April 30, 2006


MLK Library: Eyesore or masterpiece? ... Mayor caves on parking. ... Cool condos from Robertson Development. ... Bursting bubble could mean "no change" in prices. ... Height limit in DC. ... NY-style pizza. ... Tenley hardware coming. ... Path coming to the Potomac waterfront. ... Bernanke sees soft landing. ... Downtown church looking to redevelop. ... Zoning fight on Capitol Hill. ... Pricing at super luxe condo. ... Older threads.


ZipRealty lists 2881 properties for sale in DC, as of April 30. Up by 55 from last week when there were 2826 properties for sale in DC. Of the current listings, 774 or 26.9% show price reductions.

April 29, 2006


Twelve units at G'town Heights went on the market in the last few days. Prices for 2-3 bdrms, 2-4 bthrms goes for between $995K -- $1.99M. The smallest of these units is 1600 SF and the largest over 3,000 SF.

Located in Glover Park at 2501 Wisconsin Ave. NW, the development features 5" wide plank walnut hardwood, viking appliances and wine coolers, large walk-in closets, side by side washer & dryer in larger laundry room, 2 parking spaces included amazing amount of space. Here's what on the market.

Is this developer dreaming?

Or is there a genuine shortage of super-luxe condos in DC. Wanna spend a million bucks on a house? You have lots of choices in terms of neighborhoods and style, but to spend the same amount on a condo, its slim pickings. Seems to us that empty nesters fleeing the traffic and lawns of the suburbs want the convenience of condo living. Trade your four bedroom rambler in McClean for what in DC?

Then again condo supply grows each week. Won't these condos come down in price over time like the rest of the market? Maybe its better to wait. Thanks to the attentive reader for spotting these new market entrants.

10% PRICE DROP EXPECTED FOR CONDOS in DC region, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Economy.com. "I could say roughly that prices would fall about zero to 5 percent for single-family homes and about 15 to 20 percent for condos," he said in the WaPost.

What area will fare the worst? DC, the inner suburbs or the outer suburbs?

April 28, 2006


The DC Zoning Commission split 2-2 earlier this month on a petition to down-zone the MedLink hospital property in Northeast Capitol Hill, leaving development plans for the site on hold until mid-May, reported the Voice of the Hill.

Zoning commissioners in favor of down-zoning the lot from its current R-5-D classification — which allows medium/high-density residential buildings up to 90 feet tall — argued that a new classification would respect both the neighbor's and the developer's interests. Commissioners opposed to re-zoning the property argued that it would be unfair to the property owner. The property was zoned R-5-D in 1973 to allow taller, denser buildings for the Capitol Hill Hospital.

Whatever, the zoning has been on the books for more almost 35 years. Anyone who lives in the area effectivly has been put on notice that a big building could be on the way. Now that the market can bear such a structure people have begun to complain.

Hello we live in the middle of an urban center. If one does not want to live in a dense city they should not live here. But to try to stop the density is ridiculous NIMBYism.


DC's First Congregational Church plans to redevelop its current site at 945 G St. NW in Gallery Place/Dowtown into a new church and condos, according to the Downtown Bid. The church is deciding whether to include affordable housing at the site or to donate some of the development funds for off-site affordable housing.

Regardless, PN Hoffman has signed a letter of intent to develop the condos. GPLiving recently wrote about this as well. More details about the project are here.

Its interesting how some church congregations stay in the city and try to reinvent themselves, such as Calvary Baptist Church also downtown. Others flee to Maryland. Still others fight with the "newcomers."

pix from First Congregational Church website

April 27, 2006


Saying mortgage rate hikes are near their end (good news for lenders and borrowers alike), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke today before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and said the following about the residential housing market:

"One sector that is showing signs of softening is the residential housing market. Both new and existing home sales have dropped back, on net, from their peaks of last summer and early fall. And, while unusually mild weather gave a lift to new housing starts earlier this year, the reading for March points to a slowing in the pace of homebuilding as well.

House prices, which have increased rapidly during the past several years, appear to be in the process of decelerating, which will imply slower additions to household wealth and, thereby, less impetus to consumer spending. At this point, the available data on the housing market, together with ongoing support for housing demand from factors such as strong job creation and still-low mortgage rates, suggest that this sector will most likely experience a gradual cooling rather than a sharp slowdown.

However, significant uncertainty attends the outlook for housing, and the risk exists that a slowdown more pronounced than we currently expect could prove a drag on growth this year and next. The Federal Reserve will continue to monitor housing markets closely."

From the Bubblemeter blog.


Running parallel to the jogging track from the foot of the Kennedy Center to Thompson boathouse, construction will begin this spring on the $1.3 million, 1,650 foot pathway, according to the Northwest Current. If only a few bars, cafes and restaurants could be thrown into the mix too.

The walkway to be built by the National Park Service will be separated from the existing bike path by a cobbled median. Also in the conceptual stage is a pedestrian connection between the Kennedy Center and the walkway itself. Connection options include a grand staircase, a ramp or some kind of bridge and elevator system. Imagine walking from/to the Kennedy Center to someplace, anyplace.

Work also is set to begin on the waterfront park in Georgetown. The first phase, which will sit on the parking lot now on the river, will take about 18 months. The second phase is still awaiting funding.

If all goes well the Potomac waterfront soon will be an even better and more accessible place to visit. What would make it even better is kiosk or cafe selling something to eat while doing all this strolling.

Trash issues aside, it would be wonderful if the National Park Service would show some imagination on the food service. (Wishful thinking.) When was the last time anybody went to the Mall and enjoyed one of those soggy, overpriced hotdogs they sell down there. What works at the Grand Canyon does not work in DC. Think Central Park NPS, not Yosemite. (We're dreaming!)


Logan Circle Hardware begat Glover Park Hardware, which begat soon-to-open Tenleytown Hardware, reported Globest.com. The 12,000 SF store will open in the Cityline condo building, where Hechinger's home improvement used to live.

One has to hand it to Gina and Marc, the proprietors of these three operations. They took on the the big chains, which no one said could be done. They opened urban retail hardware stores, which many said was impossible. We hope they have not expanded too fast.

These stores specialize in service, service, service. Hello Home Depot, anybody listening to that message? We doubt it.

April 26, 2006


NOW TRY THE BEST," read the pizza boxes in NYC, but not here in DC. One of the most shocking things about DC for someone who moves here from NY is the lack of good pizza. Ok thinkgs have gotten better in recent years with the arrival of brick-oven style gourmet pizza restaurants, like 2 Amy's, Pizzeria Paradiso etc.

