Yuppies rejoiceâ€“you donâ€™t have to move out of the city to upgrade your digs or expand your family.
By Ericka Blount Danois
Christopher Yates, 33, a Washington, D.C., native and Howard University graduate, was stuck between buying a fixer-upper in the District and a new home in Maryland. He already owned a row house in Northeast, but was looking to spread out from his 900-square-foot home. When he read about Asheford Court, a new development of 75 single-family homes at 15th Street and Mississippi Avenue in the Southeast section of town, he could hardly believe his luck.
Yates, who works for the Department of Homeland Security, knew the area well. He had grown up in the apartment buildings next door and walked past the lot that had formerly been used by the Army National Guard but had been neglectedâ€”so much so that the grass grew as high as the fence. â€œIt was an eyesore,â€ he remembers. That Asheford Court was built on the empty lot and long-term residents were not displaced sealed the deal for Yates. â€œIf I knew people were getting displaced, I would not be able to sleep at night,â€ he says.
Yates bought a newly constructed 3,000-square-foot house in the Williams C. Smith & Co. development, part of the up-and-coming neighborhood of Congress Heights. A new baseball stadium, two nearby metro stops, and the largest Giant in the city now flank the once blighted area.
Within walking distance is the $27 million Town Hall Education, Arts, and Recreation Campus (ARC), also developed by Williams C. Smith & Co., which opened in 2005. The complex houses a 365-seat community theater, The Washington Ballet, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Levine School of Music. Nearby is the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, where the Williams sisters are known to frequent and where anyone can learn the game.
â€œThis is the last area of major redevelopment in D.C.,â€ says John Trent, sales manager for Asheford Court. â€œSo far we have been getting a lot of professionals, with incomes of about $70,000 and above.â€
The three-bedroom model includes a landscaped yard and two-car garage. The interior features an open common area with a fireplace, a walk-in closet the size of a small bedroom, large windows that allow for natural light, a master bedroom with a sitting area and tray ceilings, and a master bath with both aÂ Jacuzzi tub and separate glass-enclosed shower.
There will be four phases of development, the first of which is sold out, the second of which went on sale in early March. Houses are built within 12 to 15 months after signing a contract. The prices for phase two start at $480,000. Twenty percent of the homes are priced below market value for moderate-income families. The properties are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Asheford Court. 1526 Mississippi Ave. S.E. 202.610.5606.