Capitol Riverfront: Still Growing

Also known as: Don't live with anyone over 30!

By Tim Brown Urban Turf
|  Monday, Mar 8, 2010  |  Updated 4:01 PM EDT
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Capitol Riverfront: Still Growing

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The Capitol Riverfront

Slowly but surely, progress is being made on Capitol Riverfront, Southeast D.C.'s neighborhood by the ballpark. Despite being one of the areas in D.C. hit hardest by the economic downturn, work continues on the many residential and commercial projects in the neighborhood and residents continue to move in.

UrbanTurf first profiled the neighborhood in October 2008, and checked in with a status update last spring, reporting that construction on many commercial and residential projects was about 25 percent complete. Today, the neighborhood still has a long ways to go until 'build-out,' but it undeniably has a strong foundation in place.

Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, says that the population of the neighborhood is currently estimated at 2,781, and is expected to surpass 3,000 by the end of 2010. He told UrbanTurf that about 85 percent of the apartments in the neighborhood have been leased, and 75 percent of new home inventory has been sold.

The Capitol Riverfront, or the Front as it's sometimes called, is young in more ways than one. Most of its new residents are young singles and couples, and the median age in the neighborhood is 36. Andrew Young, who has an apartment at the Onyx on First, told UrbanTurf that the 'newness' and relative youth of the neighborhood were the deciding factors for him.

"Most of my neighbors are under 30," he said, noting that the community is very active in the summertime with regular lounge and rooftop pool get-togethers.

Below, we provide some basic information about the neighborhood as well some development updates.

Location and Transportation

Sandwiched between Capitol Hill and the Anacostia River, the Front contains 1.5 miles of river frontage that, one day, will all be made available for public use in the form of parks and pavilions. The Green Line’s Navy Yard station sits in the middle of the neighborhood, and two other stops, Capitol South and Eastern Market, are within walking distance. The Front is also served by the Circulator, the P1/P2 and the 90/92/93 bus routes. Add Diamond Teague Park’s water taxi service to that and you’ve got a pretty accessible neighborhood.

Where to Live?

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Capitol Quarter

If you are looking for a floor-through condo in a Victorian row house, Capitol Riverfront is not the place for you as the housing stock here is primarily all new condos, co-ops and apartments. While the majority of the housing inventory consists of new condos, EYA's Capitol Quarter development offers town homes designed to resemble the iconic row houses of some of D.C.'s more established ‘hoods.

Here are a few updates on some of the area's major residential developments since we last wrote about the area:

Capitol Quarter -- The development’s sales manager told UrbanTurf that there are two units left in Phase I of Capitol Quarter for purchase which can still be customized to the buyer's specifications. Prices for the units start in the low $600's. Phase II construction is expected to begin this fall.

Velocity Condos -- Velocity Condos began sales in the summer of 2008 and has sold about 40 percent of its 200 available units. A spokesperson from the project tells UrbanTurf that it has seen a recent uptick in sales, having closed on 10 units in February alone, despite the weather conditions. The development is soon going to be offering incentives to buyers such as $10K towards closing costs and a free parking spot with each unit.

Onyx on First -- The luxury apartment complex began leasing in January 2008 and has rented 251 of its 266 available units. There are still a few left, with prices ranging from $1,675 a month for a studio up to $3,325 for its top-end, three-bedroom penthouse unit.

Where to Shop?

When we checked in last April, retail establishments in the Capitol Riverfront were few and far between. The slim offerings included a CVS Pharmacy, Five Guys and Starbucks, all located along M Street. Since then, a few more stores have joined the ranks. Last summer, Domino's Pizza and Corner Copia Deli arrived in the neighborhood, and according to Michael Stevens, Justin's Cafe, an Italian restaurant, will be opening its doors in the coming four to six weeks on the ground floor of the Velocity Condo. The much-anticipated Broilermaker Shops, a project that is expected to bring a slew of new retail to the area, is only about two to three leases away from reaching the 80 percent threshold at which renovation and construction can begin. If construction gets underway soon (Stevens estimates it will), the new mixed-use development could be completed by late 2011.

In a major step for the budding neighborhood, a Harris Teeter is rumored to be opening a 50,000 square foot store at 401 M St. S.E. as a part of The Yards mixed-use development. If it happens, the store would not open for a few years, so for now residents head to Safeway at 4th and M streets S.W., the Harris Teeter at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, or the YES! Organic Market at 658 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E.

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Nationals Park

What to Do?

While the centerpiece of the neighborhood is Nationals Park, the home stadium for the Washington Nationals and the nucleus for neighborhood activities in the summer, there are plenty of other options for extracurricular endeavors.

Last summer, the Front played host to Art-O-Matic, D.C.'s annual arts festival. According to Stevens, it drew 76,000 people, the strongest showing in its 10-year history. A unique addition, the Trapeze School New York relocated to the neighborhood Feb. 15. The heated tent hosts classes all year around, and is a great option for those looking for something out of the ordinary.

However, the bar scene is fairly scarce. Right now, outside of Nationals Park, the only bar in the neighborhood is the hotel lounge bar at the Courtyard Marriott.

Here are a few regular events that will be starting in the coming months:

  • Movie nights will be hosted every Thursday, in the southernmost block of the proposed Canal Park.
  • Riverfront Park will open its doors in July.
  • Starting Memorial Day, The Capitol Skyline hotel at S. Capitol and Eye streets S.W. will host weekly pool parties on Saturday and Sunday.

Although it has experienced a few bumps along the way, Capitol Riverfront continues to be an appealing option for home buyers who aren't afraid to wait five to 10 years to see a return on their investment. Nick Alexander moved into his Capitol Quarter town home three months ago, and is anxious to see what’s in store for the neighborhood in the future. For now, he likes the peace and quiet, but also likens the Front to living in the dorms on a college campus.

"Someone new moves in every few weeks," he said.

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