by Sherry Moeller
The buzz around town is what’s going on in the U Street Corridor of NW, where new and almost new condominiums situated near Meridian Hill Park, Metro stations, boutiques along 14th Street, Adams Morgan’s nightlife and Dupont Circle make this locale a sought-after place to live.
New or Almost New
The Fedora at Meridian Hill built by Bozzuto Homes is a new condominium
An underground parking garage, a second floor lobby with wet bar, a rooftop deck, a courtyard with waterfall and storage units are among the amenities. “The availablity of airy nine-foot ceiling heights and expanses of windows are just two of the features that make these new condominiums so appealing,” says Mark Taylor, vice president/regional operations manager for Bozzuto Homes.
Restoration is often a plan of choice for developers. Level 2 Development LLC, the development managing company for The Mercury at Meridian Hill Park building on Chapin Street, NW, is a company formed by Jeff Blum and David Franco about a year ago. Developed by Chapin Group LLC with sales by McWilliams Ballard, the building, which was purchased in late 2003, required a complete overhaul including replacing the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems as well as all interior finishes. Maple plank floors, CaesarStone counters, stainless steel appliances by Bosch, Amana and Sharp, Durango limestone bathroom tiles and fixtures by Kohler and Grohe make the insides of the 1966 building sparkle.
“Since the building was built in the mid-60s, we decided to embrace the era instead of fighting it,” says Blum, “hence the name Mercury from the space flights.” Not planning to update the exterior or landscaping until realizing the recent increase in property values, Level 2 Development added a steel structure on the exterior to support the new Juliet balconies where Lumicite, a modern material, creates privacy through the railings.
Just down 14th Street from The Mercury at Meridian Hill Park condominiums, Level 2 Development will be starting a new project,
Aventura, which is a luxury six-unit building with two bedrooms and two baths in each condominium. “We had to work with the DC
Historic Preservation Board on the design of that building and they have approved a modern facade that pays homage to the historic
nature of the neighborhood,” Blum says.
By the Bay
GrandView at Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, built by Sturbridge Homes, is a new bayside community. With the first two floors as retail spaces, the top 10 levels will include 140 condominiums ranging in size from 1,320 to 3,400 square feet. High-end interior elements, such as spa-style owner’s baths, formal dining rooms and gourmet granite kitchens, put these residences at the “luxury end of the market,” says Michael DeStefano, president of Sturbridge Homes. Offering mostly two-bedroom with den units and a few threebedroom with den condos, GrandView will be in the heart of Annapolis Towne Centre, developed by Greenberg Commercial. This mixed-use project also includes office space and a hotel. The brick and masonry building with dome will feature a rooftop pool and sun deck. Sturbridge Homes builds mostly condominiums throughout several Maryland counties, including Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Charles.
In other areas around Washington, including Reston, Alexandria and Shirlington in Virginia and Bethesda and Largo in Maryland, new condominium projects are opening soon or are already for sale. KSI is among the developers introducing several new projects opening this summer, including 78 Midtown Lofts at Reston Town Center, 369 units at Midtown Alexandria Station, 528 units at West Village of Shirlington and 32 two-story, condominium homes at The Residences of Lorton Station. Midtown Bethesda North will offer 230 units and Midtown Largo Station in Prince George’s County will include 240 one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums.
In Maryland, where available condos are less prevalent, the Midtown Bethesda North condominiums, which range in price from the $300,000s to more than $700,000, feature a coffee bar, fitness room, party room, theatre and rooftop pool with hot tub, grill and sunbathing deck among other building amenities.
Virginia features a wider selection of new condominiums, including the Midtown Lofts, Reston Town Center priced from the mid-$500,000s. The lofts feature urbane architectural design with high ceilings, walls of windows, an artist’s workshop and gallery-like decor with original paintings commissioned just for Midtown Lofts. Hardwood floors and island kitchens with Italian cabinets set the pace for these condominiums. Some homes offer direct elevator access.
With the advantages of close-in living, Laura London, director of sales and merchandising for KSI, says people are eager to be in certain locations for the “lifestyle benefits.” The way of the future is happening now, she adds, with refined products in condominiums and the convenience of shopping, transportation and restaurants in the neighborhood.
Besides brand-new buildings in Virginia, the West Village of Shirlington is a collection of completely renovated buildings with new mechanical systems, plumbing, wiring, flooring and insulation. Plus, interior amenities include fixtures by Restoration Hardware and kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite counters. These brick residences are among the available options for prospective buyers in today’s active condominium market.