But what about an out-of-the-box pizza pie? Vace in Cleveland Park has good pie, Pizza Mart in Adams Morgan has a good slice (good for night owls) and so does the Georgetown Bagel Bakery (out of the way.).

Add Radius Pizza at 3155 Mt. Pleasant St. Its chewy crust will bring tears to the eyes New Yorkers everywhere. There is the right amount of sauce. Often the top-quality cheese on top has bubbled in the top-notch pizza oven. Best of all Radius's delivers to many neighborhoods. And for free. You dont get that in the Big Apple.

Our preference is to order a "cheese pizza." We recommend resisting the temptation for hams, mushrooms, peppers etc. In our mind, this is zen pizza. Its best in its purest form.

The Sky's The Limit! Not Here.

Standing on the mall, looking at the Rossyln skyline, we always found the Rosslyn skyline to be perplexing. Why there, not here? If low buildings make us special, how am I supposed to feel special when standing by the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument or the waterfront looking at the U.S.A. Today building?

First the facts as originally articulated here. Contrary to what some believe, the height limit is not set by the Washington Monument or the dome of the U.S. Capitol. A revised height law in 1910 did away with the fixed maximum. That legislation, still in effect, states that no new building may be more than 20 feet taller than the width of the street in front of it.

For example, the height limit for buildings fronting a 110-foot-wide stretch of Connecticut Avenue NW is 130 feet, while the limit for buildings facing 60-foot-wide residential streets in Cleveland Park would be 80 feet. At some parts of Pennsylvania Avenue, however, a height limit of 160 feet is permitted.

As suggested here, maybe the height limit should be done away with to encourage low-income housing. Does the height limit help D.C. or collar its economic growth? Certainly there are places where there is no place for tall buildings, i.e. Capitol Hill, Georgetown and Pennsylvania Ave.

But what about New York Ave. or upper Wisconsin, Connecticut or Georgia Aves? What about Anacostia? Wouldn't skyscrapers in Anacostia be equi-distant to the mall to Rosslyn?

April 25, 2006


Sideways. The DC housing market is overvalued and must come down say so many. But what if coming down means staying exactly where it is for a while. True this would be a decline in "real" terms, not in nominal terms, but its hardly is the doom and gloom that so many talk about.

This is what Mark Zandi of Economy.com recently said in the WaPo:

"'There's different ways the market can adjust.' Prices could be flat, he said, 'and the economy can catch up to it, or the market could fall 5 to 10 percent, trade sideways and let the economy catch up.'"


Just like gourmet food in DC used to mean pre-nouvelle French cuisine, high-design meant stately and serious. But 21st century DC is a very different animal. While people like Roberto Donna and Jeff Tunks updated the culinary scene, Roberterson Development led by Paul Robertson is helping to change the design landscape.

Promising to build to "a higher standard," Robertson Development started out redoing townhouses and now has moved onto much larger projects. Their designs are far from the cliched or safe designs DC has seen over the years. DC Bubble salutes Robertson Development for its bold and exciting condo projects.

The Beuregard: A 45-unit building located just off of U Street. Sales on-going.

La Strella: This brand new, seven-story, mixed-use development in Logan Circle will feature a “cubist” exterior and contains seven very exclusive, spacious, upscale residences all built above two levels of retail. Officially to be delivered in spring of 2007. Very cool.

April 24, 2006


D.C. Mayor Tony Williams is backing off a planned crackdown on double-parking around city churches on Sundays, WTOP and the WaPo are reporting.

The city plans to impose a moratorium on enforcement until a task force recommends ways to end squabbles between churches and their neighbors. Photos of the parking mess in Logan Circle can be seen here.

The moratorium was announced Sunday at a lively Logan Circle rally by the chairman of the mayor's interfaith council, Bishop Michael Kelsey of New Samaritan Baptist Church. At the rally, the church-goers blamed new high-rise development in the area.

Police had planned to start ticketing illegally parked cars in May. Mayor Williams explained: “I don’t want to penalize congregations that have been part of the fabric of our city for generations. ... Likewise, we can’t penalize District residents just because they live near a church. This problem has festered for too many years, and I am firmly committed to coming up with a viable solution that will permit our neighborhoods to continue to thrive as enjoyable places to live, work and worship.”


What to do with Dutch architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's creation at 9th and G Sts. NW in Gallery Place/downtown DC? Stirring debate is a proposal by Mayor Tony Williams to build a $180 million new main library several blocks away at the site of the old DC convention center, said the WaPo.

Even with a renovation of the current libarary, "you wouldn't be able to get a 21st-century library like you see around the country," said John Hill, president of the library board of trustees and chief executive of the business group known as the Federal City Council.

What's more, the MLK's design causes problems. For instance, ventilation problems sometimes cause temperatures in the building to approach triple digits in the summer, occasionally forcing midday closures and endangering such important historical collections as the Washingtoniana archives.

Yet the MLK building has its supporters. Another Gay Republican wrote:

"Take a look at the building. It's not pretty, but take a look at the "bones" and imagine what it could be. MLK could be the great library Williams wants, and it could be that library for less money than building a brand new one a couple blocks up the street. Why not use the architectural gem we already have?"
And Grammar.police said:
"I'm not convinced that a Modernist building is at the root of the problem. Nor is it apparent that a chi-chi, WiFi-enabled centerpiece library will solve those problems or serve the system's core underserved constituency. And even granting the Mayor's goals, it's not clear that the Mies can't be that building in the first place, at better cost and to the pleasure of architecture fans the world over. Or that a new flagship building won't undergo the same fate as the Mies, if the District doesn't address the substantive structural problems that created the mess in the first place."

April 23, 2006


Tenleytown debates upper Wisc. Ave. ... Naming rights at RFK. ... Garden District growing. ... Ten great ideas for DC. ... Mexican pastry in Adams Morgan. ... Protest by churches over parking restrictions, now delayed until July. ... Yellow line extended. ... Mixed signals about risk in DC market. ... Mission on the move. ... Rent-a-cop community policing in Adams Morgan. ... Bloomingdale Victorian. ... Nix the Balducci's. .... Older Threads.


ZipRealty lists 2826 properties for sale in DC, as of April 22. Up 227 from last week when there were 2650 properties for sale in DC. Of the current listings, 737 or 26.1% show price reductions.

