Tag: Washington Post

Urban Turf Features Stella’s Rent-To-Buy Program

Urban Turf | Washington, DC | November 4th, 2022


Last week, UrbanTurf looked at how rent-to-buy scenarios are making a return to the housing market in the current high interest rate environment. Today, we take a look at how a new condo development in DC is utilizing this strategy.

The Stella, an 18-unit condo project in Petworth, is offering a lease-to-own program called “Pathway to Homeownership” on its remaining homes. Here is how it works for a two-bedroom unit: The purchaser and seller come to terms on a sales price of $480,000 for the condo. They agree on a rent amount of $3,400 per month with a lease duration of 12 months. Rent payments are made directly to the title company, and 70% of the monthly rent ($2,380) is held in escrow for the duration of the lease. The remaining 30% ($1,020) is used to cover operational expenses such as condo fees, property taxes, utilities, etc.

At the end of the 12-month lease, the purchaser/renter can elect to move forward to settlement and complete the purchase using the balance of funds held in the escrow account ($28,560) towards their down payment, closing costs, or other settlement costs. Otherwise, the purchaser/renter releases the amount held in escrow as a final rent payment and move-out as they would in a traditional lease.

“Theoretically a person could sign up with this program and end up with 6% of a down payment, just by paying rent for a year,” Robbie Cook of McWilliams|Ballard said. “Since many loan options only require 3% or 5% down, this is more than enough to get someone into a home they then own.”

McWilliams|Ballard Celebrates 25 Years of Continued Real Estate Sales & Marketing Success Throughout the Mid-Atlantic

Washington, DC | October 29, 2021

McWilliams|Ballard is celebrating its 25th Anniversary as the leader in new project development sales and marketing throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Since its founding in 1996 by Ross McWilliams and Christopher Ballard, McWilliams|Ballard has continued to build on its success by working with developers of all sizes to provide a unique sales approach and innovative marketing strategies for the finest condominium, townhome and single-family communities in 13-states across North America.   McWilliams|Ballard has sold over 40,000 homes in 500 communities valued at over $15 billion dollars.

“The moment Ross and I started our business; we knew we could offer something different to the marketplace and our unique approach to sales and marketing would create something incredible.  We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with great gratitude for the relationships and new communities we have helped curate over the years”, shared Christopher Ballard, Founder and President of McWilliams|Ballard.

McWilliams|Ballard, based in Alexandria, continues to create partnerships with developers and builders to provide sales and marketing solutions from project inception to the final closed sale. In addition, the firm also provides consultation and market research used by some of the most renowned developers and investment groups in the country.


At City Homes in DC, condo-living is a multilevel thing

By Connie Dufner, Washington Post | October 19, 2021

Jordan Mixter said she knew one thing for sure when she and her partner were searching for a new home: The dining room table as office was done, and so was pandemic-style work-life imbalance.
So, when they started contemplating a move from their apartment in D.C.’s NoMa neighborhood, space and lifestyle were priorities. They looked at a mix of options, including existing rowhouses, a Brookland bungalow and new homes of various types.
“My partner is much more into new things than I am,” said Mixter, director of operations and strategy for a think tank. “I loved the charm of a bungalow, but I kept thinking about the upkeep and the repairs. It was more than I wanted to bite off.” At City Homes Eckington, in Northeast Washington’s Eckington neighborhood, the couple found a pleasing blend of new construction, urban neighborhood romance and, most importantly, a feeling of spaciousness, both mental and physical.
“I wasn’t against buying a condo,” Mixter said. “I just wanted it to feel like we were buying a home.” They chose a two-story residence in the City Homes community of 45 townhouse-style condos, which opened for sales in September. About 30 percent of the units have been sold, and owners are expected to begin moving in over the next few weeks.
City Homes is one of three residential communities in the Quincy Lane mixed-use development, along with the condos at 1625 Eckington and the Judd & Weiler rental apartments.
When complete, Quincy Lane will have a variety of shops and restaurants connected by a pedestrian-friendly cobblestone street. Businesses open there now are Union Kitchen, a commercial kitchen, and Brooklyn Boulders, an indoor rock-climbing gym.
City Homes units have mostly two- and three-bedroom configurations in three floor plans. (One of the units is a one-bedroom.) Most units have two floors; the penthouses have three. Each unit has at least one private outdoor space.
Interiors were designed by the firm Cecconi Simone, and the building’s corridors feature three seven-piece collections — by painter Steven Cushner and multimedia artists Teal Price and Julie Wolfe.
Grosvenor Group is the City Homes developer. KTGY did the architecture, and McWilliams Ballard is doing sales and marketing.
Mixter’s unit, which she hopes to move into this fall, has a walkout patio and plenty of storage space. “We love that it’s two-story and lives like a home,” Mixter said. “The appliances are beautiful. I love gas cooking, so the gas range was a big plus.”Mixter added: “We have been stuck in an apartment without even a small balcony, so we appreciate the designated outdoor space. There’s plenty of interaction with the urban environment around you.”Another homeowner, Michael Moore, a real estate broker with Compass, said he learned about City Homes from a sales presentation on Zoom. “I went to look at the model on a Saturday, and through the weekend, I kept thinking, ‘I really like them,’” he said.
He liked the two walk-in closets in the primary bedroom and the one in the guest bedroom. The construction was solid, Moore said, and the outdoor space inviting. “It checked all the boxes for me,” he said. “As a real estate agent, I’ve seen a lot. I asked to come back a second time, with a different set of eyes, looking at it for my personal use. I’m very picky about quality, and I found it excellent in 95 percent of the categories.”

