The Columbia Residences is one of Washington, DC’s most popular condominium communities. But prospective buyers hoping to enjoy the on-site amenities and charming floorplans must be gnashing their teeth as of late, given the extended drought of available listings. With 225 condos, you would think that more resale opportunities would have popped up this summer. But those fortunate enough to live at this favored address seem determined not to leave. Perhaps the great location and the on-site Trader Joe’s has something to do with it.
There is a unique backstory to the mixed-use community. Its origins date to 1866 when the fledgling Columbia Hospital for Women and Lying-In Asylum was founded in Thomas Circle. This was the Civil War era, and a steady influx of women including soldiers’ wives and widows had been arriving in Washington, seeking information about their loved ones. Many were pregnant and in dire need of help during a time when women’s healthcare was scarce. The small hospital moved to the larger Tench Ringold House in the West End neighborhood in 1871 and was eventually rebuilt on a much larger scale in 1916. The Italianate design from architect Nathan C. Wyeth, has become one of the city’s enduring signatures. The pioneering women’s healthcare facility with 86 beds was one of the most celebrated in the country, but it became caught in a trap between insurers and bills, closing its doors in 2002.
The property was ultimately renovated and converted to luxury condos. Two new buildings were added to the original structure. The project, along with the Trader Joe’s market, was completed in 2010 and quickly became one of Washington’s best known residential communities. That popularity has hit new highs in recent months, with only a handful of listings this year.
There were no available condos at The Columbia in July, nor were there any closings. The most recent activity was in June, with Unit #735 selling as a private transaction for $650,000. The one bedroom, one-bath apartment features approximately 800 square feet of living space, and was remodeled by the original owner, with new hardwood floors throughout, as well as an updated gourmet kitchen with pale wood cabinetry, granite counters, and Viking and Sub-Zero appliances. The bathroom has also been improved with new cabinetry. An open floorplan, custom closets, built-in pantry, and private balcony further add to the picture.
There was also just one sale in May. Unit #628 is a penthouse level apartment with one bedroom, one bath, a den, and a 1,000 square foot layout. The listing went under contract in short order, closing at its full asking price of $929,000. The open and airy residence has high ceilings, dramatic arched windows throughout, and hardwood floors. The large bathroom has a new Grohe SPA frameless shower, and an extended twin sink vanity with Grohe fixtures. The gourmet kitchen features SubZero and Viking stainless steel appliances. There’s an in-unit washer and dryer, and the den can serve nicely as a work-from-home space, or guest sleeping.
April produced no sales, but there were two closings the month before, starting with Unit #441. The two bedroom condo with 1,405 square feet of interior space sold for $1,225,000. Wide-plank hardwood floors run throughout the corner condo. A large owners’ suite includes a walk-in closet with custom organizers, and a marble ensuite bath, while the second bedroom has a custom Murphy bed complemented by custom built-in closets, and plantation shutters. The open chef-inspired kitchen features white cabinetry, white stone counters, and high-end stainless steel appliances.
The other March sale was Unit #233. This one-bedroom, one-bath condo with a bonus den, claimed the top list-to-sales price for the month. The competitively priced listing attracted immediate attention at $500,000 and was bid up to $550,000 (110 percent of asking) in just three days’ time. The layout includes a large main living space that includes a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counters. A spacious den is perfect for an office, or an additional bedroom. A charming balcony off the living area is great for morning coffee.
Those who have managed to buy a residence at the Columbia enjoy numerous amenities. The front desk staff are known for attentive and friendly service. There is also a swimming pool and deck lounge, a club room with billiards, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and three furnished guest suites for visitors. And of course, there’s the popular on-site Trader Joe’s market, providing the ultimate food shopping convenience. The West End neighborhood is also part of the appeal, with plenty of coffee shops and restaurants within easy walking distance, as well as the new West End Library.
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