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What we’d buy with $1.345 million. By Michelle Thomas

Regardless of how you might feel about the recent trend toward splitting old Victorian rowhouses into multiple units, this one—on Riggs Place in Dupont—comes close to sophisticated perfection. Light and airy, with just the right touches of historic detail, this condo is the two-story penthouse in a four-story home that dates to 1916. Lock 7 Development transformed the place into its current iteration, featuring knockout design choices such as dark hardwood floors, elegant moldings and medallions along the walls and ceilings, big picture windows, and a gorgeously intricate (closed-off, but still!) fireplace mantel in the open-layout living area. Off the upstairs bedrooms—there are three—is a two-level private deck overlooking the city skyline. It’s listed at $1.345 million. Take a quick peek below, then go to Lindsay Reishman Real Estate for more (or check it out in person Saturday at the open house).


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Posted at 01:44 PM/ET, 06/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Developer SB-Urban will turn the historic home into luxury micro-unit rentals. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Sean Shanahan, courtesy of TTR Sotheby's.

The sale of Dupont Circle’s Patterson Mansion may not have been the quickest deal in Washington real estate—the historic home has been sitting on the market since the spring of 2013—but on Monday the property finally closed at $20 million. That is $6 million under list price, but still makes it Washington’s priciest residential sale since 2011, according to TTR Sotheby’s, who brokered the transaction.

Bethesda-based developer SB-Urban bought the 37,000-square-foot residence. In February, the developer submitted plans to convert the mansion into 90 350-square-foot luxury micro-units, combining the original marble and brick four-story building with a new, seven-story addition.

The property boasts a storied history—originally built in 1901 for Chicago Tribune editor Robert Patterson and his family, in 1927 the mansion was briefly the temporary home to President Calvin Coolidge while the White House underwent renovations. The Washington Club has owned the property since 1951, and it's been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Posted at 11:15 AM/ET, 06/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Politico’s Richard Berke settles in the Palisades for $2.4 million. Plus—NBC’s Peter Alexander and Channel 7’s Alison Starling buy in Arlington.
Modern luxury for $2.4 million in DC’s Palisades. Photographs by David Pipkin.


Richard Berke, executive editor of Politico, and husband Martin Barron bought a modern three-bedroom, four-bath house in the Palisades for $2.4 million. The open-concept home features outdoor dining and lounge areas with a fireplace and Brazilian-walnut deck. Berke, a former New York Times political correspondent and senior editor, joined Politico last year.

Lawyer Morgan Hodgson and husband William Lake bought a four-bedroom, six-bath Federal-style rowhouse in Georgetown for $2.9 million. The Civil War-era home has original hardwood floors and a large family area. Hodgson is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson. Lake is media bureau chief at the Federal Communications Commission.

Lawyer Arif Hyder Ali and wife Salma Hasan Ali, a writer, bought a six-bedroom, six-bath Colonial in the Palisades for $2.4 million. The house has a library and music room and a butler’s pantry. Arif Ali is cochair of the international arbitration practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Salma Hasan Ali is a contributing editor at the Islamic Monthly.

Former US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Arthur Rothkopf and wife Barbara bought a four-bedroom, four-bath condo in Kalorama for $2.2 million. The 2,897-square-foot unit is in a 1917 Beaux Arts building with a rooftop deck. Arthur Rothkopf was a deputy secretary of Transportation during the George H.W. Bush administration. Barbara Rothkopf is on the Washington Ballet’s board of directors.

This Bethesda house—and its six fireplaces—was sold by William Tauscher for $2.1 million.

In Maryland

Business executive William Tauscher sold a seven-bedroom, nine-bath Colonial in Bethesda for $2.1 million. The house has six fireplaces, an au pair suite, and a swimming pool. Tauscher is CEO of Blackhawk Network,which provides prepaid gift-card systems to companies such as Starbucks.

Local entrepreneur Mei Xu bought a six-bedroom, six-bath house in Bethesda for $2 million. The Arts and Crafts home has a library, wet bar, and breakfast room. Xu and husband David Wang cofounded Pacific Trade International.

TV news couple Peter Alexander and Alison Starling chose a Craftsman with five bedrooms and five baths.

