools will never truly turn around without a large population of middle-income children since the rich will simply send their kids to private schools.

          • The whole “induced demand” argument was baloney from the start. It was pretty transparent BS from folks who “already got theirs” and thus wanted to increase personal equity at the cost of overall “affordability”. I bet many such folks fancy themselves as do-gooder liberals.

          • To be fair, the cost of single-unit homes could also go up if zoning is hospitable to them being transformed into 2-3 units, since there’s an opportunity cost to keeping them single-unit.
            But that should only be a positive to people who already own them. Unless, as is most likely the case, they’re just worried about parking and traffic.

          • Yet the condos that come from splitting a house are still not affordable.

          • Fact: affordability is relative
            Fact: two condos at ~$700k per are more affordable per housing unit than one $1.2m house
            So now instead of increasing density and increasing the city coffers (two homeowners making mortgage payments on $700k condos are contributing more to city taxes across the board than one homeowner paying down a $1.2m mortgage), you’re getting rid of one crucial way to build affordable housing for the masses – having the city subsidize the difference.

          • Yeah you’re right except that they are not turning 700k homes into 2 (450) units. Most of these conversions units sell for slightly less than what single renovated homes are going for in their perspective neighborhoods. Ie: 1010 8th st NE, just came on market. Lower unit (825k) upper(895k) and the original home sold for 675k. Granted they both have more square footage than the original home.

          • ” (two homeowners making mortgage payments on $700k condos are contributing more to city taxes across the board than one homeowner paying down a $1.2m mortgage)”
            So then the question becomes, how many people with $700K to spend on housing want to spend that on a 2-bdrm condo? If you’ve got a family and want to live near amenities, your choices these days are between that 2-bdrm condo and the million dollar house. If you find a more affordable house, i.e., <$600K (which is still too high for many families) you have to come with cash on hand to beat developers.
            I'm definitely rah-rah for high density development and making space for as many taxpayers as we can squeeze in. I am not for squeezing out all the opportunities for people to invest and stay in the city long term. Condos are not long term.

          • “Condos are not long term.”
            Well, they’re longer-term than apartments.
            Density and efficiency means being forced to do more with less space all-around. It’s entirely feasible for families to live in smaller spaces; the poor have been doing it throughout suburban sprawl. And everyone was doing it before that (compared to today). Yes, we may lose some wealthy families to the suburbs (where they have their own development-related issues to figure out as well, and less infrastructure to accommodate it), but wealthy families can (and I believe will) make do with half the square footage

          • Notwithstanding the pop up limits, a number of rowhouses in Park View have been/are being renovated into 2-4 unit condos. Frankly, I think sticking a pop up on top of the kinds of beautiful brownstones that are on 1st St in Brookland would be a crime.

          • We have been in our 2 bedroom condo for 11 years now, with no plan to leave. Our eight-year-old loves it too. Is that long term enough, or should I write back in another 5 or 10 years?

  • justinbc

    That’s interesting. Was just discussing with someone this weekend how all of the new development seems to be going flashy, high-end, with no “normal” apartments or condos for sale unless you’re buying in an old building. This sounds like it has the potential to be a welcome change for many people.

    • It’s easier to finance apartments than condos. It’s easier to recoup the costs of planning/construction with luxury apartments than barebones ones, partially because of overly restricting zoning and building code policies. New buildings might filter down over time, but there’s going to be a strong market incentive to keep things shiny and new as long as new construction is limited/restricted.
      If there’s a market for building and buying things like this, there’ll be more of it, but my guess is this is an aberration caused by some zoning restriction or something. I share JohnH’s skepticism about hitting that price point as well, unless they’re willing to leave money on the table to prove a point. By building these short buildings instead of something taller, and condos instead of apartments, they’ve basically already left money on the table for some reason. Probably forced.

      • The forcing factor is zoning–most of 12th ST NE is C-1. Max height 40 feet. Developers might get some exceptions but they’re not going to be allowed to put up 12-story apartments. “Permits matter-of-right neighborhood retail and personal service establishments and certain youth residential care homes and community residence facilities to a maximum lot occupancy of 60% for residential use and 100% for all other uses, a maximum FAR of 1.0, and a maximum height of three (3) stories/forty (40) feet. Rear yard requirements are twenty (20) feet; one family detached dwellings and one family semi-detached dwellings side yard requirements are eight (8) feet.”

