In recent years, the New York mainstay of micro-unit rentals has spread to Washington.
Although they may not have become as ingrained in the housing market here as they have in New York, micro-units have reached a critical milestone in D.C.: The first for-sale micro-units are now being offered in the city.
“D.C. may not be quite as tight on space as Manhattan, but there’s no question that there are sought-after areas of the city that offer the location, the lifestyle and convenience that people want but have limited options for new homes,” says John Guggenmos, a sales manager at McWilliams Ballard who is marketing a new micro-unit development in Adams Morgan.
“This is particularly true for young professionals in the city who would like to become homeowners or at least want to stop paying so much for rent,” Guggenmos adds. “A well-designed micro-unit can fill that need.”
Moda 17, which has 38 studio, one- and two-bedroom micro-units, has been designed by Adams Investment at 2424 17th St. NW on the corner of Kalorama Road. The residences range from 350 to 680 square feet.
“Whenever I show these homes I ask people to guess how big they are,” says Guggenmos. “Most people are surprised at how small they really are because they have been so well designed that they eliminate wasted space like long hallways.”
Approximately 40 percent of the residences have been sold, primarily to young first-time buyers, says Guggenmos. The developer anticipated that there might also be interest from buyers who want a small studio for city visits, but so far Guggenmos says those putting units under contract are buyers who plan to live there full time.
“The purchase price makes it cheaper to buy than to rent in this neighborhood,” he says. “These buyers are interested in owning a place as a steppingstone to eventually buy a larger home.”
The units are priced from $249,000 to $549,000, and monthly condo fees are relatively low at $191 to $383.
City views from rooftop: The prime attraction of Moda 17 is the neighborhood and the contemporary-style units. The condo fees are kept low by providing limited yet appealing amenities to residents. The building has wireless Internet service throughout the property and a bike storage room. Each unit also has a private storage space.
“The main amenity is that each unit has a private rooftop terrace with great views of the city,” says Guggenmos. “There are two stairwells that lead to the roof, and then the terraces are designated for various units so people can keep a cafe table and some chairs in their space and know it will always be available. There will be a central station with an icemaker so people will be able to bring drinks up and keep them cool.”
The terraces vary in size, with the smaller spaces designated for the smaller units at Moda 17.
The residences have been designed to maximize space with pocket doors, frosted sliding doors, built-in storage or shelving and even custom built-in beds in some homes.
Some of the two-bedroom units, says Guggenmos, are comparable to a “convertible one-bedroom” or a one-bedroom with a den. These units have a frosted glass door that can be left open or used to close off the second bedroom space into a home office or a guest bedroom. However, these units have two full bathrooms and can function as a traditional two-bedroom if desired.
What’s nearby: Moda 17 is adjacent to the heart of Adams Morgan’s nightlife and restaurants, but on a quieter side street so that residents can escape the party atmosphere. The condos are across the street from a Harris Teeter grocery store and within walking distance of countless restaurants, shops and entertainment venues in Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, the U Street corridor, 14th Street and Dupont Circle.
The neighborhood earns a 93 Walk Score for walkability, an 84 Transit Score for the ability to use public transportation for most activities and a 93 Bike Score for access to bike lanes and flat streets for easier biking. Each score — on a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the best score — represents the availability of places within walking distance, public transit options and bike lanes.
Schools: Marie Reed Elementary, Columbia Heights Education Campus, Cardozo High
Transit: Numerous bus routes serve this neighborhood including 42, 43, H1, S1, S2, 4, S9, 90, 93, 96, X3, L2 and the Circulator Bus. Woodley Road, Dupont Circle and U Street Metro stations are each a little over one mile away.
2424 17th St. NW, Washington