UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What Do You Know About the SW Waterfront?

by Mark Wellborn

Southwest Waterfront by Mr.T_in_DC

This week, an UrbanTurf reader inquires about the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. Despite our growing knowledge of the DC area and the residential real estate market, we are not very familiar with this area. Below is her email, and if you can offer your two cents, please do so in the comments section. As you can see, she has already done some homework.

I am considering purchasing a condo in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood, but I am curious how much investment is being made to make the waterfront area more akin to Seattle or Vancouver rather than what it is now. If you have any useful links to articles or specific information – I would really appreciate the tip. Here are some websites that I am already familiar with:

  • The Washington Post overview of SW Waterfront future development plans. Click here for link.
  • The Southwest DC Blog that posts updates on new developments, renovations, and events in the area.

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_do_you_know_about_the_sw_waterfront/822


  1. Tom A. said at 3:27 pm on Tuesday April 21, 2009:

    Only comment I have is to be prepared for development that is happening “soon” to never happen- or to have major delays.  One of the reasons I bought where I did two years ago was the H street streetcar which I was told was “coming soon.”  Now it’s at least 5 more years away.

    I’d never buy a place in DC hoping for future development or neighborhood ammenities.  It’s why the area around the new ballpark is slow to develop.  Buyers know that talk is cheap!

    One example: Check out http://www.halfstreet.com/  and then go down there!

  1. Tim said at 3:44 pm on Tuesday April 21, 2009:

    Not sure about new developments, but one thing I have noticed about condos in this area is that although prices may seem affordable compared to other areas of the district, the condo fees in most of these buildings are SKY HIGH. Not really sure why…

  1. Michelle Buckman said at 6:07 pm on Tuesday April 21, 2009:

    In my opinion, SW Washington, DC is an under discovered residential area. It is a pedestrian friendly residential area located on the South Riverfront.  Residents and visitors can walk to the famous Maine Avenue fish market, Arena Stage Theater, parts of Potomac Park, restaurants, and the new Nationals baseball stadium.

    The SW area is close to 4 metro stops: L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Center Southwest, Waterfront/SEU and the navy yard.  The metro lines are the green, yellow, orange and blue lines.  There is a large Giant supermarket located on Maine Avenue, SW not far from the Fish Market.

    SW’s location is very convenient.  It is close to Capitol Hill, L’Enfant Plaza, the Smithsonian Museums, National Mall and downtown DC.  If you need to get out of town, I-395 is right there. National airport is minutes away.

    The housing makeup is a mixture of co-ops, condos, and many townhomes.  Some of the condo and co-op buildings are River Park, Carollsburg, Tiber Island, Potomac Place Towers and Harbor Square.  SW is the area to buy if you are searching for a magnificent view.  Many of the residences have lovely views of the river, monuments and baseball stadium.

  1. DCBuyer said at 6:57 pm on Tuesday April 21, 2009:

    I found a lot of condo units (or even town homes that are part of the coops) that are priced very competitively. The only issue, as Tim mentioned, the condo fees are pretty ridiculous! A two bed-room is reaching up to 1,000 per month in condo fees (which includes utilities, cable, and property tax).

    Are there any condo units that are located near the SW Waterfront Metro that are part of developments with more reasonable prices? Harbor Square and Tiber Island were high on the scale of condo fees.

  1. Theodore said at 10:41 pm on Tuesday April 21, 2009:

    Try Potomac Place Condo (potomacplacecondo.org) or Potomac Place Tower (potomacplacetower.com).  These are condos, not co-ops, and their monthly assessments are normal (i.e. not $1K/month).

  1. Joseph said at 8:03 am on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    Often Co-op buildings have underlying mortgages, and part of a high co-op fee actually represents a portion of your mortgage payments, reducing the amount of money you need at closing.  Property taxes are also paid through those fees, and often all utilities…so a high co-op fee can be misleading.

  1. David said at 11:19 am on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    I am also considering SW/Waterfront (as compared to Arlington) and had also noticed the low prices and high fees.  Anyone out there live in the area?  Is it safe?

  1. Michelle Buckman said at 1:39 pm on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    What Joseph said is true about co-op fees.  Some co-ops have underlying mortgages.  Some do not.  Property taxes are part of the monthly fees and many times, all utilities are included in the fees.  The fees also cover the building amenities such as 24 hour front desk, pool, exercise room.  A purchaser needs to bring less money to the settlement table when buying a co-op.

  1. SWLover said at 2:03 pm on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    I rented in SW for 5 years until just purchasing a condo 2 weeks ago at Potomac Place.  The SW Waterfront is a really lovely, quiet area.  It is sort of a hidden gem in DC.  My condo has a view of the Washington monument.  As another poster noted, the location provides easy access to everything.  Many residents enjoy the convenience of the fish market.  I have always felt safe in the area and have never experienced any incidents.  I would highly recommend SW to anyone considering the area.

  1. Maria said at 2:57 pm on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    I bought a condo townhouse on 3rd and G Sts SW in 2004 and lived there for a year before moving to the west coast.  Having lived in Capitol Hill prior to moving to SW I was impressed at how quiet and peaceful my new neighborhood was.  It is close to everything, has access to several metro stops, there is a police station in the neighborhood with regular patrols and being a 10 minute walk away from the waterfront and wharf was grand!  As a single gal living alone, I never felt unsafe.

    My condo fee was only $450 which included water and A/C as well as regular upkeep and maintenance of the exterior of the units and the common areas.

    I am now moving back to the DC area and SW is definitely one of the neighborhoods I will look into.  Prices are more reasonable than Capitol Hill and there has been much development since 2005 when I moved away.  It’s a great neighborhood!

  1. Morgan Gable said at 3:32 pm on Wednesday April 22, 2009:

    From what I’ve heard, it’s not quite true about “bringing less money to the settlement table when buying a co-op.”  I just learned that co-ops do not take FHA loans.  Therefore, instead of needing a 3.5% down payment, you need a 15% down payment for a co-op.

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.

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

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
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?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
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
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
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 »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
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
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
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
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
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?
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
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
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
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
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
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

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

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
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 ▾