        • Seems odd that they’d forgo building a (short) mixed-use building with ground-floor retail, though. Which would probably mean apartments up top. Maybe it’s an experiment as you said below. Maybe Brookland’s not dense/saturated enough for that much retail to be a wise investment right now. These units selling for the price point described still doesn’t jibe with my impression of the market there, though. So we’ll see what the final prices are.

          • A short mixed-use building with ground-floor retail isn’t really feasible unless the residential portion is apartments rather than condos. Post-bubble changes in lending requirements from Fannie Mae et al. regarding mixed-use buildings mean that the commercial portion of a mixed-use condo building basically has to be less than 20 percent or the condo units will have difficulty getting financing.

          • Right. Which is part of the reason why there aren’t many new condos being built as new construction like this. The market and financing circumstances generally favor mixed-use with apartments.

          • The surrounding neighborhood is not that dense. Right on 12th it’s mixed-use with a short-ish height limit and off 12th it’s single-family, some of which is covered by the new pop-up regulations and others which doesn’t lend well to subdividing/popping up. New density is coming *nearby,* but probably not close enough that people would walk here to shop at any retail included.
            Brookland has draw for families, despite the poor schools. You can get a lot of space for your dollar. Given what we’ve seen price-wise in my building (more traditional condo “flats,” on the small side), these are priced fairly. They’re cheaper than a single family of the same square footage, and will probably be nicer (many similarly-sized single families in the area are mediocre flips or long-time owners getting a little carried away with the price inflation in the area). For a long time this summer, just one block away, there was an un-renovated SFH (needed TONS of work to even make it livable) of about the same size as the lower units on the market for around $500K. While it didn’t sell to my knowledge, people would be getting the same space, all new, for the same starting asking price. Condos like these tend to have low fees (it just covers lawn maintenance, snow removal, and other small things…the association fee in Chancellor’s Row is ~$150/month, for example). We’ll see how it goes, but I do know that I have a neighbor who likes the neighborhood, wants to stay, but their unit is too small now that they want to start a family. They’ve looked into this development as well as Jackson Place, since they can’t afford a SFH.

      • “By building these short buildings instead of something taller” — Dunno what the zoning is here, but if it’s R-4, they’re already building to the maximum allowable three above-grade stories.

        • Basically his point, yeah.

          • I didn’t see Dognonymous’s post — two minutes before mine — until after I’d finished posting.

          • C-1 vs. R-4 is mostly irrelevant to the “tall building” comment. justinbc said he wishes there were more things like this. Things like this aren’t likely to be built because they’re an inefficient use of land. The inefficient use of land must have been forced by something like zoning. You’ve both specifically pointed out what zoning is forcing it. The world makes sense.
            Except for the part where a developer bothered to procure this land and go through the effort to build something new on it, when there are still more hospitable places to build and recoup the costs.

          • Would note that this land was a car shop for a while that went defunct, and a church that also went defunct. Acquisition costs probably weren’t that bad. Given the neighborhood dynamics, seeking a PUD would probably not have gone well, even with Steptoe ousted (she still attends neighborhood meetings and raises a stink about everything, now touting that she owns *two* homes in DC…oooohhhh, everyone pay attention to the special lady!).

    • These still look pretty high-end to me, but I think their reasonable price point is a product of being a sort of new ground for the neighborhood. I’m fascinated to see how these do. The big selling feature for Brookland has largely been that it has suburban-size homes and yards but is still near a metro and a 15-20-minute drive to downtown. These are about as well-located as they could be to emphasize the livable/walkable aspects of the neighborhood that have boomed in the past 2-3 years.

      • And I should caveat that “reasonable” is, of course, relative. It’s just that Brookland, while lovely, isn’t quite the same bar-restaurant-Target-on-every-corner world that helps Columbia Heights condos, for example, go for a lot more than this.

  • The syntax of this release makes me grind my teeth.

  • I think this is a great idea. If I had a young family and felt the need to give up my tiny condo, this would be really appealing. At that price, the options for a home with outdoor space and parking are really limited in the city.

  • That’s a lot of words to say “After fighting with the neighbors, we’re only going to be able to make so much money after charging market prices for this area.”

  • brookland_rez

    These seem priced about right for what you’re getting.

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