April 22, 2006


Investors who sought quick profits buying and selling real estate in the Washington region are in full retreat, dampening demand for homes, most notably for condos, says the WaPo.

Notice this article does not mention DC is a place where speculators ruled the day. The DC housing market probably will come down, but panicking flippers will not be a major, contributing factor.

CONGRATS TO BUBBLEMETER for the honorable mention in the WaPo.

Bloomingdale Rose, Daisy Or Carnation?

Located at 36 R St. NW DC, this "smartly renovated spacious 1895 Victorian" is going for $649.9K. You get: 2 bdrms, 2 full baths, plus a 1 bdm apt. (or 3rd bedroom, 3rd full bath) and a 2-car garage near the New York Ave. Metro. There is a large eat-in kitchen w/brushed nickel highlights,Kohler cast-iron sink,beautiful imported Italian ceramic counters.

Lots of Victorian character. More info click here.

Seems like a steep price in a neighborhood that only recently went on the radar screen with the anticipation of the Metro. The hood is coming along, though, with things like EC-12 in the works too.

What do you think? Too high? Too low? Or just right?

April 21, 2006


Balducci's balks from Gallery Place/Downtown store, says the WaPo.

The grocer wants to concentrate on existing stores. With so much competition from Whole Foods, this is probably more about Balducci's than it is about DC. Nonetheless this will make our morning glum and the future less gourmet-centric.


The Adams Morgan Biz Improvement District will hire four unarmed security guards and four off-duty police officers to patrol its streets on weekend nights.

The patrols will be out "walking the streets and will serve as eyes and ears for the police. If they see anything suspicious happening, they will have direct contact with the cops," Josh Gibson of the Adams Morgan BID told NBC4.

Bill Dugan, who owns Madam's Organ, said adding more police patrols is the answer. If Dugan who is not know to respect author-i-tie is calling for more police, things must be out of hand.

When was the last time you saw a cop standing on the street somewhere in this town, exculuding protests and doing traffic control by the Verizon Center and RFK?

April 20, 2006


Another example of a win-win created by the dreaded gentrification. The Central Union Mission at 14th and R Sts. NW sold to developers and condos are coming and the Mission gets a new facility, says the WaPo. Sounds similar to what just happened with the Whitman-Walker Clinic also in Logan Circle.

Alturas LLC agreed to purchase for $7 million the Mission properties, which amounts to 39,000 square feet of space. The firm plans to create shops or restaurant space on the first and second floors and condos on the top floors.

Up in Petworth, the Mission will get a custom-design a facility that meets all of its needs as a shelter, drug rehabilitation center, food pantry and chapel. Not everyone is pleased with the new locale at 3600 Ga. Ave. "We just got a new restaurant and a yoga studio. This would be a major setback," said Alicia Rucker in the WaPo. More spirited rants can be heard here at Petworth News.

Well plenty of upmarket retail and restaurant business happened along 14th st. with the mission there, so its not the end of the world. Or is it?

pix by furcafe


Nearly everyone says the DC housing market is overvalued. Private Mortgage Insurers, for instance, estimate that the DC market is the 18th riskiest in the country.

Other see less risk. Credit Suisse First Boston LLC has declared the region "moderate and stable," assigning it a risk index of five out of a possible 10, says the WaPo. And Metro DC is nowhere near the top of the list of risky places in Economy.com's report, titled "Housing Correction or Crash."

But what is metro DC to us may not be metro to you. PMI for instance does not include Montgomery County as part of DC, but does include West Virginia. What does the prices of a one bedroom in Dupont Circle, which is near tons of restaurants, bars etc have to do with a single-family house in Martinsburg, which is near nothing?

Furthermore, much of the change in the DC market can be attributed to the much discussed paradigm shift. Prices have gone up in DC because capital moved to real estate, but prices are up too because DC is a better place to live.

How aobut this rule of thumb: the risk that you house loses value is in direct proportion to the number of feet you live from a metro station or major bus route, unless your house is worth more than $1 million then the opposite is true (think: Potomac or McClean).


Well "a deal" is better than "no deal," but what about peak hours.

Specifically, the Metro board today will approve an 18-month pilot program extending Yellow Line from the growing movie and restaurant hub that is Gallery Place-Chinatown to Fort Totten during off-peak and weekend hours, said the WaExam. Ward One Council member Jim Graham has been working hard on this issue.

The weekend extension should be especially good news for the developers of the Grid USA project, which will house a Target (Tar-shay), Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and other retailers. Off-peak and weekend ridership has increased by double digits in recent years.

In a compromise to appease Maryland, the DC agreed to back off its opposition to expanding Red Line service to the Shady Grove station during off-peak and weekend hours.

So how do we get rush-hour service on the Yellow line at Shaw, U Street, Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue stations?

April 19, 2006


Claiming that "newcomers" are forcing them out of DC, an interdenominational coalition of Logan-Circle churchs called for a protest over DC officials' announced plan to begin enforcement of parking laws on Sundays against members of their congregations, said the Common Denominator.

A protest rally is planned for 2 p.m. April 23 in Logan Circle, and the group is circulating a petition calling on Mayor Williams to delay that for at least a year to allow a task force to develop a "strategic approach" for addressing parking shortages around many large churches. (The strategic solution ought to be called Metro, by the way.)

The scheme they are complaining about would prohibit random double parking and the arbitrary creation of parking spaces on the median. To make things easier for the churches, an extra 77 parking regular spaces have been created for the general public and an extra spaces were created for Sunday-only parking as well.

At first Logan Circle residents were unhappy about the random parking, now the churches are unhappy. You know when you got something right when no one is happy. Kudos to DDOT and all other who crafted this solution. Let's hope it sticks.


Go to a party in DC where cake is served and you will find invariably find a Cakelove box, which is too bad in our opinion because we find their cakes to be expensive (starting $55 for a seven inch) and dry. Sorry Warren.

What's a cake lover to do? Try Taco Pepitos Bakery in Adams Morgan at 1762 Columbia Road NW. Great looking cakes delivered for only $30, including a frosting message. Admittedly the cakes can be a tad on the dry side too but the wood cabinet, the scooters outside, the bachata on the stereo can overcome deficiencies if one wants to soak in the local color.

Their website promises "in Tacos Pepito's Bakery you will only find authentic Mexican cuisine and an ample variety of genuine Mexican pastries." The pastries are great for dunking in coffee. Furthermore they offer tacquito party platters, real nachos, cubano sandwiches, steamed beef cabeza tacos etc. Ahhh just like Mexico City.

