There is no doubt that property values in Brookland have been going up in the past few years. While many of us view this as a good thing, there can be downsides for existing homeowners as well. For example, I have noticed that two plots of land that have sat dormant for years were sold recently. While this may not seem like a big deal on its face, I found it interesting because these plots aren’t your typical sprawling Brookland “wow, what a huge yard in the city!” kind of plots; but rather, narrow, smallish properties. I am left wondering what kind of homes can be squeezed onto these properties and how the adjacent homeowners feel about having new construction suddenly go up so close to their homes. In recent years there has been heated discussion in forums such as the Brookland listerv about how to deal with new construction homes. Some call them “McMansions” and “out of step” with the character of Brookland’s housing stock. I see what they mean to a degree. Brookland’s large lots, with a variety of styles of older homes seems to characterize our neighborhood. But I also wonder what people can realistically expect from new construction. I mean, what are developers supposed to build? Exact replica victorian or bungalow style homes? Buyer’s expectations for homes, let alone new homes, are very different that they were just 20 years ago. For example, when I was growing up, most of my friends and neighbors had one or two bathrooms in their homes, which by today’s standard is many times unacceptable.
So, here is the first plot, located at 3712 13th St NE , which sold in early November for $197,340. As you can see from this DC surveyors report picture (below right), it is pretty narrow and long.
We noted the sale of this plot a while back, and now we are starting to see some activity there. The trees (see picture on the left) were cleared on that property recently, which breaks my heart as a tree lover. I knew it would happen, as you couldn’t build around them, but it is still too bad. This property is especially interesting as sits on quite a slope, so I wondered what type of home will be built given that challenge.
After passing by again after the trees were felled, I saw that they were doing some serious excavating. I can’t say I blame someone for wanting to build on that property despite its narrow dimensions, as it faces the beautiful (if neglected) Fort Bunker Hill Park, and the rear of the home could potentially have fantastic views of the Basilica. Plus, that block of 13th Street is pretty nice, with well-maintained homes and mature leafy trees, and short walk to the Metro to boot. Here is a pic of the property taken just a few days ago (right). You can see a black mesh barrier on the right side of the property, and a white cinderblock barrier on the left hand side. We will keep our eyes on this one for sure.
This other plot was recently sold on December 1st for $50,999. Located at 1020 Kearney St. NE, and pictured below, it is also situated nicely, being close to the Metro and 12th St. On this very nice block in Brookland, all the surrounding houses are kept up very well. I suspect a long narrow home would have to be built here. As far as I can guess, this sale was not a welcome event on the block as there was a sign near the property, presumably placed by a neighbor, decrying the sale and development of the land while it was on the market. Almost immediately after the sale, a fence around the property went up. We will keep tabs on this one as well.