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Tales From the Boom and Bust: “I Take Out the Trash in My PJs”

Living in an almost empty condo building has its advantages.

>>This item is part of the May 2010 cover story Tales From the Boom and Bust. To read an excerpt from the article, click here. To read the complete account of the rise and fall of the housing market in Washington, pick up a copy of the magazine, now on newsstands.

When Lanham-based Kady Development started selling condos in the Floridian in 2005, the two-tower complex at 919 and 929 Florida Avenue, Northwest, in the District promised to become a sign of progress for the blocks between U Street and Howard University.

Four years later, just 32 of the 118 units were occupied, and the building went into foreclosure. Early this year, the Bethesda-based Goldstar Group bought the property and lowered prices; the condos started selling again. We talked with Mark Wood—the first person to move in—before his new neighbors arrived.

I closed on my penthouse unit in May 2008. I paid $795,000, including two parking spaces for $35,000 each.

One of the big selling points was the proposed Howard Town Center, which was supposed to be built behind us with a Harris Teeter and other stores. I hope that will happen eventually.

The condo’s finishes were extremely nice—hardwood floors, ten-foot ceilings, Italian cabinets in the kitchen, tiles from Spain. Off my balcony, I have a great view of the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and National Cathedral. I’m sure the remaining units will sell out quickly.

The building looks a little dark and empty—maybe even a little scary. It has bothered my partner a bit, but I don’t mind it. I think at most ten people live in my building. My partner and I are the only ones on our level; I take the trash out in my pajamas.

There’s hardly anyone around, including on the roof deck or in the lobby. But the quiet is nice, not eerie. I’ve enjoyed having the place to myself; it feels like my whole building.

The garage is pretty empty as well—I’ve gotten to the point where I know every car and every owner. I’m not really looking forward to having to come in and out of the garage with other cars or having to wait longer for the elevator. I’ll have to get used to other people being around.

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