April 18, 2006


Finally someone will pay CASH for your great idea to improve DC. Submit your scheme by May 5 and be eligible to receive a $5K, $2.5K or $1 for the idea that wins, places or shows. All sponsored by the June and John Hechinger Family Trusts and donors to the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

These ten interesting ideas have already been taken. They dont cost alot or they raise money and they have not been defeated time and time again i.e. the commuter tax.

  1. Private landscaping and maintenance of public spaces in exchange for advertising;
  2. Pride of D.C. Street Cleanup Day;
  3. Break Height Cap/Build More Affordable Housing;
  4. The District's schoolteachers, police officers, and firefighters must be able to live a middle-class life;
  5. A Few Playgrounds wouldn't hurt;
  6. Snack Tax;
  7. Police Walking the Streets;
  8. Trash breeds Crime;
  9. Citywide WiFi!;
  10. DC needs a mural program like Philly!


Garden District, "an urban garden center" on 14th St. in Logan Circle, is looking to open a second location somewhere. Entrepreneur Joe Carmack is looking at H Street NE, Petworth - along Georgia Ave. - or Hyattsville. He wants to sign a lease as soon as possible, says the WaBizJour.

Given the lack of places to buy garden products in DC, a second Garden District would be a great thing. The folks at Frozen Tropics are already contemplating ways to bring Garden District to their neighborhood. C'mon Petworth show them some love too and encourage this business and others to stay here in DC.

DC Bubble has to give Carmack a round of applause. Garden District is a great place to buy plants, seedlings, pots, seasonal christmas trees and pumpkins and get some real advice about why the azellas have turned brown and twiggy (Try watering them!). Furthermore, he took what looks like an old gas station and found a new use for it without sinking a bundle into it. Cheers.

pix by Daquella manera

April 17, 2006


Who gets naming rights for DC's RFK Stadium? It's duel is between movie, music, television, computer, gadget, widget giant Sony vs. Bethesda-based ProFunds Advisors, a modest mutual fund company, says the WaBizJour.

An offer by Sony or the mutal fund co. is expected by April 21. The deal would involve a two-year agreement to rename RFK, as well as to participate in stadium advertising.

C'mon DC sports commission. There is money sitting on the table here someone, someone should buy the naming rights.


The WaPo story earlier this month about development on upper Wisconsin Ave. in DC stirred debate on the Tenleytown listserve. Folks are squaring off over the large-scale development, opposing slighly taller buildings, at sites such as the Babe's Billiards Cafe and Martens Volvo.
Count DC Bubble among the incredulous (majority?) who beleive that a few have stopped redevelopment on the forlorn strip. On the listserve, Tom Smith wrote:

"In the 30 years I have lived here, I don't ever remember so many empty storefronts on upper Wisc. Ave. It makes me worry about the small businesses that are still open. ... Much of the area needs a facelift. If somebody thinks what we have is attractive, then they should stand at the corner of Jennifer and Wisconsin and look south up the Wisc. Ave. corridor. It's hard to figure how an additional two stories could compromise a view that is dominated by the various towers near the old Hechingers. ... It seems like the rigidity of the groups cited in the Post article are encouraging even more empty storefronts and boarded up buildings."
Supporting the status quo, Sue Hemberger wrote:

"As a matter of right, the owners of the Babe's and Martens site could build mid-rise (50') condos or mixed use buildings and the neighbors would have no say in the matter. So, no -- neighborhood opposition is not what's preventing substantial re-development along upper Wisc. Ave. It's a few commercial landowners' desire/hope of building much more than they're legally entitled to build that accounts for why certain lots have been vacated but not yet redeveloped. In other words, what we're seeing is speculation and land-banking."

April 16, 2006


Zero-interest mortgages in DC. ... Wolfgang Puck to open DC restaurant. ... If the bubble is gonna burst, why do they keep building? ... DC condos and house prices move in different directions. ... Paradigm shift could steady DC market. ... Museum facelift. ... West Elm comes to DC. ... New York Times take on U Street restaurants, bars and shops. ... ... Soccer stadium on track; Architect unenthused about baseball stadium. ... Hotel bubble. ... "Activists" stop development along upper Wisconsin Ave. ... Older threads.

ZipRealty lists 2650 properties for sale in DC, as of April 16. Down 51 from last week when there were 2650 properties for sale in DC. Of the current listings, 689 or 26.5% show have price reductions.

April 15, 2006


More than half, 54 percent, of home purchased with mortgages in DC were interest-only loans in 2005, accroding to Loan-Performance. Only 2 percent of mortgages in 2000 were interest only.

From the WaExam:

"Homebuyers who use the loans to jump into a “hot” housing market risk taking a harder hit if the market
takes a downturn, Harrington warned. In addition, some homebuyers might not be aware that their mortgage payment will go up once they begin to make payments on the principal, Mosi Harrington, executive director of Hyattsvillebased Housing Initiatives Partnership Inc.

"Interest-only loans have been around 20 years, and they were originally developed with the really financially sophisticated in mind, said Mike Fratantoni, a senior economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association."


With all the restaurants, bars and entertainment in DC, pied-a-terres are growing in popularity, says the WaPo. Some real estate agents say, suburban sprawl and urban revitalization have made pied-à-terres an increasingly attractive option for workers with long commutes or those who spend part of their week in the nation's capital.

April 14, 2006


We knew there was a reason why our ears were burning. The New York Times wrote a travel story about U Street titled: "U Street: The Corridor Is Cool Again." It's always interesting to see how our neighborhoods are perceived by outsiders and the savier people in New York.

The NYT said:

"The transformation [of U Street] began in the late 90's, after three decades of decline and neglect, continues to gather speed, with boarded-up buildings reopened and transformed into galleries, shops, cafes and clubs, and nightlife seekers migrating over from Georgetown and Adams Morgan for a slightly older, less raucous scene where the patrons have a bit more money to spend."

It also said:
"U Street hasn't yielded completely to the new and affluent. Visitors will be accosted for change on busy weekend nights, and they will walk past liquor stores with bulletproof cashier's windows and boarded-up, spray-painted storefronts. But with the old U Street steadily fading, the party scene is what takes the eye."


Prices in DC are coming down for condos. Single family homes are up year over year, but that trend changes depending on which month you look at. So DC is a bubble housing market bursting, like Phoenix, Miami or your-fave California city.

