Move Right In

You no longer have to buy condos before they’re built. Here are six buildings that are move-in ready.

By: Mary Clare Glover

During the recent real-estate boom, developers couldn’t keep pace with the demand for condos in hot neighborhoods. Buildings sold out before ground was broken, and buyers often had to wait a year to move in.

No longer. Developers have postponed new buildings while they try to sell those already built. William Rich of the real-estate research company Delta Associates says more than 75 percent of new condos on the market are move-in ready.

Gone are the days when buyers put down a deposit based on architectural renderings, floor plans, and samples of carpet and countertops. Now condo hunters can test the water pressure in the shower, listen for the clacking of heels in the unit above, and feel the wall-to-wall carpet between their toes.

The number of finished condos also gives buyers bargaining power. “It’s common for developers to offer concessions,” says Ron Smith of Mayhood, a McLean-based condo-marketing-and-sales firm. “Sales conditions are very different now than they were during the boom.”

To lure buyers, developers may throw in a storage unit or parking space, help with closing costs, or reduce prices. The big inventory of finished condos on the market also means that there are lots of options—from boutique condos in historic buildings to hotel-like high-rises.

Here’s a look at six new buildings you could move into today.

City Life in the Suburbs

On Wisconsin Avenue near Bradley Boulevard, the Adagio is a five-minute walk from downtown Bethesda, where lots of shops, restaurants, and office buildings have sprouted around the Metro.

Condos in the 92-unit building—about 25 are still on the market—range in size from 950 to 2,100 square feet and include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The design is contemporary, with floor-to-ceiling windows, open floor plans, and modern kitchens with Poggenpohl cabinets. Most units have outdoor spaces.

There’s a fitness center in the building, and a Washington Sports Club is next door. Prices range from $565,000 to $1.4 million and include at least one spot in the underground garage.

Adagio, 6820 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-1911.

On Top of Metro

When the weather’s warm, Kenyon Square’s rooftop deck fills with sunbathers and friends playing bocce. The size of a city block, the landscaped deck has two grills, tables and chairs shaded by umbrellas, and a handful of Adirondack chairs.

In the center of DC’s Columbia Heights, Kenyon Square is across the street from DC USA, a block-long mall anchored by Target and Best Buy, and directly above the Columbia Heights Metro station. Residents started moving into the 153-unit building in 2007, and about 25 condos are still for sale.

Units range from one-bedrooms with one bath to two-level lofts with two bedrooms. Open kitchens have GE appliances and hardwood floors, and all units come with a washer/dryer and a walk-in closet.

Prices range from the $300,000s to the $600,000s. Spaces in the underground parking garage cost about $35,000.

Kenyon Square, 1390 Kenyon St., NW; 202-332-6477.

In the Heart of Reston

Reston is one of the country’s most successful—and emulated—planned communities, and Reston Town Center lures residents with upscale shopping, restaurants, and an ice-skating rink in winter. Midtown Reston Town Center, a 293-unit condominium completed in the summer of 2007, was the final residential development on the books.

Made up of two 21-story towers, it overlooks Market Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the town center. Each unit has floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. Hardwood floors and gas fireplaces are optional.

Amenities include a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center, an 18-seat movie theater, valet parking, and a doorman. Prices, which include a spot in the underground garage, range from $379,000 for a one-bedroom to more than $1 million for a three-bedroom penthouse.

Midtown Reston Town Center, 11990 Market St., Reston; 703-689-0900.

Room to Spread Out

With its big lots and sprawling houses, Potomac is rarely associated with condos. But Park Potomac—a development of condos, townhouses, office buildings, and restaurants along tree-lined sidewalks—might change that perception.

At the corner of Seven Locks and Montrose roads, just off Interstate-270, the first phase of condos is complete and includes two ten-story towers with 150 units—about 30 of which are still on the market. Outside, there’s a circular pool surrounded by lounge chairs and a landscaped courtyard with an area for grilling. Machines in the fitness center are fitted with flat-screen TVs, and the clubroom has a fireplace, catering kitchen, and conference room.

The condos are large; the smallest floor plan has two bedrooms and 2½ baths. Inside each, you’ll find hardwood floors; high-end kitchen appliances by Viking, Sub-Zero, and Bosch; and double sinks in the master bathroom. Prices, which include parking, start in the high $600,000s and top out around $1.7 million.

Park Potomac Place, 12500 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac; 301-251-7723.

Luxury in Georgetown

Originally built in 1885, Wormley Row is a former schoolhouse in the heart of Geogetown that’s been transformed into condos with a collection of six Victorian townhouses.

Named after entrepreneur James Wormley, the historic red-brick building has only seven units, giving it a more private feel. Each floor plan is different, and even the smallest option—a 1,400-square-foot one-bedroom condo—is larger than some two-bedrooms in other buildings.

Because of its small size, Wormley Row doesn’t offer many of the amenities that have become typical in larger condos, meaning that buyers don’t have access to perks such as a gym. But features inside each unit may make up for that shortcoming.

Condos come with underground parking, a wood-burning fireplace, heated floors, steam showers with a heated seat, soundproof floors, and a camera monitoring system. Prices range from around $1.2 million for a one-bedroom to $4.2 million for a two-story four-bedroom with river views.

Wormley Row, 3325 Prospect St., NW; 202-274-4666.

Can’t Beat the Views

At the foot of Key Bridge in Rosslyn, a glimmering glass tower rises from the banks of the Potomac River. The 31-story building houses the Hotel Palomar Arlington and, above it, 133 condos.

Called Waterview Residences, the condos have a concierge who can arrange housekeeping, make dinner reservations, or charter a yacht. Owners can use the hotel’s fitness center for free.

Prices in the building—which still has about 12 units for sale—start in the $400,000s for a 500-square-foot studio and top $4.5 million for a 3,838-square-foot penthouse. All of the units have floor-to-ceiling windows, and all come with high-end fixtures and appliances by brands such as Sub-Zero, Wood-Mode, and Waterworks.

But perhaps the biggest perks are the dramatic views of the Potomac River, Georgetown, and the monuments. Residents whose units don’t face the river can take in the view on the rooftop deck, which has a fire pit, a grill, and sunbeds.

Waterview Residences, 1111 N. 19th St., Arlington; 703-879-6138.

This article first appeared in the August 2009 issue of Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.