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.”
The Georgetown home that former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, own will soon go on the market. Photo by Erik Uecke
The home that disgraced former IMF head Dominque Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, own in Georgetown has been listed with Washington Fine Properties and is expected to officially go on the market within the next two weeks, according to Dana Landry, principal broker at Washington Fine Properties. Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair bought the home—located at 2613 Dumbarton Street, Northwest—in 2007 for $4 million. At the time, the listing described the three-bedroom, four-bath house as an “extraordinary and complete renovation of an East Village Federal.” It said the home had a library and “multiple sets of French doors that open to a huge backyard.” Built in 1900, the red-brick home is currently assessed for $3.8 million.
When questioned about the cost of maintaining one of his yachts, J.P. Morgan replied, “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.” But if you’re curious to know what $15.5 million will buy you, look at 1824 R Street, Northwest, a 10,000-square-foot mansion with 8 bedrooms, 13 fireplaces, Toto toilets in all 11 full baths, and a hydraulic elevator.
If the property, on the market since November, sells for close to its asking price, it will be the highest sale since Steve Case’s former home at 1714 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, which the AOL cofounder sold to the government of Trinidad and Tobago for $12 million in 2009; it had listed for $14.9 million.
The R Street mansion was once the home of DC’s highest-paid female public-company CEO, Martine Rothblatt—who reportedly made $17.6 million in 2009 as founder of United Therapeutics and Sirius Satellite Radio—and her wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, whom Martine Rothblatt immortalized in Bina48, a robotic avatar capable of interactive conversation. Previously, the home belonged to the Embassy of Singapore.
See More: A photo tour of this week's top home sale.
Address: 2123 California Street, Northwest, Apartment D9.
Listing price: $725,000.
Contract price: $725,000.
Seller’s agent: Ellen Sandler.
Square feet: 1,160.
Sale date: March 21, 2011.
Features: Built-in glass-fronted wine rack, wine cooler, and espresso maker in the kitchen; built-in book cabinets in the second bedroom; built-in storage in the master bathroom; free laundry on every floor of the building; parking spot comes with the unit; building has a roof deck.
When Amy and Justin Kim were ready to buy their first home, they came up with a list of what they wanted: a two-bedroom close to the Metro with a back yard for Twiggy, their chihuahua. Their price target of about $500,000 led them to Del Ray.
Bounded by Braddock Road, Route 1, Glebe Road, and Russell Road, Del Ray started out 100 years ago as a community of railroad workers from nearby Potomac Yard—then one of the biggest railroad yards on the East Coast. Today Del Ray is an artsy enclave of working professionals drawn by proximity to the Metro and Old Town; affordable, charming homes; and the sense of community.
The overall real-estate market might have remained slow, but Washington’s rich and famous kept right on buying. Among the big names making big deals were television celebrities, athletes, lobbyists, and politicians. The sales ranged from penthouse condos with Potomac River views to an $8.2-million mansion on more than an acre near DC’s Embassy Row. See our slideshow featuring some of the year’s biggest deals, then read on for more.
The Box Score
$2,902,319—10628 Rivers Bend Lane, Potomac
$2,295,100—2721 28th Street, NW, Woodley Park
$2,000,000—770 Potomac River Road, McLean
$1,950,000—1930 Rhodes Island Avenue, McLean
$1,900,000—8501 Centreville Road, Manassas Park
$1,849,000—1728 Q Street, NW, Dupont Circle
$1,700,000—11366 Seneca Knoll Drive, Great Falls
$1,675,000—3049 Cedarwood Lane, Falls Church
$1,625,000—3911 Persimmon Tree Road, Potomac
$1,355,357—9361 Berry Hill Court, Springfield
The Box Score
$3,800,000—4815 Dexter Street, NW, Berkley
$2,180,000—7405 Arlington Road, Unit 301, Bethesda
$2,153,616—10619 Rivers Bend Lane, Potomac
$2,050,000—3156 Pollar Street, Arlington
$1,950,000—7027 Elizabeth Drive, McLean
$1,800,000—6113 Eastview Street, Bethesda
$1,725,000—7905 Sandalfoot Drive, Potomac
$1,710,000—5411 Duvall Drive, Bethesda
$1,664,132—12830 Talley Lane, Gaithersburg
$1,664,058—12818 Talley Lane, Gaithersburg
The Box Score
$7,500,000—3017 O Street, NW, Georgetown
$5,000,000—15008 Good Meadow Court, North Potomac
$2,350,000—1205 Raymond Avenue, McLean
$2,287,009—12526 Sycamore View Drive, Potomac
$2,200,000—3908 Rosemary Street, Chevy Chase
$2,001,224—43588 Edison Club Court, Ashburn
$1,925,000—102 East Melrose Street, Chevy Chase
$1,900,000—4331 Hawthorne Street, NW, Wesley Heights
$1,863,000—2936 Albemarle Street, NW, Forest Hills
$1,699,000—5110 Saratoga Avenue, Bethesda
Also online: Best and Worst Buildings, an interview with Ben Forgey, Washington’s top architecture critic. Forgey picks the areas masterpieces—and pans its design disasters.