Not exactly. As pointed out by Mose and Lance here, Washington is a different town that it was before the bubble started growing. Sure a percentage of the price growth derives from the foolishness that says prices don't not matter because they keeps going up and up. Well that trend too had to come to an end.

But is DC's fate the same as other cities? Dcbubble does not think so.

We point to the lower crime rate, the retail renaissance, the MCI/Verison center, the baseball stadium, the Metro, all of which have helped DC come out of that 1960's post-riot funk. Prices went up partially in DC because the fundamental of the market have changed. DC is far more attractive place to live than it was 20 years ago, ten years ago or even five years ago. So we believe prices will come down, but not a much as other markets.

Others disagree. Over at the Housing Bubble Blog people are doubtful. One typical comments notes:

"That greater interest in urban living by people likely to pay taxes will wane and then vanish as the crackdealers move back in and reclaim their territory, complete with new Viking ranges and granite countertops . . ."
And another says:
D.C. is always listed in the top 10 most dangerous cities. I walked on K street today and saw a burglary taking place; cops had their guns drawn.

pix by guppieluv

April 13, 2006


The Asian cousin of lifestyle retailer Pottery Barn will open in the old Woodies building. West Elm will open a 37,000 SF store next to H & M, the WaBizJour reports.

This is a good thing. More shoppers downtown, bringing more life on weekends and evenings etc. Good for the restaurant trade. Better for tax revenue. Imagine how much taxable revenue a furniture store must generate. A store that size probably has revenues of more than 100K over a weekend. OK West Elm not local, but national chains control much of the furniture retail biz these days.

KEEP UP WITH GALLERY PLACE by clicking on the Gallery Place Living blog. Nice work over there.

pix by bigwoodie


The National History Museum on the Mall will undergo an $85 million renovation, which will feature a dramatic enclosure for the Stars and Stripes that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the British bombardment in 1814, says the WaPo.

The design adds balconies to the third floor, creates an exhibition gallery for the museum's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and gives the Carmichael Auditorium, off Constitution Avenue, an independent lobby. Sounds like some needed bling-bling.

The bulk of the $85 million will come from the feds and private donors. But $25 million still must be raised from other sources. Let's hope corporate donors don't slip their messages too far into the museum, either in terms of the exhibits, signage or whatever. Maybe we should charge admission to raise the $25 million.

April 12, 2006


Condo prices in DC are going down, but single family house prices are going up. DC Bubble has talked about this trend before, and below are statistics from the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors illustrate the trend.

What's happening? First off there is a strong supply of condos. Also home buyers are probably cashing out there condos and trading up to houses. Inventory for both classes is rising, suggesting prices for both types of property should begin to feel downward pressure. What's more, a disproportionate number of really expensive houses could have sold, throwing off the numbers.


Median Prices:
Mar. 2005: $363,000,
Feb. 2006: $373,450,
Mar. 2006: $359,000, a 3.8 percent drop from last month's median and a 1.1 percent decline over year ago median.

Rising Inventory:


Median Prices:
Mar. 2005: $430,000,
Feb 2006: $435,050,
Mar. 2006: $462,000, a 6 percent rise over last month and a 7 percent rise over year-ago levels.

April 11, 2006


Uber chef Wolfgang Puck in the fall of 2007 will open a new restaurant, The Source, in the Newseum at 6th and Pennsylvania in downtown/Penn Quarter.

"The menu will offer some of my signatures dishes, as well as new creations inspired from fresh Maryland, Virginia, and East Coast ingredients and flavors," explained Puck. This statement only serves to remind us that DC has no indigenous cuisine. Thanks for rubbing it in Wolfgang. At least Puck did not promise to serve sun-dried tomato chili over tofu half smokes and steal a page from Ben's Chili Bowl's limited playbook.

But who really is the Source going to appeal to? When you have a marquee name out in front, the food does not matter so much as "the experience." In town on that lobbying trip, the folks back home in Kansas City won't be impressed if you tell them you ate at Palena or City Zen. Ditto if you venture to "the District" from Centerville. But if you report back that you ate where the menu was crafted by a food-channel star that translates.

Don't misunderstand. The fact that Puck is coming is good for DC. It does bring some badly needed excitement to a town that is fast losing its stodgy reserve. Let's not lose sight of the fact, though, that the Source is a chain restaurant that will simultaneously kick DC up a notch and make it less interesting too.


Forget the housing bubble. For DC hotel space, "the median price rose 20% last year to $151,200 per room, but sales so far in 2006 have priced much higher," reported Marcus & Millichap's Spring 2006 Hospitality Research Report. Very strong market. Overvalued?

Case in point, Westbrook Partners LLC has agreed to acquire the 341-room Hotel Washington from owners Gal-Tex for an amount in the range of $120 million or a whopping $350,000 per-room, said Globestreet. The seller is a family-owned biz that has held the property since 1940.

Located at 515 15th St. NW in downtown, the Hotel Washington has a wonderful rooftop bar with lousy food, weak drinks and an incredible view. The building that the hotel occupies was originally developed 1888 and served as an apartment and a retail establishment. The property was first converted into hotel in 1917.

Let's hope the new owners spruce up a bit.

April 10, 2006

PROGRESS FOR SOCCER STADIUM. Excerpt from WaBizJour interview with DC United CEO Kevin Payne:

WaBiz Jour: How are things going with D.C. United's proposed new stadium?

Payne: The legislation is in the Congress. We don't believe there are any impediments. We believe it has cleared most of the hurdles in the House and the Senate. We've been and will continue to work with agencies of the city including the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. The AWC has recently begun the master planning process on the land, which we expect to be done expeditiously, and then we'll work together on the process of the ultimate land transfer and what the deal will be between us and the AWC. It is our hope that we will be playing in the new stadium either in 2008 or at the very latest in 2009.

WaBizJour: How will that change the team?

Payne: It will change the business dramatically. We are in a situation at RFK where it is virtually impossible to make money. There are no suites. There are no club seats. Our share of big-game revenues are small [compared with what the team would get with a new stadium]. It is difficult to maximize day-of-game revenues because the concession facilities are antiquated. It is just a difficult place to do business.

DONT BLAME US IF BASEBALL STADIUM DESIGN IS TOO VANILLA. Read between the lines from the following excerpt from an interview with HOK Architect Earl Santee conducted by the Business of Baseball:

BizBall: How important is site selection to the overall aesthetics of the stadium design? Did that have any impacts to the Nationals design given the unique process that MLB and the District were under?

