Saturday, January 12, 2008


Follow the rats to low-cost living in Logan Circle

Jesse and I were walking back from our tax-deductible business lunch at Subway when I pointed out a really cool building that would be a great condo conversion—and right next two Caribou Coffee on shady, boulevard-like Rhode Island avenue between 14th and 15th streets NW.

(It is a building I know well from my adventures trying to help several new young and shiny DC residents find a rental convenient to everything. To be honest, it is not the first place I show. We end up here after exhausting all other possibilities and credit scores. Of course, I know that the same sloppily- dressed guy in an ill-fitting pair of pants shirt and woven 80’s tie guy will be there doing word search puzzles in an empty office with an empty desk. He will shrug and silently walk us through the stuffy unattended lobby to see the worn-out apartments. We will follow the paths made by previous tenants in the parquet tile floors, dirty vertical blinds missing a few teeth, the smell of cheap lacquer, the fluorescent hum and the groovy pendant light inside the door. While the sales rep busily thumbs a text message (to WHOM? I wonder) we realize that it could be worse—and the price is right. (Initially, the Craigslist ad excites: great location, rooftop deck, great views, near Whole Food Market and Caribou etc---) But I had heard about rodents….)

So we walked closer to take a look. We were both caught off guard by the huge fluorescent signs posted in an upper floor’s windows facing Rhode Island: 47 Rats Killed, it read. “Don’t Rent Here.” So my hunch had been correct. And apartmentratings.com bloggers were not lying. Every market needs a place like this. I would just love to be able to buy it and transform it..

The rats have good taste…in design too. All that aside, it has great natural design. The place just needs to be gutted and given a second chance. It’s of concrete construction, retro chic lines, and young enough to be worth putting some work into .Many of the units whether one or two-bedroom, have two levels with high ceilings and great windows. This place seems ripe (and smells it!) if you can get your hands on it! BUT--Do rats have the “right of first refusal?”

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