Most Improved Reputation of 2012: Anacostia

by Shilpi Paul

Good Hope and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE
Good Hope and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE

In several ways, 2012 was a banner year for Anacostia. New development sprouted up, and investors and artists started thinking differently about the neighborhood’s homes, community and retail potential.

After learning in June that the highest selling home in Anacostia had jumped to $430,000 from $385,000 in just a year, we decided to investigate to see what was happening with the neighborhood housing market.

“Every boarded-up house is being rehabbed,” investor Irene Dubrovina told us at the time. “The biggest problem right now is trying buy the fixer uppers. There is that much competition.” Dubrovina said that she had purchased two Anacostia homes for around $75,000 a piece, and sold them for three times as much. One of her buyers was a former resident who left and came back after finishing school in the hopes that the area is ready to blossom.

The investment activity was echoed in a recent Pursuit, which featured a young woman making $5,200 a month on an Anacostia rental property that she purchased earlier this year. From her perspective, the neighborhood was one of the the best places in the city to invest money: the competition was there, but less than that in buzzier Bloomingdale or H Street.

Most Improved Reputation of 2012: Anacostia: Figure 1
Beth Ferraro, left, and Nikki Peele, right of ARCH Development.

By the numbers and on paper, Anacostia appears to be a good place to buy, so much so that the real estate website Trulia mildly obsessed over it in a post earlier this year.

Real estate is not the only thing bringing people east of the river, however. The annual spring party Cherry Blast was held in Anacostia this year, and LUMEN8Anacostia, a months-long art party, attracted hipsters and artists to enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, live performances and an art market.

LUMEN8 was organized by ARCH Development Corporation, which wanted to give people an excuse to visit Anacostia and lower the fear-factor associated with the neighborhood. UrbanTurf interviewed a few of the folks behind ARCH this summer about their efforts to revitalize Anacostia through the arts, events, and their shared work space, The Hive.

Unfortunately, the retail has been slow to grow. Though Andy Shallal of Busboys and Poets has made an informal promise to open up shop there, there has not been any sign that he is moving forward. Uniontown, one of the first sit-down restaurants in Anacostia, has closed down. Vacant storefronts abound.

The retail situation, along with the poor-performing schools and crime issues that still exist, will likely continue to shape peoples’ perceptions of the neighborhood. But we think that when people say “Anacostia” in 2013, they will also think of the budding real estate market, events like LUMEN8, and organizations like ARCH Development Corporation that are actively making the neighborhood a better place.

See other articles related to: historic anacostia, dclofts, best of 2012, anacostia

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/most_improved_reputation_of_2012_anacostia/6412


  1. Betty Butterly said at 8:45 pm on Thursday December 20, 2012:
    Launch a program to make Anacostia and all of DC a gun free zone. Get surrounding counties and cities to do the same thing. If that seems too difficult to rid the District of guns right now then start now to control the sale of ammunition. To purchase ammunition, you have to get a doctors prescription to purchase bullets. The bullets will also be taxed at $1,000 per bullet. And the opposition to this idea starts??? NOW
  1. VonniMediaMogul said at 5:40 am on Sunday December 30, 2012:
    My God Betty Shuttup. DC and Illinois are the only jurisdictions in the entire country where it is illegal to carry guns in public. Yea, a lot of good that's doing right? Now find something else to b*tch about. Inner city crime is part of what you get when you have poor school systems and politicians deliberately ignoring our youth or the area in general (Anacostia) for the last 20 yrs

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