Santee: The one thing that's different about the DC job is that in most cases is that historically we do the site selection. Site selection is one of the most crucial aspects of whether or not you create a great building. I think the site we have in Pittsburgh is incredible and immaculate. In DC, that process was an independent process. We were given a program and given a budget and given a site, and asked to design a building and that's where we are today.

In other words, Santee seems to be saying: don't blame us if you think the stadium design in near Southeast is dull. Things are great in Pittsburgh but in DC the site selection process was flawed soooo....


One of the largest residential buildings in Columbia Heights is planned for the site of the old Giant Food store at 3460 14th St. NW that was closed last year when the company opened a new supermarket.

The 315-unit Allegro, with underground parking for 246 vehicles, will feature one bedrooms from the mid-$200s, one bedrooms with a den from the mid-$300s, and two bedrooms from the $400s.

But if you believe what you read here and elsewhere, there is a housing bubble and prices are coming down. So why would Metro Properties, which is about to complete work on the Rhapsody off of U Street, develop such a massive building now? Won't they end up with unsold units down the road because their break even point will be too high?

If the market is so overvalued, why are such significant investment dollars still moving towrad new construction in DC?

pix by rllayman

April 9, 2006


Rock Creek Park of Anacostia ... Relocating AIDS clinic frees development space. ... Georgetown Metro myth redux. ... Property for sale by the stadium. ... Even more coverage on NOMA/Mt Vernon Square in the WaPo. ... What does H street NE mean to you? ... Affordable condos in Petworth ... Mortgage insurers raise a red flag ... JC gets a coffeehouse and a French/Oyster restaurant maneuver ... Brentwood strip mall gets ho-hum additions. ... Ten designer rooms. ... Interesting condo pricing. ... Upper Wisconsin Ave. blues. ... Older threads.

PROPERTY INVENTORY: ZipRealty lists 2650 properties for sale in DC, as of April 9. Up 91 from last week when there were 2559 properties for sale in DC. Of the current listings, 654 show they have price reductions.


The strip on Wisconsin Ave. in DC between Friendship Heights is a disheveled waste that only flat-earthers who eat bologna sandwiches could love. Its the ultimate expression of the idea: "Its good enough, so don't change it God damnit."

According to the WaPo, development has been blocked at:

  • The former Babe's Billiard Cafe site at 4600 Wisconsin Ave NW where IBG Investors gave up trying to build condos and sold the property; and
  • The current site of the Martens Volvo dealership where a group has rallied a nine-story mixed-use building;
Explaining her opposition, activist Jane Waldmann said "How many people say, 'I love to walk in Van Ness'?" Can you get any more cynical and disingenuous? True the stretch along Connecticut Ave. in Van Ness is lackluster, but why not compare upper Wisconsin in DC to lower Wisconsin Ave in Chevy Chase Md where the rich and famous now shop at Jimmy Choo, Barney's, Gucci etc. Or to high-rise-centric Dupont Circle, Kalorama, Cleveland Park and Woodley Park. People like to stroll there, but certainly not in your neighborhood Ms. Waldmann.

The real fight is over the comprehensive plan and proposed changes that would open upper Wisconsin Ave. to more development. Running for DC Council is ANC 3F Chair Kathy Wiss, who is trying to prevent change and retain the desolation. Aesthestics aside, we guess Kath has not heard of transit oriented development, nor the efforts to wean the nation from oil because the people we import it from support terrorists, nor global warming. Density can be a good thing.

But we digress.

April 8, 2006


You never know what the guy next to you on an airplane paid for his ticket -- he could have paid full-fare, paid 90% or even got a 50% discount. With a condo, you used to be able to presume that the people who bought from the developer last paid the most, except for the odd unit or two that for whatever reason are undesirable. Not so in this market.

With prices dropping, people who buy now or even later probably will pay less on a per square foot basis (factoring in different floors and finishes) than someone who bought months ago. Case in point, Parker Flats at 2035 2nd St. NW in Eckington/Bloomingdale where prices now are lower than what they were when the units first came on the market, according to Bubblemeter.

Prices are falling too at the Beauregard at 2100 11th Street NW off of U Street. About 22 units out of a total of 45 have sold so far. (Not all units are available for sale at present).

Take unit unit #306, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a den, for instance. The price just dropped from $840,000 to $799,000. And unit #103, the price dropped from $625,000 to $599,000, and unit #207, the price fell from $789,000 to $719,000. A penthouse unit too -- the price fell from $989,000 to $959,000.

DCUNDERCONSTRUCTION IS UP again and worth checking out.

April 7, 2006


Twice a year the Washington Design Center opens its doors to the general public for a showcase, where designers dress up rooms to illustrate their skills and the wares sold by the center's purveyors of luxury furniture and fabric. Contemporary sofa throw a few Chinese antiques mix in some berber carpet and the right decorative vases ... you get the idea.

The 2006 Design House, opens tomorrow featuring the work of ten local design firms, and is expected to bring in 8,000 to 10,000 visitors to the event that runs through June 6. DC Bubble was always somewhat surprised that the center did not spur on a neighborhood of fancy design stores like in Cady's Alley in Georgetown. No bother, this is a good event to check out the center near Capitol Hill at 300 D St. SW.

The ten rooms are as follows:
Room # 1—Entry SpaceAlex Infingardi, Patterson Design Group
Room # 2—Living SpaceErnesto M. Santalla, Studio Santalla
Room # 3—Dining Space Alice Busch, Great Falls Distinctive Interiors
Room # 4—Georgetown SpaceDana E. Tydings, Tydings Design Inc.
Room # 5—Adult SpaceDennese Guadeloupe Rojas, Interiors By Design
Room # 6—Bedroom SpaceThomas Swingly, McMaster-Wallace Interiors
Room # 7—Lounge SpaceDeborah Wiener, Designing Solutions
Room # 8—Urban SpaceSusan Gulick, Susan Gulick Interiors
Room # 9—Weekend SpaceJoseph Ireland and Julie Weber, J.D. Ireland
Room #10—Outdoor SpaceFine Landscaping Ltd.


We can't help but think they could have aimed higher at the Brentwood DC strip mall. After losing Kmart at the Rhode Island Ave site, a group of eight smaller stores will open instead at 901 Rhode Island Ave where Home Depot and Giant supermakert currently have stores.

