March 27, 2006


a drug supermarket on 14th St. in Columbia Heights DC. Being an urban pioneer used to mean buying a fixer-upper in an up and coming neighborhood. So what there were hoes, crackwhores and ganstas (love that talk!!) on the corner; you paid nothing for the property, and everyone knew you would be loaded if you could wait long enough.

Even after "the crash," the buy-low in a dodgy 'hood strategy is not all the prevalent. This is because "those people" (surbanites? out-of-towners?) still plop down 500 bucks-plus a square foot on condos in very risky neighborhoods.

Apparently some don't notice the crime because of the gleam from the granite counters and stainless steel applicances. Live near crime, if you can stand it, buy why pay top dollar? That's what does not make sense.

What's prompted our tirade? The owner of an 18,000-SF Nehemiah Shopping Center has agreed to sell the property, paving the way for a $100-million condominium project. Level 2 Development, which is developing View 14 and other projects, bought from the plaza from Horning Bros. At this very early stage, the plan is to build 225 market-rate residences and ground-level retail space at the 2400 14th St. NW. This is still a very scary stretch.

If we were looking to buy a condo, we would think thrice. If you can get it on the cheap and dont mind a little gunplay, go for it. But don't pay the big bucks, it does not make sense.

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