Friendship Heights: A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live

by Shilpi Paul

image
The shopping options in Friendship Heights. By Payton Chung.

If living in a city means enjoying a walkable neighborhood, having retail and public transportation around the corner, and being able to rent an apartment in a high-rise building, then Friendship Heights meets all those criteria. But despite those attributes, the upper northwest DC neighborhood feels more like a suburb than a bustling urban center.

Upscale With a Slightly Varied Population

Friendship Heights is roughly bounded by River Road to the southwest, Willard Avenue and Western Avenue to the north, 41st Street and Reno Road to the east and Fessenden Street to the south. It sits right at the border of DC and Maryland, and many consider the neighborhood of Friendship Village across the border to be closely connected.

The neighborhood is upscale, with a median household income that exceeds $100,000, according to the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. A mixture of age ranges can be found, from school-age children to empty nesters.

“The neighborhood is full of long-time residents who actively chose to live in DC instead of moving to Maryland and Virginia,” Ricky Lourenco, a DC resident who grew up near Friendship Heights told UrbanTurf. “This means you get a neighborhood of people that truly love the city and have brought the comforts of suburban living to them instead of moving to the suburbs.”

image
Discount Shopping and Booeymonger

They Come For The Shopping

Most DC residents know Friendship Heights for one thing: shopping. Stretching up Wisconsin Avenue for blocks is the full spectrum of the retail ecosystem, starting with discount retailers to the south and ending with the swankiest of the swanky designer stores just over the Maryland border.

The retail district is anchored by two malls: Mazza Gallerie, which houses Neiman Marcus, Williams Sonoma and an AMC movie theater, and the Chevy Chase Pavillion, home to stores like J. Crew and World Market as well as an Embassy Suites hotel. To the south are T.J. Maxx and Loehmann’s, the fashionistas favorite discount shopping destination. Bloomingdale’s, near the corner of Wisconsin and Western Avenue, marks the beginning of a strip that quickly becomes extremely high-end. Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores sit just north of the Friendship Heights Metro station, looking slightly untouchable, with the rare customer browsing through sparsely stocked racks.

These national chains are a fairly new development; Friendship used to be home to more mom-and-pop shops, with the larger stores taking over in the past two decades. Recently, some of the chains have closed their doors, including Border’s, Pottery Barn and Filene’s Basement, leaving vacant storefronts.

image
Whole Foods

Overshadowed by the shopping scene, there are a few restaurants along the strip as well. While chain restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s exist, popular DC-born staples like Chadwicks, Booeymonger and Rodman’s market (on the edge of Tenleytown and Friendship) have a loyal following. The relatively new Whole Foods on Willard Avenue is now a destination for many residents, and the bulletin board in the eat-in area was recently covered in neighborhood related postings.

image
Archstone Wisconsin Place, a luxury condo on Willard Avenue

People Do Live Here, Too

While bursting with retail, Friendship does have a few streets of detached, single family homes, some townhomes and several tall luxury condo and apartment buildings. The streets in the neighborhood just east of Wisconsin Avenue have a very suburban feel, with kids coming home from school in the afternoons and minivans parked on the street.

The condos are more popular with both young couples and empty nesters who require proximity to the Red Line, but want a quieter experience than neighborhoods closer to downtown offer. A quick look at crime statistics show a smattering of theft incidents and a couple troubling “robbery with gun” events, but the numbers are much lower than the rest of DC.

image
Typical Friendship Homes

The houses listed for sale get snapped up fast, according to Juliet Zucker, a real estate agent who covers the area and lives nearby.

“Homes generally go on the market and go under contract very quickly,” Zucker said. “[Residents] may have a smaller footprint, but they have the convenience and are willing to pay for it.” Single family homes generally sell for above $700,000, with prices sometimes reaching up to $2 million. Right now, there are just over a dozen for-sale options, most listed above $900,000.

Several new condo projects joined the neighborhood in the past five years. In 2007, PN Hoffman built the 107-unit Chase Point Condominiums at 5401 Western Avenue. The seven units for sale there now range in price from $484,990 to $1.995 million. The most recent project to deliver was The Harrison, an infill development at 5201 Wisconsin Avenue that went up in late 2010 and sold its 49 units fairly quickly.

image
High-End Shopping

Now Owned By Pepco

Late last year, a property at 5220 Wisconsin Avenue NW was sold to Pepco, raising the ire of more than a few residents. Former owner real estate firm Akridge had been planning to build a mixed-use development that would bring 71 apartment units to the neighborhood, but they never started construction and sold the property to the utility company for $14.5 million; since Akridge bought the property for $3.95 million in 2003, perhaps the profit was just too tempting. (The firm had also been facing some opposition from community members who didn’t want a high-rise.) Pepco plans to turn the space into a substation.

Red Line Accessible, But the Traffic is Tough

Between the shoppers, the commuters and the buses, traffic on Wisconsin Avenue can be road-rage inducing. For residents, access to the Red Line is definitely convenient, but traffic can make it feel like less of a cohesive neighborhood. Capital Bikeshare hasn’t made it up to the neighborhood, and the presence of bicyclists in the area is minimal.

The Bottom Line

The overbearing shopping options give the epicenter of Friendship Heights a decidedly sterile feel. However, once off the main drag, the streets are filled with single-family homes, offering a walkable suburb for residents who are willing to pay for it.

  • Zip Code: 20016
  • Friendship Heights real estate data from Redfin
  • Schools: Janney and Lafayette Elementary Schools, Deal Middle School and Wilson High School

 

See other articles related to: hoods, friendship heights, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/friendship_heights_shopping_mecca_with_a_few_places_to_live/5048

2 Comments

  1. Jordan said at 4:28 pm on Friday February 3, 2012:

    My fiancee and I live in the Archstone Wisconsin apartments. I def agree that the neighborhood can feel sterile at times, but we have found the convenience to be addictive. Less than a 1 min walk to the metro. Dont have to leave our building to go to Wholefoods. Good shopping, and decent restaurant scene (as chains go)and safe hood all make it pretty desirable. And a one bedroom apt in the very low $2,000’s is not bad for what you get.

  1. Vincent A Salgado said at 2:14 pm on Saturday November 9, 2013:

    Just wanted to clarify that the zip code for the DC area depicted on the map is mostly 20015, not 20016.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.




 

Payam Bakhaje

Long & Foster Realtors

202-345-2778

Serving:

Shaw

Woodley Park

Dupont Circle

NEW!

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We’ve collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 'hoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