Instead of one big-box retailer, the 55,000 SF will be carved up by eight stores. Almost half by A.J. Wright (a discount clothing store), Citibank (already got some of those), Radio Shack (this too), America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses (uh huh), Anna's Linens, Foot Locker (yup), Rainbow, and Downtown Locker Room (got it!). The stores are expected to be open by October.

How bout something, we dont have already, like a big box retailer -- Linens & Things, Circuit City, Old Navy and, yes, even Wal-Mart. Which according to the WaPo is looking at opening urban retail, where folks are willing to have them. Not here though. Spiteing ourselves we said "no."

The new stores will bring "a broader mix," Rick Walker, president of Walker Developments Inc. of Michigan, told the WaTimes. "The area lacking there was soft goods ... is it going to be as strong as a big box? Absolutely." If he asked "better than nothing?" DC Bubble would have enthusiasticly agreed, as of now the main source of enthusiasim comes from the developer.

pix by rllayman

April 6, 2006


Ebenezers, a new coffee house opened on Capitol Hill. (So what, there are a million Starbucks in DC?) Well this one serves lattes and espressos with a Jesus kick. A creme of holy trinity. What's going on is that the National Community Church has opened a coffee shop by Union Station at 201 F Street NE.

The building originally housed a dinner that was opened in 1908 by a German immigrant. By the 1950's, the dinner went out of business and, by the 1970's, the property was abandoned. After nearly "a quarter century of neglect," the building was restored and turned into "one of the largest and nicest coffeehouses in the nation's capital," says Mark Batterson, lead pastor of the church. The decor features postcard tabletops and train tracks in the slate floor.

This is not the first unusual effort by the NCC to spread the word in a new fangled way. In addition to services held in movie theaters in Ballston and at Union Station, the church has a blog, a website and offers podcasts. Generally, the church uses clever and high-tech sounding language to express their belief that the Christian bible should be taken literally. They offer "eye and ear candy" and talk of the their core beliefs in terms of DNA. No idea on where they stand on evolution.

DC Bubble believes that diversity is a great thing. In fact, it's the best part of city living. While we get a little hot under the collar with the part of their message that says one must share their religious views or go to hell, we say live and let live.

In fact, we're going go get cup of Joe. Scratch that a cup of Jesus.

WN-WIN-WIN RESTAURANT SWITCH. Ann Cashion's Johnny on the Half Shell moving to Capitol Hill to fill the La Coline space at 400 North Capitol St. NW, and Montmartre is opening a second location at Johnny's space at 2002 P St. NW, says the WaBizJour. We lose a stodgy French restaurant, a better one expands and Capitol Hill gets a stylish place for fun fare.


The risk of a price decline in the DC-NOVA-Maryland market rose during the three-month period ending April 1, according to the PMI Group, which is the nation's largest private mortgage insurer. As of April 1, there was a 40.1 percent chance there would be a drop in the market within two years. Three months earlier, as of Jan. 1, there was a 34.5 percent chance the market would drop within the next two years. Not good.

Though risk is rising, the numbers still could have been higher, notes the Spring 2006 Economic & Real Estate Price Trends report. The region's "robust economies have kept their Risk Index scores from further advancing in this quarter."

Despite concerns that in the Washington-area market that "employment growth may be tied too closely to the real estate sector and a significant decline in housing affordability, the [area has] posted more than 20% price appreciation over the last 12 months and employment situations remain strong. While "slowing may be on the horizon" with further weakening in affordability, the region's "robust" economy has kept its Risk Index scores "from further advancing in this quarter."

In other words, a blip on the job market could turn into a major drop in the housing market.

April 5, 2006


Doing things a little differently, LaKritz/Adler is planning a 105,000 SF building at 3600 Georgia Ave. NW in Petworth. The $40 million mixed-use development, dubbed the Renaissance, will feature 105 affordable condos in addition to 20,000 SF of retail space. Work will begin next year with a 2009 completion date.

"Designed by award-winning architect Eric Colbert, Renaissance will showcase the best of today's environmentally conscience building materials and aims to set a new standard for sustainable large-scale development in Washington, DC," said a press release.

The developer also brought to life 3634 Georgia Ave., home of Temperance Hall and a Yoga studio.

pix from LaKriz/Adler


Per Capita Personal Income in DC rose by 7.5 percent from 2004 to 2005, said the Commerce Dept. This increase from $51,155 to $54,985 is greater than that of any state.

What's behind the jump? The WaPo points to IRS and Census data indicating that "nationally the incomes of the very rich are rising more rapidly than those of most Americans." DC has "a higher proportion of the very rich" compared with most states, so the figure should come as no surprise, the WaPo declares. Virginia income grew from $36.2K to $38.4K and Maryland income grew from $39.6K to $41.8K

Let's not forget too that there has been lots of condo construction in DC with richer and richer people moving in as prices rise. Empty nesters say: "goodbye Reston, hello NOMA or Capitol Hill." Have the incomes of DC residents increased or are there more affluent DC residents?

Whatever the reason, the higher incomes should help insulate DC somewhat from downward pressure on real estate. If residents have more dough, they have more to spend on condos and townhouses, giving DC a relatively soft landing.

pix by joe calhoun

April 4, 2006


Its amazing how the identity of DC is being fought over almost at every corner. On H Street NE, someone wants to open a Cluck-U outlets but it does not fit within the character of the new 'hood says the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. It wants sit-down restaurants. Very similar to what's going on in Shaw over bars and restaurants.

The ANC, which became majority white in 2002, wants to push "the African-Americans from the corridor," Clifton Humphries, owner of the H Street Martini Lounge, who is black, said in the WaPo. ANC Chairman Joseph Fengler says its about economics, not race. "Once you start saying that Cluck-U is a great place ... how do you turn against a national franchise?" that wants to open a carry-out.

On one hand, DC Bubble can see why the ANC wants to clean things up and not let another take-out open. The ANC members and who they represent have invested in the neighborhood and want to see the blight removed from H St. But diversity is what makes a city interesting. What makes, say Adams Morgan, so great is that you see a British clothing store next to a pizza joint next to a fancy Italian restaurant.

Why not let things grow organically. Clean up the drugs and the filth, but also accept a diversity of business as well. Of course it would be unacceptable to say no black or white people in a neighborhood, so why say only certain types of businesses?


A story on the Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood in the WaPo reports that altogether, about 120,000 SF of retail, more than 1,700 apartments and condominiums and 234,000 SF of offices are under construction in the neighborhood known as the Mount Vernon Triangle. The neighborhood was blighted but downtown is pushing north toward Mass. Ave., so these streets are changing fast.