In Virginia

Husband-and-wife TV news broadcasters Peter Alexander and Alison Starling bought a five-bedroom, five-bath Craftsman in Arlington for $1.5 million. Built in 2008, the 5,213-square-foot house features a master suite with a walk-in closet and soaking tub. Alexander is a national correspondent for NBC News. Starling is an ABC7 anchor.

Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and wife Mandy sold a six-bedroom, seven-bath Colonial in Leesburg for $1.1 million. The home is a ten-minute drive from the Skins’ Ashburn facility. Shanahan was fired from the team last year and is now offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby International Realty.

This article appears in the July 2014 of Washingtonian.


Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 06/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Redfin reports on the neighborhoods that mark the largest flipping price gains nationwide—and our city counts four of the top ten. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

To locals, it’ll come as no surprise that renovating and reselling homes is big business in Washington’s many booming neighborhoods. Now, confirmation: A report released Thursday from the real-estate site Redfin ranked the country’s top ten neighborhoods for price increases due to flipping—and the Washington market counts four of the ten. Which one comes in on top? That would be Petworth, which ranked number one in the country with an average of $312,400 gained per flip. Next up is Brookland, listed at number three with $271,900 per flip, with Fort Totten and Stadium Armory a little further down the list, at numbers six and seven with $233,000 and $230,400 gained, respectively. Other cities with neighborhoods in the top ten include Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Redfin defines a flip as a home that was purchased and sold again within a year—and of course, a pricing increase doesn’t necessarily mean a profit, since improvement costs are often sunk into the home before reselling. 

The report includes a few other interesting tidbits about home flipping in our city: Last year, more than 4,000 area homes were flipped in about 172 days, according to Redfin’s analysis of MLS stats—and with 2013’s average of $104,100 gain per flip (that’s higher than the national average of $90,200), don’t expect it to slow any time soon. This year is already on pace to lap last year’s total.

Head to Redfin to see the full report.

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Posted at 11:53 AM/ET, 06/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The elite school is spending $40 million to consolidate all its students in Tenleytown. By Benjamin Freed
Photograph via Facebook.

Georgetown Day School says it has reached agreements to buy two Tenleytown lots currently occupied by Safeway and a car dealership to clear the way for a massive campus expansion. In deals expected to close Thursday, the elite private school will buy the Martens Volvo-Volkswagen dealership and the Safeway store across the street.

The purchase will allow Georgetown Day to finally merge its upper school in Tenleytown with its lower and middle schools, which are on MacArthur Boulevard about four miles from the Tenleytown location.

“We’ve been waiting about 45 years to reunite the campuses,” says Alison Grasheim, a spokeswoman for Georgetown Day.

Actually bringing the schools together will take several years longer, though. Safeway, at 4203 Davenport Street, Northwest, and Martens, at 4800 Wisconsin Avenue, will remain in their locations for at least 10 months under leaseback deals with Georgetown Day.

It could be another five to seven years before all Georgetown Day students attend an expanded Tenleytown campus. The school has not made any decisions on tearing down its new acquisitions or planning its new lower and middle schools. Grasheim says designs for the built-up campus will take Tenleytown residents’ concerns into account. A press release from the school reads that the eventual campus will “be consistent with the beauty and character” of the neighborhood, with an emphasis on green spaces and pedestrian and bicycle access.

Georgetown Day buying the Safeway lot also drastically shifts long-term plans for Tenleytown. The supermarket chain had been considering replacing the 38,000-square foot store with a larger one with a 150-unit apartment complex above.

The school is spending about $40 million to buy the two properties, Grasheim says. That’s a great deal for Safeway and Martens, which have a combined assessment of about $10.2 million, according to DC property tax records.

Posted at 03:10 PM/ET, 06/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Redfin tells us all the stats, including how many of those 1-percenters are purchased in all cash. By Michelle Thomas
Georgetown is home to our region’s top tier of expensive homes, and this N Street rowhouse easily makes the cut at $7.98 million. Photograph courtesy of MRIS.