Moore selected the community’s model unit, which will become available after the project is built out.Quincy Lane is “very forward thinking, like CityCenter, with a large pedestrian walkway and lights across the alley. I can walk up from my home and grab a coffee or groceries,” Moore said.

Nearby: City Homes is about a half-mile from Union Market, across the street from Alethia Tanner Park and a quarter-mile from the Metropolitan Branch Trail. It is less than two miles from Union Station and about 3.5 miles from Nationals Park.
Schools: Langley Elementary, McKinley Middle, Dunbar High

Transit: City Homes is about a half-mile from the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station, on the Red Line. Many buses serve the area, including routes on North Capitol Street, R Street and Florida Avenue.

City Homes Eckington
1500 Harry Thomas Way NE, Washington
The community of 45 townhouse-style condos has a two-level, one-bedroom unit from $699,900; two-level, two- and three-bedroom units from $795,900; and three-level, three-bedroom penthouse units from $999,900.
Developer: Grosvenor Group
Features: Kitchens have Fisher & Paykel appliances, including gas cooktops, double ovens and double-drawer dishwashers; flat-panel cabinetry with soft-close hardware; built-in trash and recycling drawers; soapstone quartz countertops; and Perla white quartz backsplashes. Each residence has one or more private outdoor spaces in the form of a patio, terrace or balcony. Penthouse units include private roof terraces. Primary bathrooms have matte-black plumbing hardware by Pfister, Kohler fixtures, a frameless shower door and a deep soaking tub by Kohler. A parking garage is under the building, and 43 spaces are available for purchase.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 2 to 4
Square-footage: 950 to 1,470
Homeowners’ fees: $310 to $489 a month, depending on unit size
Contact: David Klimas with McWilliams Ballard, 202-431-1272 or dklimas@mcwb.com

Towngate North, Office buildings in Old Town Alexandria to be converted to new condos

By Michele Lerner, Washington Post | October 6, 2021

The office-to-housing conversion continues, this time in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Brookfield Residential recently announced plans to transition offices into two condominium buildings called Towngate North in an Old Town North neighborhood at 625 and 635 Slaters Lane.

“Towngate North is comprised of two former corporate buildings which we’ll be extensively renovating to transform into upscale condominiums,” wrote Gregg Hughes, senior vice president at Brookfield Residential, in an email. “We’re excited to use our expertise in innovative homebuilding to revitalize these existing buildings into a new opportunity for people to join the vibrant Old Town North community.”

The 81 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos are anticipated to be priced from the mid $400,000s to $1.6 million. Presales are expected to begin in early 2022, with the first building ready for occupants in October 2022 and the second building ready in early 2023. Planned amenities at Towngate North include a clubroom, conference room, fitness center with yoga room, dog spa, bike storage areas and a rooftop terrace with views of Alexandria and Washington, D.C. Concierge services will also be available.

The Mount Vernon Trail, a paved trail for biking, jogging and walking which stretches 18 miles from Mount Vernon to Roosevelt Island along the Potomac River, will be easily accessible from the development. Towngate North is 1.2 miles from the Braddock Road Metro station and 1.7 miles from Potomac Yard, where a new Metro station is scheduled to open in fall 2022.

The Old Town Waterfront and the shops and restaurants on King Street are about 1.5 miles from the development. Other nearby neighborhoods include Del Ray, Shirlington, and Pentagon City. The development is just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway to drive into D.C. Reagan National Airport is two miles from Towngate North.

