GDoN Revisited by Hipchickindc

by Prince Of Petworth April 9, 2010 at 11:00 am 13 Comments


In real life, hipchickindc is licensed as a real estate broker in the District of Columbia, and as a real estate salesperson in Maryland. Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below. Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Properties: 1613 Harvard St NW

Original List Price: $198,900.-$503,900.

List Price at Contract: $198,900.-$503,900.

List Date: 1/21/2010

Days on Market: 13-77

Settled Sales Price: Not available yet

Settlement Date: Not available yet

Seller Subsidy: Not available yet

Bank Owned?: NO

Type Of Financing: Building may be FHA eligible but certain percentage of units must sell first

Original GDoN Post is: here.

Listings are: here.

Website for building is: here.

Ok, let’s get a few things out of the way first.

1. This is an unusual Good Deal or Not Revisited (GDoN-R) because the units in this building have not gone to settlement yet. I had the opportunity to tour the building with clients last weekend and thought it was way worth revisiting. Don’t worry. I’ll Re-re-visit after they start going to settlement.
2. I am a huge fan of anything in Best Addresses. If you’re not familiar with the book, go take a peek next time you’re in a local DC bookstore. Best Addresses by James M. Goode. Your real estate agent probably owns a copy.
3. Although the company that I am affiliated with represents the developers of many new construction projects in DC, we have absolutely nothing to do with this one. I just happen to really like it.

The Embassy is located on Harvard St NW, just west of 16th Street. Built in 1924, the building opened for rentals in 1925. One of the fascinating aspects of Best Addresses is the perspective of time frames in the real estate development history of DC. The time span of 1919-1931 is referred to as “The Boom Period”, with a significant number of luxury apartments and co-ops built during that era. (The following years of 1932-1945 are described as “Tightening the Belt”). Continues after the jump.

Given that the property was held as a rental until the recent condo conversion process, it is not surprising that many people who commented on the original Good Deal or Not (GDoN) post mentioned their experiences living in the building. Because this was a conversion from rental, residents renting at the time of the conversion were given first opportunity to purchase.

I often have clients whose criteria in finding a condo is that the building be “not too large”. Since the exterior of this property is very large, it is important to note that there are fewer than eighty units. The number of units is reduced simply because the units themselves are quite large.

There has been a stunning historic restoration of the expansive lobby, as well as of the units and the rest of the building. While they updated kitchens and systems, I particularly liked that the developers saved historic elements where they could, including solid wood original doors, inlaid wood floors, nine foot ceilings, and the spacious floor plans. Amenities include a fitness room, a bike storage area, and an elevator. Several of the units we saw had balconies, including one with a fantastic view of the Spring treetops framing the National Cathedral.

Drawbacks mentioned by some of the GDoN commenters included common laundry in the basement (we were told that putting a washer/dryer in the unit was an option), having only one bathroom, and having closets located outside of the actual bedrooms. I should note that although in some cases oddly located, the closets that I saw were gargantuan.

How about pricing? The list of units currently being marketed can be seen in the link above. The mix of units includes studios, ones, and two bedrooms. Unit 403 is a 450 square foot studio priced at $198,900. Unit 307 is a two bedroom, one bath home priced at $503,900. for 1,118 square feet. Without considering Seller-paid closing costs or incentives offered such as a year of condo fees (advertising says this is an offer for a limited time), an overall average price-per-square-foot falls into the mid $400 range., which is very much in line with nearby properties, as well as similar grade new construction/conversion projects around northwest DC.


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