The Haven: Washington Business Journal’s Best Residential Development

By Soe Han Tha  –  Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal

You’ve been able to eat, shop, stay, rent and work at National Harbor since it opened 11 years ago. Now you can own there, too.

The Haven started out in 2016 as an apartment community, but developer Peterson Cos. changed course just as the project was about to top off in July 2017 after crunching demographic and sales data for Greater Washington: It would be condominiums instead.

The full-scale conversion was not without difficulty, especially under a self-imposed deadline of completing the project just four months later.

“We compressed what was normally an eight- or nine-month timeline,” says Stuart Prince, Peterson’s vice president of residential. The squeeze was designed so that Peterson “could leverage all the traffic that we generate at the National Harbor around the holiday season” and begin sales in December 2017.

The scramble involved reworking the financing with lenders and renegotiating with agencies like Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration on pre-sale requirements. A low point for Prince came when Fannie Mae and FHA would not relax their pre-sale requirements, meaning they wouldn’t back mortgages there until a certain percentage were sold.

Additionally, Peterson needed to rebrand and change up the marketing strategy, which meant hiring a new sales team. Despite these circumstances, the team met its four-month deadline after everyone “fired on all cylinders” from marketing to construction, according to Andrew Spencer, assistant vice president of multifamily and project manager.

The strategy worked. The Haven at National Harbor features 248 residential units with views of National Harbor, the Potomac River and the Capital Wheel. More than 60 percent of the units have been sold.

“Condo buildings that large tend to sometimes hang out there and get stale with slow sales, but we’ve been very successful and deliberate,” Spencer says.

Prices range from mid-$200,000 to mid-$600,000 for the one- to three-bedrooms condos. That money also buys 11,000 square feet of hospitality-style amenities: 24-hour concierge services, a deck with a resort-style pool and private cabanas, an outdoor kitchen with a seating area and fireplace, two landscaped courtyards, an indoor lounge area, a club room with a billiards table, a cyber lounge, fitness center and yoga studio, pet spa and bike storage. Underground parking is also available.

With this project off the ground, Peterson has started planning for future construction in National Harbor.

“We’ve got a thousand more units to bring forward,” Prince says. “We’re already considering our next multifamily building and townhouse projects.

The big numbers

18,000 s.f.

Size of The Haven’s amenity courtyard, complete with pool, fountain and a pair of rentable cabanas

6 minutes

Time you’ll spend walking from a condo at Haven to James Beard Award-nominated chef Edward Lee’s Succotash at National Harbor

The Haven at National Harbor

Address: 145 Riverhaven Drive, National Harbor

Deal type: Delivery

Developer: Peterson Cos.

Contractor: CBG Building Co.

Sales agent: McWilliams Ballard

Architect: Hord Coplan Macht

Landscape architect: Land Design

Interior designer: Hartman Design Group

Size: 443,245 square feet

Units: 248

Cost: $92 million