Whether this is good news or bad might depend on your budget: An analysis from Redfin released Tuesday reports that while home sales in general are down from this time last year, there is one sector of the market that’s still on the upswing. In the Washington area, sales for the top 1 percent of the most expensive homes increased 2.4 percent over last year, while the remaining 99 percent of homes fell 8.7 percent.

So what’s that top-tier home gonna cost you? In DC, that means a home of at least $1.64 million, which is 4.7 times the median sale price in our market and sets us right in the middle of the cities Redfin examined—twice as expensive as Raleigh and Atlanta, but less than half as pricey as Los Angeles and San Francisco. The real estate site also conveniently puts things in perspective: In order to own said $1.64 million home, you’d need a suggested income of at least $281,000 a year. Your monthly mortgage? $6,551. Exactly where those homes are located isn’t much of a shocker, if you’ve been reading our luxury homes reports—Georgetown (where the average luxe home costs $2.895 million), Rosslyn, and Kalorama. And then there’s Redfin’s final tidbit: More than 25 percent of buyers paid for their high-end home all in cash.

Want to see the full analysis? Take a look on Redfin’s blog.

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Posted at 12:00 PM/ET, 05/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman sells his Kalorama home for $3.8 million and moves to McLean.
Fans of Bravo’s Top Chef may recognize this DC house, which Jon Huntsman sold for $3.8 million. Photographs by David Pipkin.


Politician Jon Huntsman and wife Mary Kaye sold a five-bedroom, six-bath home in Kalorama for $3.8 million. The house—where Bravo’s Top Chef: Washington D.C. was filmed—has five fireplaces and a two-car garage. Huntsman, who ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, is former governor of Utah. The couple recently paid $3.1 million for a Colonial in McLean.

Investment executive Thaddeus Paul bought a Colonial in North Cleveland Park for $2.6 million. The five-bedroom, five-bath house has a yard with terraced gardens and two seating areas. Paul is managing director at the Carlyle Group, the private-equity powerhouse.

Thaddeus Paul of the Carlyle Group paid $2.6 million for this house in North Cleveland Park.

In Maryland

Real-estate executive Colin Dyer and his wife, Anne, bought a three-bedroom, five-bath condominium in Parc Somerset for $5 million. The 4,500-square-foot condo has a library, a master suite with private study, and his-and-hers walk-in closets. Dyer is chief executive officer of Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real-estate firm.

Nonprofit executive Eric Adler and wife Suzanne, an endocrinologist, bought a five-bedroom, six-bath Arts and Crafts-style home in Bethesda’s Edgemoor neighborhood for $3.9 million. The nearly 8,000-square-foot house has a home theater and library. Adler is cofounder of the SEED Foundation, which operates urban boarding schools for inner-city kids.

Eric and Suzanne Adler spent $3.9 million on a five-bedroom home in Bethesda.

Lobbyist Peter Roberson and journalist Alexandra Stoddard bought a Colonial on Leland Street in Chevy Chase for $1.8 million. The five-bedroom, five-bath house was featured in Better Homes and Gardens. A former adviser to the House Financial Services Committee, Roberson is a lobbyist for Intercontinental Exchange. Stoddard is associate editor of the Hill newspaper.

The home of the late George Huguely III—a five-bedroom, five-bath Colonial on Armat Drive in Bethesda’s Longwood neighborhood—was sold for $1.3 million. The house has an au pair suite with a separate entrance. Huguely’s grandson George Huguely V is the former University of Virginia lacrosse player convicted in 2012 of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love. The Huguely family has owned a local lumber business since 1912.

In Virginia

Republican heavyweight Frank Carlucci bought a three-bedroom, four-bath condo in the Broadway of Falls Church building for $830,000. Carlucci held sever-al senior government positions throughout his career, including Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan and deputy director of the CIA under Jimmy Carter.

Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

This article appears in the June 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 10:46 AM/ET, 05/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The former Redskins player’s huge estate features a home theater and a pottery studio. By Michelle Thomas

Now that Chris Cooley has retired from the NFL, it seems he’s looking to get out of his Leesburg home, too: Back on the market is his six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bath stone mansion in Loudon County. It’s a giant estate—13,000 square feet on three and a half acres of land—and though the vaguely Tuscan decor may be a bit bland, the house is decked out with just about every amenity there is. Beyond the marble foyer and Brazilian cherry-wood floor, there’s a wine cellar, libary, game room, home theater, and elevator. Off the master suite is an oversize soaking tub and massive dressing closet. Outside, a pool, hot tub, deck, and a sand beach. And, of course, there’s the huge pottery studio, where the former tight end—a college art major who now owns a gallery in Leesburg—practiced his craft. The property is listed at $2.39 million. Read on for a short tour, then head to Redfin to see the entire place. 

