Disco Lobby Doesn’t Mean Disco Living at Highland Park

by George Knowles

Highland Park

Before moving to DC in 2008, George Worrell lived in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood, an area where he had grown accustomed to having transportation, shopping, and other amenities right outside his door. Having lived in the Highland Park apartments in Columbia Heights for the last two years, the DC-based event planner and stylist feels that convenience has not been lost.

“This building reminds me of why I liked living in New York,” Worrell, who visited several different apartment buildings in DC but couldn’t find anything that suited his needs, told UrbanTurf.

Even though its reputation as home to a largely young and ready-to-party set has worn off some over the last year, Highland Park remains a rental option primarily for DC’s twenty and thirty-somethings. Located about fifty steps from the Columbia Heights Metro at 1400 Irving Street NW (map), the 229-unit Highland Park is well-situated for the carless and fairly noticeable from the street as its lobby changes colors giving off a disco-y feel.


Meredith Giantsos, a two-year resident of Highland Park, says that she was first taken with the strong visual aesthetic of the building, and then sold on the building after seeing the 20-foot ceilings and concrete floors of the model loft unit.

“The apartments don’t really feel like rentals,” Giantsos said.

A big draw for residents also seems to be the outdoor space and amenities. Hemen Solomon, who has been at Highland Park for over two and a half years, likes the shared courtyard, explaining that it allows for a community feel for the surrounding apartments and the occasional outdoor dinner get-together with neighbors. Worrell recently had a book launch party on the building roof and plans on hosting more events in the future. Residents can reserve the roof for four-hour events at a rate of $300 with a $1,000 deposit. In addition to the roof, the building has a parking garage, a fitness center with a studio, 24-hour desk service, a business center, a pet policy that caters to dog owners (depending on the breed), and a cat-watching service for when residents are out of town.

Living Room in Unit

Highland Park is not without its critics, who particularly in the early years, complained that the consistent partying atmosphere detracted from the building’s many excellent qualities. Residents who UrbanTurf spoke with said that management has done a good job of tempering the partying, and now the main complaint might be from prospective tenants. Like the entire DC-area apartment scene, vacancy at Highland Park, where rents range from $1,800 to $3,800 a month, is quite low. Currently, just two apartments (a one-bedroom/den loft and a two-bedroom, two-bath) are available. (This Friday another one-bedroom apartment will become available.) There are one and two-bedroom units available, some with dens and others that have two-level loft-like floorplans.


Donatelli Development, the building’s developer, has plans to build the second phase of Highland Park directly adjacent to the current project (plans are for a 144-unit project, largely of one-bedrooms that will go for around $1,600 per month). But as Housing Complex reported in October, the forward movement of that phase is contingent upon the city coming up with funding for a residential facility to replace the La Casa community shelter for men that now sits right next door. Donatelli has designed the plans for the new facility, but things remain at a standstill for the time being.

For more information on Highland Park, visit the website.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/disco_lobby_doesnt_mean_disco_living/2688

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