Cross-country relocation: where to land?

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Topic: Cross-country relocation: where to land?

Real Estate May 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

Cross-country relocation: where to land?

I’ve accepted a job with the federal courts in DC and so I am relocating from California.  Moving out here is almost like moving to another country – and I’m not sure where to begin.  I’ve narrowed down my rental search to three places/areas and I would really appreciate a more informed opinion.  In no particular order:
Archstone Crystal City lofts or towers in Arlington
Penn Quarter (I found rentals at 701 Pennsylvania, 801 Pennsylvania and 915 E Street)
1000 New Jersey Ave SE
Essentially, I’m trying to find a studio or 1 bed (preferred) place for under $1800 a month with washer/dryer in the unit.  I like it quiet as I’m a light sleeper.  Again, if there are better alternatives or if anyone has had any experience with the places I mentioned, I’m all ears!

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Have you looked at Capitol Hill? It is a very quiet neighborhood, parking is pretty easy, and so central to everything. We used John C Formant to find our apartment there. google them, they have lots of pictures of their rentals on their website.

I lived at CHT at 1000 New Jersey Ave SE until just recently.  It is a large building, but it is quiet.  I, too, work for a federal court (and did then), and it’s incredibley easy to hop on the Navy Yard metro stop and get off at the Archives/Navy Memorial (or whatever they’re changing the name to) stop, which is just down the street from judiciary square.  It would be impossible to have an easier commute unless you were literally walking/biking a few blocks from Penn Quarter, but you’ll be paying for it in rent.  I would’ve stayed at CHT but I decided to buy (and I couldn’t afford the new rowhouses in that neighborhood).  2012 and 2013 will bring a lot of new retail/dining/other events to that neighborhood.  The Yards park is awesome and Nats games are fun. 

I have no experience with negotiating rental prices but I think everything is negotiable. I’m not sure how much time you have but you might sign up for the Capitol Hill yahoo listserve and ask about people renting apartments. Some people prefer not to go through Craigslist and you might find a gem. You could also try contacting Yarmouth Management – for Capitol Hill rentals. The Hill would be a good commute to the courts – either on metro, bus, or (depending on where) a nice walk. It’s also a great neighborhood (I’m biased because I live there!).

Just as a note, my work site is at Lafayette Square on Madison Place.  Originally, I figured it would be at the judiciary square, but surprise!  It’s still near three metro stations and several bus stops so I’m not too concerned.  Also, any comments on the waterfront/southwest areas?  I noticed there are some (suspiciously) affordable places there, such as Capitol Park Towers on G Street.

Capitol Park Towers only got two stars on… the rent is too damn high in DC so if it seems too good to be true there might be a reason. 
I’m glad you seem to be resisting the urge to move to Virginia 😉 There’s nothing wrong with Virginia but you might as well experience DC and you can always flee to the suburbs in a year if you hate it!
There also isn’t too much going on social-wise in southwest. It tends to be quiet (which you said you might like) but it’s very residential and not a lot of restaurant (etc) development.
Lafayette Square is a great work location. I’m envious!

I think if you’re working for the federal courts, which I assume means the AOUSC, you would want to live in the capital hill, h street area, or mt. vernon square. Not that these are the only places but you would be within walking distance and it would save you a lot of time. There are a ton of apartments by the metro that are not in apartment buildings though. If you’re working in the AOUSC building or judiciary square area, you would want to be on the red line although I’m on the green line and it only takes 30 minutes to get there. I just wouldn’t suggest Virginia but I’m generally against Virginia regardless. I’d suggest finding a place you can sublet and then see where you want to live when you get here. Then you can move somewhere more permanent. 

I have to echo others–do not move to Crystal City. It’s depressing as hell. I lived in Crystal Towers about 6 years ago and it was a nice building with nice amentities, but being in such a shitty neighborhood gave me an awful first impression of DC.
If you’re interested in VA as an option, look into Old Town. I actually really like it, and it isn’t THAT far on metro (yellow/blue lines). It’s less pricey and really charming. I lived there almost 4 years.
I don’t know enough about you to know whether you’d like H St NE, but I have lived there almost 2 years and I love it. I take the X2 when I head into Chinatown and it goes right to Lafayette Square. H St is sort-of gritty, still, but it has undergone HUGE transitions over the past 5 years and gets better daily. I feel safe, but I know others are wary of it. But we have a great bar scene and are just north of the Hill so it still has a Cap Hill vibe. I recommend making H your northern boundary though–I still feel less comfortable north of H. Others have mentioned John C Formant and Yarmouth–both are really good, but they tend to be pricey places. 

I also am a clerk and also work at 717 Madison. 
Living off of 14th Street (or elsewhere in NW) is by far the easiest way to get to work. I lived my first year in Logan Circle (where there are quite a few large apartment buildings–such as the Jefferson at 1301 M St, which is an 8 minute walk from the court), and now live in Columbia Heights. I’d advise looking for a one-year lease in a large apartment building in Logan Cirlce or U St (~30 min commute) or Columbia Heights (~35 min commute). You can get to work in under 30 minutes, easily, and they’re fun, vibrant, safe areas with a lot of fun stuff to do.

From advice here and my tour(s) of the area, I’ve narrowed it down to a very short list.  Has anyone heard anything about 909 at Capitol Yards?

It would seem the short list plan may fall through, so I was thinking of Bethesda as a backup.  I’ve got this morning and early afternoon to wrap this up, so any info on here or 909 at Capitol Yards is appreciated!

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