For more information and to be placed on a priority list, visit www.TowngateNorth.com

1625 Eckington – DC Condo Building Is In the Thick Of Mixed-Use Development

Jan. 19, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. EST

The streetscape is changing rapidly in part of Northeast Washington’s NoMa neighborhood as redevelopment transforms more than three acres into a mixed-use residential and retail destination. Eckington Yards will have a 12-story, 179-unit condominium building — 1625 Eckington at Quincy Lane — two rental apartment buildings and a structure containing ­townhouse-style condos.
The 179-unit condo building is at ­Eckington Place and Quincy Lane NE, a new street that is an extension of Quincy Place. The lane runs east of Eckington Place between the four new buildings to create a retail corridor open to pedestrians and slow-moving vehicular traffic.
“This is a ‘woonerf-style street,’ ” said Chris Masters, executive vice president of McWilliams Ballard, which is handling sales. “It’s common in Europe and is called a ‘living street.’ ”The first two floors of 1625 Eckington will be occupied by shops and restaurants. The building’s residential units will occupy the third to 12th floors. Base prices for the condos range from $359,900 to $1,299,900. About 20 percent have been sold. A furnished model unit is on view at 1625 Eckington. And the McWilliams Ballard sales gallery, at 1485 Ninth St. NW, has a scale model of the entire development and a mock-up of a kitchen and another of a bathroom.
Boxes checked: Rachel Sinderbrand and Wesley Williamson have lived in NoMa for a few years. “When we started looking to buy, we knew we wanted to stay in walking distance of where we are now,” Williamson said. But they had a growing list of prospects before they saw an ad for 1625 Eckington.
They went to the sales gallery and chose a seventh-floor unit after studying floor plans and researching the developer. “It was very much a trusting situation for us,” Williamson said.
On a hard-hat tour of the unfinished unit, they “got a sense of the space and view,” Sinderbrand said. “We liked the light, especially compared to our home now, which has just one smallish window. And there’s a terrace. It was important to have some outdoor space.”
She added: “It checked all the boxes. Hopefully, we can move in the spring.” Masters confirmed that the unit should be ready to occupy in the spring.
Eckington Yards is in a vibrant, up-and-coming section of D.C. The building at 1625 Eckington has a “warm, residential aesthetic [that] blends mid-century, classic modernist design with industrial touches, evoking the heyday of Eckington’s industrial past,” said Rhea Vaflor, associate principal and lifestyle director at Hickok Cole, the interior designer.

“When residents want to get away without going too far from home, the rooftop [clubroom] features a see-through fireplace with a picture-perfect view of the Capitol, downtown D.C., the Washington Monument and National Cathedral,” she added.The building’s amenities include a rooftop pool, a fitness center, a cafe with a hosting kitchen for entertaining, a green roof and rooftop grilling station. The building lobby will have a full-time concierge.

Eric Colbert & Associates is the architecture firm.

Nearby: Alethia Tanner Park, 2½ acres and open since June, is a neighborhood highlight, with gardens, grass, a playground, a dog park and a connection to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The park is named for Maryland native Alethia Tanner, who was born enslaved and bought her freedom and the freedom of some relatives in 1810. She promoted education for D.C.’s Black children.

Gallaudet University’s grounds are an inviting place to walk. Union Market weathers the pandemic as a venue for takeout food, with tables outside. The market also has shops such as District Cutlery, Harvey’s Market and Red Apron Butchery. There is a Whole Foods Market on H Street and a Trader Joe’s on Florida Avenue.
Schools: Langley Elementary, McKinley Middle, Dunbar High.
Transit: The closest Metro station, NoMa-Gallaudet U on the Red Line, is within easy walking distance and is one stop from Union Station. It has 10 bike racks. Eckington Yards is near New York and Florida avenues and North Capitol Street. It is steps away from a streetcar line that traverses H Street. Resident-only street parking is prevalent.
1625 Eckington at Quincy Lane
1625 Eckington Pl. NE, Washington

There will be 179 condos in the 12-story building. Base prices range from $359,900 to $1,299,900. About 20 percent are sold.

