On Monday, Washington Fine Properties listed a home on University Terrace in DC’s Kent neighborhood for $19.5 million—making it the most expensive home on the market now in the District. What does nearly $20 million buy you these days? Five bedrooms and seven baths spread out over 10,000 square feet, plus a guest house, a pool, and gardens on more than six acres. “There’s hardly any other property in the city that has that much land,” says Tom Anderson, president of Washington Fine Properties.
According to DC tax records, the home is owned by “James C. Biddle Trustee.” Biddle, who died in 2005, was president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as an adviser to First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson on historic furniture.
The house—which came in eighth on our list of 50 Most Expensive Homes last year and is currently assessed for $13.7 million—has recently been home to Biddle’s ex-wife, Louisa, and her late husband, former ambassador Robert Duemling, who died in July. It sits on University Terrace, a woodsy, winding road near Battery Kemble Park in upper Northwest Washington.
If you were to buy the home, you’d be neighbors with former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie Jr., who lives a few houses down in a four-bedroom that’s assessed for about $750,000. Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, also comes home to University Terrace; his five-bedroom is assessed for $3.3 million. A Kent cocktail party might also include TV journalist Tucker Carlson and the power couple of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and former Chairman of the Fed Alan Greenspan.
According to the listing, there is a “possibility of subdivision,” which may explain the hefty price tag. But is $19.5 million realistic in this economy? “We know the air is always thinner at the top, but there are big buyers out there,” says listing agent Heidi Hatfield. “I’m happy to report the phone is ringing.”