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Posted at 01:50 PM/ET, 05/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The minimum cost of entry: $3 million. By Michelle Thomas
Renderings courtesy of EastBanc.

Another day, another über-luxe condo development: Sales for the seven residences in Georgetown’s still-under-construction, canal-facing condo development—dubbed 1055 High after the pre-1895 name of Wisconsin Avenue—started yesterday. Built with an eye toward evoking the historical architecture of the neighborhood while infusing the design with modern-industrial details, the building boasts some pretty lavish-looking amenities, such as a garden roof terrace with a 45-foot pool and a glass-enclosed rooftop fitness center. The private residences are huge—all three or four bedrooms units of up to 4,300 square feet—and feature private terraces or balconies, walls of windows that overlook the C&O Canal, Georgetown, and garden views, and two garage parking spots each. Naturally, the prices reflect the luxuries: The condos start at $3 million and range up to more than $5 million for the corner penthouse. They’re slated to be ready for a late fall move-in. Check out the just-released renderings below, then head to the development’s website for more details.

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Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 05/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Real-estate website Trulia says 62 percent of homes are within reach of the middle class, but a closer look shows it’s often less than that. By Benjamin Freed
Photograph via Shutterstock.

Prospective home-buyers probably don’t need to be reminded that it gets more expensive every year to own property in Washington. But a new report from real-estate website Trulia on how much a typical middle-class family needs to buy a house suggests that while it’s tough, it’s far better here than in other big metropolitan areas.

The report finds that 62 percent of homes in the Washington area are within reach of households earning the median annual income, measured at $88,233 in 2012, according to the US Census Bureau. Washington isn’t as affordable for middle-class households as Chicago, where 70 percent of homes are affordable, but it’s far more egalitarian than Seattle (53 percent), Los Angeles (23 percent), or New York (25 percent). The San Francisco metropolitan area, predictably, is the least welcoming toward middle-class buyers, with only 13 percent of homes within the range of what median earners can scrape together.

Trulia defines a home as affordable for a middle-class buyer if the annual total for monthly mortgage payments is no more than 31 percent of a purchaser’s yearly earnings, assuming a 4.4 percent 30-year fixed rate after putting down 20 percent. That comes out to about $27,350 for people in Washington’s median salary range.

But breaking down Trulia’s findings just a bit reminds that buying a home in the area is still incredibly difficult for many, if not most. While 62 percent of homes on the market are affordable for people making the regional median, it gets much tougher for those with less education. People earning the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree can scope out 75 percent of the market, but for people who have only some college experience or just a two-year degree, that figure drops to 47 percent. People who have only completed high school or less can only afford 25 percent of homes on the market.

There are stark geographic breakdowns, too. Prince George’s County is the most affordable, with 85 percent of homes there within middle-class means, but in the District itself, median earners can only reach 44 percent of the housing market. The numbers get even slimmer in Northern Virginia’s close-in suburbs. Outlying Prince William County is more favorable, but people who live there but work closer to DC often trade lower home prices for higher transportation costs.

Prince George's and Prince William counties are mostly affordable. Closer in to DC, not so much. Table courtesy of Trulia.

Trulia’s conclusions are fairly dismal. Although Washington isn’t nearly as bad as New York or California, the middle class here should not expect much relief, even with a recent slowdown in the local real estate market. And of the two easiest ways Trulia identifies as creating more affordability, one is undesirable and the other is unlikely when housing units in Washington are routinely snapped up within days of hitting the market.

“For America’s most expensive housing markets to become significantly more affordable, they would need either a spectacular drop in demand—a local economic collapse, for example­—or a dramatic increase in housing supply,” Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, writes in a blog post presenting the data.

Posted at 02:09 PM/ET, 05/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()