Developer: JBG Smith
Features: Ceilings are nine feet high. Hardwood floors run throughout the units. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in natural light. The color scheme is neutral white with black matte fixtures. Bosch appliances, Porcelanosa cabinetry and quartz counters are standard. A below-ground parking garage has about 100 spots available for purchase for $45,000 each. There’s also bike storage.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 2 plus den/ 1 or 2
Square-footage: 510 to 1,380
Condominium association fees: $325 to $810 a month
See model: By appointment.
Contacts: Kate Hanley at 202-568-3045 or Timur Loynab at 571-215-6554 and 1625eckington.com

Washington Post Steps Inside Pacifica

Condo Project Feels at Home Next to D.C. Historic District

By Audrey Hoffer

April 14, 2020 at 6:30 a.m. EDT

In the Dupont Circle area of Northwest Washington, a line runs down the middle of N Street marking the southern boundary of a D.C. historic district. Buildings on the north side of the street are protected by strict regulations governing demolition and exterior alterations. Those on the south side are not.

Pacifica, a newly built nine-unit condominium at 2122 N, between 21st and 22nd streets, is on the south side of the street. Nevertheless, J Street Cos. still had to satisfy local authorities and respond to angry neighborhood residents on its way to replacing a pair of aging rowhouses there with new construction.

“We explained that our intention was to create a structure much nicer than what existed,” said Bruce Baschuk, chairman of J Street. “The two townhouses weren’t attractive.”

The company turned to GTM Architects

“We were conscious of the appearance of the buildings across the street and the uniformity of the rowhouses,” said Molly Heffner, an associate at GTM. “We wanted to design a building that spoke to the historic fabric of the neighborhood.”

Wide bay windows facing N Street match those in nearby houses. At the same time, the window panes are arranged in a grid of modern slender, black metal frames. Other design elements strike a similar balance. “We designed a large cornice [decorative molding around the roofline] to make the building’s presence felt, while still allowing it to blend seamlessly with the rest of the street,” Heffner said.

Baschuk said the building had won over the opposition. “At the end of the project, the most vocal, negative individuals came up to me one-by-one to say they like it,” he said.

He also expressed confidence that the building will look good for a long time. “I told the [Advisory Neighborhood Commission] I anticipate in 30 to 40 years, they’ll designate this building because it will be worthy of historic protection,” he said. “ ‘You won’t want to tear it down,’ I predicted.”

On the inside, the model unit showcases a mix of finishes and design elements intended to make condo living feel like a single-family experience. “While many contemporary finishes were used and open concept living-dining-kitchen areas were created to appeal to today’s condo buyers,” Heffner said, “we also wanted the units to feel like single-family residences. We used a lot of trim work, with crown moldings and cased openings [framed openings without doors] to convey a sense of space and room designation.”

The entry to Unit 5 opens to a little hallway. The smaller of the two bedrooms is on one side and the master bedroom is on the left. An en suite bathroom is reached through one of two walk-in closets in the master bedroom suite.

own the hallway, the unit has another bathroom, a laundry closet and a double-door coat closet. Beyond the hallway is the open plan living space, facing N Street. The L-shaped kitchen faces the living room, and the dining room is around the corner. The living room has a stone-tile gas fireplace, which is standard in all units.

Off the dining room, there is a den with a double glass door. The space is suitable for a guest room, a nursery, a home office, a TV lounge or a dining-room extension for a large dinner party.

Nearby: The neighborhood has many restaurants and bars. There are grocery stores, drugstores, banks, liquor stores, shoe stores and museums. Inside the traffic circle, Dupont Circle has a park with a fountain that is surrounded by a wide walkway, benches, grass and trees.

Schools: Elementary and middle, School Without Walls; high, Cardozo Education Campus.

Transit: Dupont Circle is the heart of walkable Northwest Washington. Sidewalks are wide. Street parking for residents and visitors is plentiful. Bike lanes are pretty common. Dupont Circle Metro station on the Red line is two blocks from Pacifica to the north and the Farragut North Metro station, also on the Red line, is a few blocks in the other direction. Many major traffic corridors — including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut avenues — pass through the circle or run nearby.


2122 N St. NW, Washington

There are nine condominium units in the building. Three are sold. Six are for sale at prices ranging from $995,000 to $2.4 million.

Builder: J Street Cos.

Features: Each unit has a secure parking space. The units have nine-foot-high coffered ceilings and abundant closet space. Kitchens are outfitted with Viking appliances, including a 36-inch refrigerator, a 30-inch gas stove with a hood and a microwave drawer in the island. Counters and backsplash are Calacatta Vagli marble. Custom cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms have a glossy white lacquer finish, and faucets are by Waterworks. Bathroom floors and shower walls have Porcelanosa tiles. Kallista made the bathtubs and fixtures.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 2 to 4

Square footage: 1,200 to 2,100

Condominium association fee: About 60 cents per foot

View model: By appointment.

Contact: 202-350-2802 or thepacificalivingdc.com

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