Didn't we just read all this in the story about NOMA? Should the area north of Capitol Hill be called SoFlo, Capitol Hill North or Hell No (short for Hill North!)?

Mt. Vernon Square from the Washington Post

April 3, 2006


Got a cool million bucks to spend? Some people would buy 5,000 SF McMansion in NOVA. Others might take a second look at a 1,400 two bedroom with granite counters in Kalorama. Others might buy the wine cellar of thier dreams and fill it with first-growth bourdeauxs and white burgundies.

How bout a dumpy townhouse on a 770 SF lot, but its near the baseball stadium? A craigslist posting implores: "Don't miss this opportunity to purchase a prime commercial building plus real estate in the heart of the new baseball stadium." Price: $950K firm.

The lot is zoned C3M that allows a FAR of 6.5, meaning you can build a six-story building with a total of 5,000 sq feet, says the seller. "Ideal use would be a coffee shop on the first two floors, with rental studio apartments for floors three to six." Imagine that a two-story Starbucks.

pix courtesy of JDLand


The myth that Georgetown's well-heeled and well-connected defeated a planned Georgetown metro station won't die easily. As discussed earlier, Metro decided decided against a Georgetown station because of the technical problems and expense associated with building a station there.

In his book, A Great Society Subway, Zachary Schrag, asserts that a Georgetown Metro station did not fit into the Metro designer's vision. He quotes one of the designers of the system who said:

"We were building the system for the commuters, and there were not many people commuting to Georgetown. So why spend the money on something that didn't meet our goals."
Schrag goes on to say technical problems caused by the closeness of the Pototomac River:
"could have been overcome had planners felt a compelling need to serve Georgetown. They did not. They intended to serve as many rush-hour commuters as possible, which meant connecting parking lots, bus nodes and clusters of apartment buildings with dense collections of office buildings in downtown Washington and Arlington."
But still many remember protests from Georgetowners. Schrag notes that some Georgetowners protested, as did people from other communities.
"The residential protests lacked the clear-cut class and racial compositions of
the Georgetown story, for the protests were common to black neighborhoods and
white, to poor neighborhoods was well as rich ones."

Aids Clinic To Score Big on Real Estate Boom

The Whitman-Walker Clinic is planning to sell three properties in Logan Circle and Anacostia in a bid to update and expand its services, the clinic announced. "“We believe, based on the consultants (Jair Lynch) that weÂ’re working with, that we should be able to generate enough capital to do what we want to," Steve Owen, the clinic's finance director, told the Blade.

The three sites that are for sale are:
Administrative Offices: 1407 S St., NW and 1802-1816 14th St. NW
Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center: 1701-1711 14th St. NW
Max Robinson Center: 2301-2303 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE

This is an example of how gentrificationcation and a housing boom can help many different groups. True one of the unfortunate aspects of gentrification is that the poor and disenfranchised get displaced. But more than rarely a not-for-profit group finds itself on the winning side on the equation too. Whitman-Walker, which provides care for AIDs patients, suddenly finds sitting on a bundle and now can cash-out to further its mission of serving people with this dreaded disease.

Maybe its not so bad that a bunch of tax attorney suddenly want to live on 14th St?

EFFORT TO REMAKE TYSONS CORNER AT RISK. Fairfax officials are concerned that if the Dulles airport authority gets control over the project, they will focus on building a line to the airport and not so much on remaking Tysons Corner into vibrant downtown, said the WaPo. However the rail line is built, remaking car-based Tysons into a vibrant community will be a long shot, even if part of the line is underground.

April 2, 2006


Watts Branch Park in DC will be officially rededicated as Marvin Gaye Park today in Anacostia, says the WaPo. With an accessible stream running through it, the 1.6-mile-long park is well on its way to being turned into what one activist calls the east-of-the-river equivalent of Rock Creek Park. See the park on a map here.

Over the five years, thousands of volunteers -- led by Washington Parks and People -- pulled more than 2.5 million pounds of trash, 6,000 hypodermic needles and 78 abandoned cars from the stream and its surrounding land. Following its success at Meridian Hill park in Adam Morgan/Columbia Heights, WPP is working to restore Marvin Gaye Park as part of its mission to reconnect DC residents with its public lands and waterways.


Where in the world is "Capitol Hill North"? .... Fight for the heart of Shaw. ... Fuzzy future for Walter Reed hospital. ... Music museum for Carnegie Library. ... Plans for McMillan Reservoir ... Assessement of DC schools. .... Lots of lockboxes in Dupont Circle. ... Metro to Tysons: Overcrowded plus no one rides. ... RFP for 15 acres. No condos here. ... Why pay top dollar for luxe when you are next to serious crime. ... The good 'ol days. Price chart from 2005. ... Older Threads

PROPERTY INVENTORY: ZipRealty lists 2559 properties for sale in DC, as of April 2. Up 13 from last week when there were 2546 properties for sale in DC. Of the current listings, 39 show they have price reductions.

April 1, 2006


Listed on Craigslist is a 4 bed, 3.5 bath house in a neighborhood called "Capitol Hill North." Well at least the sales agent didn't try to claim the location at 1003 8th St NE to be Capitol Hill proper. Given the property's proximity to Florida Ave, it seems more like Trinidad, not the Hill or the Hill North.

Regardless of what the agents call it, the neighborhood seems ripe for revival. With a streetcar planned for H Street NE, the streets just to the north seem most poised, though they still carry some degree of risk. With the streetcar coming, this could be the next hot 'hood; the Eckington of the next decade. As for the areas south of H Street you really are on the Senate-side of the Hill, even if it stretching it a bit above E Street NE. Given the proximity to the Capitol, the H Street revival and the blah blah, south of H is a sure thing.

As for the house, pricing it at $579,000 seems ambitious. The developer seems to have done a nice job though. "This home has been remodeled to keep much of the original charm, but adding modern convenience and comfort to the mix," says thte ad. It has the original parquet floors, with the mahogany inlay, pocket doors, a period display china cabinet with leaded glass slide front. Master bath has a whirlpool, a stainless/granite kitchen (yawn!) and updated wiring for cable and electric. Potential rental in the basement.

One final note: the agent's photo is below. Is there any comment that could be made that adds more humor to this image? No.
AMUSING POST ON CONDO MARKETING at the loquacious Rebuilding Place In Urban Space blog.

ALL SIGNS POINT TO a slowing market, not a crashing one. Here is the latest take from the WaPo.