News & Politics

Move Over, Pennsylvania Avenue: Study Says Wharf Area Is DC’s Priciest Real Estate

Real estate firm JLL says Maine Avenue tops in Washington in commercial price, ranks number 10 in US.

Photograph by Elvert Barnes/Flickr.

If President Joe Biden wanted to live on DC’s most expensive street, he’d have to move the White House to the Wharf.

At least, that’s according to a new national study ranking commercial streets by the asking price for lease per square foot of space. Helpfully-titled “Most Expensive Streets 2024″ and authored by the real estate firm JLL, the study found that Maine Avenue—located in Southwest and stretching from the National Mall, past the Anthem, to Arena Stage alongside the Potomac—has supplanted Pennsylvania Avenue as the District’s most pricey address. 

This is the first time that Maine Avenue has even appeared in the top five most expensive streets in the District in JLL’s rankings, which began in 2005 and have been released every 4 or 5 years since. It’s a reflection of the youth of the neighborhood itself, the Wharf only having opened up in 2017.

Pennsylvania Avenue topped the list in its 2015 and 2019 iterations.

Anna Shaffer, a senior vice president for brokerage in JLL’s DC office, pointed out that the majority of Maine Avenue’s value came from four office buildings, located at 670, 680, 800 and 1000 Maine Avenue, all of which had waterfront views. (Disclaimer: JLL leases out office space in the latter two properties, as well as on Pennsylvania Avenue.)

“There’s not too many developments like this that are in the pipeline,” Shaffer told Washingtonian. “It’s unique in that it’s a new development…DC is historic.”  

JLL also found that Maine Avenue, with an asking price of $80.44 per square foot of office real estate, is the 10th most expensive commercial street in the nation, right below Miami’s iconic Brickell Avenue at $86.63.

Shaffer added that many of Maine Avenue’s contemporaries in JLL’s top 10, such as Sand Hill Road, home to a gaggle of Silicon Valley VCs (No. 1 nationally, $167.24 per square foot) or New York City’s 34th St, which counts the Empire State Building among its tenants (No. 2, $162,43 per square foot), were similar in terms of their relatively compact size.

“These are very small areas within a submarket that make them special, and that are pushing up the rates,” Shaffer said.

Arya Hodjat
Editorial Fellow