As one local neighborhood blog proclaims in its moniker, Southwest ... The Little Quadrant That Could, D.C.’s sleepiest quarter is stirring. Evidence of this awakening can be seen in the area’s latest condo-conversion project, Waterfront Tower, which opened its sales office in September and hopes to be move-in ready by December.
We recently toured the place and, quite frankly, were more than a little impressed with the project’s mod style, convivial common areas, and attention to high-quality -- and green -- details.
Though not directly on the waterfront, Waterfront Tower is located at 3rd and M streets S.W. (see map here), sandwiched between future waterfront development and Nationals Stadium. Next door is a soon-to-be-razed Safeway grocery store (long a point of contention among the neighborhood) and the site of the coming-in-March Waterfront Station complex, which will include a new 55,000-square-foot Safeway, CVS, Bank of America, and four or five restaurants.
Waterfront Tower’s blocky edifice was designed in the 1960s by world-renowned modernist I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American architect behind iconic structures like the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris as well as the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.
Now, the architects at Torti Gallas & Partners have gutted and updated the space with an eco-conscious flair, including low-VOC paints, Bentley Prince Street’s "Green Label Plus" recycled carpets, and high-efficiency appliances, HVAC, boilers, windows and lighting systems. Though the developer ultimately chose not to apply for LEED certification for cost reasons, Greg Rooney, VP for the project’s developer Bernstein Companies says the building is "just as green as it would have been [with the certification], but we didn’t have to spend the extra $100,000."
The Bernstein Companies, in collaboration with Abdo Development, have taken care to follow historical preservation guidelines while breathing new life into the property and neighborhood. And the 123-unit building seems to be selling well: Roughly 42 percent of the units are sold; studios are sold out.
Though the condos aren’t huge, space is used efficiently, and even the studios and junior one-bedroom floor plans feel quite livable. (Extra storage space in the basement is available for purchase.) Most units include wenge cabinets, Ceaserstone counters, white oak hardwood floors, and recycled carpet in the bedrooms. Larger units include combination washer-dryers, and for everyone else, the high-tech basement laundry room has 10 sets of units that will email you when your cycle is complete.
The building has a small gym, a Wi-Fi lounge, a bike storage room (with plans to also stock rental bikes), and a party room off the lobby. The glossy white lobby includes a tile mosaic by local youth over the elevator, courtesy of Arts on the Block. Outside, residents can lounge in comfy couches and chairs fronting the large grassy courtyard. Coming soon: barbecue pits and a pergola.
Price Range for Available Units
Parking & Transportation
Waterfront Tower sits just a block from the Waterfront-SEU Metro station on the Green Line. There are 33 uncovered parking spaces available for purchase ($19,800 apiece) or 90 rental spaces out front ($80 per month).
Say what you will about new construction woes in Southwest, but as this project hums toward completion, it’s hard not to feel optimistic about the area’s potential.
More recent articles about D.C.-area real estate from UrbanTurf:
Copyright 2007-2009, UrbanTurf.