The eastern half of the city has no shortage of booming neighborhoods. H Street NE has gone from up-and-coming to already here, Capitol Riverfront's transformation courtesy of Nationals Park has been miraculous and NoMa just seems like one giant construction site. Yet, while all of those neighborhoods have been turning heads with trendy bars and promises of movie theaters and Whole Foods, another Northeast neighborhood, Brookland, has been quietly becoming a destination rather than an area that people either pass through or avoid.
Realtors Mary Hodges and Kymber Lovett-Menkiti of Brookland based real estate company The Menkiti Group can attest to the growing popularity of the neighborhood. When their offices opened in 2005, they say that they spent a lot of time trying to sell people on the neighborhood whereas now, the people that come to buy houses are already familiar with Brookland. Also, they say that thanks to improving education options, this is no longer a neighborhood that young couples leave once they're looking to have children.
In fact the biggest shift that the Menkiti realtors have seen in the past three years in terms of new Brookland residents is that they're no longer first time home owners. Increasingly, they say they see people that already own condos in places like Dupont Circle and Capitol Hill moving to the detached homes of Brookland. In addition to being less dense, the homes sell for an average of $650K-$750K.
As for what's spurring this sudden popularity, the rash of restaurants opening in the area can't hurt. Everything from bars owned by the people behind The Pug and Meridian Pint to pizza place Menomale which charmed Eater DC readers earlier this summer is making its way into the neighborhood.
Admittedly, development remains a heated issue in Brookland. "Brookland is not a historic district which is both a good and a bad thing," says Hodges. Since the Brookland residents do not need to go through channels like the Historic Preservation Review Board, putting additions on houses is relatively easy to do, although occasionally aesthetically displeasing. Also, the sudden popularity is bringing one unwelcome addition to Brookland: traffic. Lovett-Menkiti recalls someone on one of the two "very active" Brookland listserves complaining about this very thing.
"I got stuck in 10 minutes of traffic in Brookland and I got concerned so I called 911 to see if anything was wrong!" said one perhaps overconcerned resident.
Check out the video below that one of the artistically inclined residents of this long time artist haven made about the neighborhood.
· The Menkiti Group [Official Site]
· Can Monroe Street Market Make an Arts Hub out of Brookland? [CDC]
· Eater Readers' Favorite (and Least Favorite) Pizzas [Eater DC]