Thoughts on buying a Home in Rosedale?

RCA received the below email yesterday from a first-time home buyer, we'll call her "Star-struck", interested in the Rosedale neighborhood, around the new Starburst intersection. Please let her know your thoughts on the neighborhood by commenting below...

I am looking to buy a home for the first time and am quite interested in living near the Starburst intersection because I believe in a few years time it will be a beautiful, thriving hub in Northeast. I'm quite attracted to the Rosedale Rec Center, too, for the open space and swimming pool.

1. I wanted to gain insight from people living in the Rosedale area. I have already spoken with DC police officers and investigated crime in the area. I do have some concerns because I've heard there's been ongoing gun violence near 16th and E Streets. Can you shed any light on this from a neighborhood perspective?

2/3. Also, can you share with me any information about the neighborhood's history or demographics? For instance, are most residents long-time, or has there been a large influx of new people moving to the area?

4. Can you tell me anything about living near the Starburst intersection in general?

I am grateful for any information you can share. I found many beautiful houses in the neighborhood but want to make sure I can make a well informed decision in regards safety and quality of life.

Thank you in advance,



Maureen Benitz said...

Star Struck -
I live on Kramer St, which is about 2 1/2 blocks SE of the Starburst Intersection. I bought my house in July, 2005 and have lived there the entire time. I've had periodic roommates, but for the most part, have lived alone. I'm a 30 yo, SWF. For a long time I was the only white one on the block (for about 18 months).

In your email to Ken you mentioned the Rec Center. I've only been in it a few times - specifically the pool. Its meh at best. Its much easier/nicer/cleaner to go to the pool at Eastern Market. I hope with the new Rec Center there is a newer pool for residents to use. Its fine if you've got kids in the summer, but if you are looking to swim laps, it is not the place for you.

On the whole, I've been happy with the neighborhood. I've never been attacked, my house hasn't been robbed, and aside from one incident where the kids scratched "F***ER" into my car, nothing has happened to my car.

I don't know if you've lived in a transitional neighborhood before, but it can be ummm, interesting. People hang out on stoops/porches/cars at all hours of the day. This morning, I was going for a run (at 6 am), and one of the neighbors was sitting in a lawn chair drinking a Corona. It takes some time to get used to the way people live (littering, trash, loud music, congregating outside, etc).

As best I can tell, most of the neighbors are longer term residents. There are a few other gentrifiers on my street, but I would say 50% of the homes are longer term residents. There is a LOT of Section 8 housing, which has a pretty high turn over. I would love to see the Pentacle (at the Starburst Intersection) and Azeeze Bates (16th and E/D) gutted, but thats a loooooong way from happening.

Crime at 16th and D. Yeah, it is there, it goes on all the time. There is an MPD cruiser parked there (outside of Azeeze Bates) to deter it - not sure how effective it is. But if you are going to move into the neighborhood, you have to be prepared for that, because crime is everywhere.

I do think/hope/pray/wish that in 5 years the neighborhood really does change and it doesn't feel so much like a ghetto. But these things take time. In the 4 years I've been here, so much has changed on H St. I still don't feel comfortable walking to say, Sticky Rice, but I will walk to the Argonaut. I do like all the restaurants (Sticky Rice is my fav for dinner, Argo is fav pub, Taylor makes mean sammys, etc) and more are coming! Yeah! I also do Bikram Yoga (3rd and H), and that studio appears to be doing well.

I would recommend reading this blog- http://frozentropics.blogspot.com/
Elise, the author, is a youngish (30s) homeowner who lives on FL Ave. She also works (or worked) at the Argonaut and is an ANC Commissioner. She definitely has her ears to the ground in the area and knows what is happening.

Good luck with your search. Feel free to email me with any other questions you may have.

Anonymous said...

Dear Star:
Your timing is perfect. Rosedlae Rec Center will torn down soon. A new Community Center with pool,
gym, exsercise center and daycare is under way. Land fora proposed library is part of the program. Benning Road will change successfully. Because it all looks messy now prices may be very good. Jump in...the water is fine.

Brit W.

ro said...

I live off of 16th and the violence around E st/Isherwood has been muted considerably in the past year. Partly because of the round-the-clock police presence but also several of the homes that were the base of operation for a lot of the troublemakers have been shuttered and are on the market. When I first moved here 4 years ago there was a thriving drug market at those intersections that has more or less been put to a stop (or at least moved elsewhere) and there was a string of robberies around that area that has also dissipated. And anecdotally I can tell you the frequency of gunfire has plummeted.

Overall the neighborhood is still a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side you have very good housing stock over here that’s still relatively affordable, you have a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene on the H st. corridor which is really starting to take shape and should be a very nice destination in a couple more years. And both the Benning road and Bladensburg strips are also attracting new businesses and housing as well. You have a pretty decent public golf course nearby if you’re into that, you have the bike/jogging trails behind the stadium and three supermarkets to choose from in the outlying area. You have a very quick drive (or moderate walk) to eastern market, and barracks row, congressional cemetery, union station and downtown. The rec center on 17th is also being rebuilt and will hopefully be a bit more functional and safer once it’s done.

On the down side there are still a lot of quality of life issues you have to deal with. Like Maureen, I was in for a bit of a culture shock with regards to how some of the neighbors sit around and drink all day and night, the littering, the yelling in the streets, the blasting of car radios, etc. Crime itself is not as bad as some would lead you to believe, just look at the MPD statistics for yourself. I feel pretty safe walking around the neighborhood. Of course you need to be alert, but I walk to H st and back frequently at night and used to walk home from RFK a lot at night back when the Nationals were playing there.

While most of the homeowners, whether old timers or newcomers, are fairly respectful and keep their properties up, the overwhelming majority of the problems on my block are directly attributable to the section 8 renters. Like Maureen said, the turnover in these houses is high, which can be good and bad. We’ve had a lot of success leaning on the landlords directly and have gotten some of the problematic tenants dealt with. Also it seems that more and more of the rental properties are being put up for sale, which will hopefully bring in people who have a vested financial interest in improving the neighborhood.

Rosedale has a long way to go, but the progress I have seen in the past four years has been encouraging and makes me feel like I made the right decision moving here. The hard part is convincing prospective homeowners to look past the rough edges and see that there is a lot of value, charm and potential in this area.

Anonymous said...

Star Struck,

Great questions! I just recently bought a house near the Rosedale Rec Center and had similar concerns. I am a 27 year old female and think buying my house was the best decision and investment I could have made. As other people have said, the neighborhood is in transition so there is Section 8 housing, and loud music and drinking at all hours of the day, etc. But I can honestly say I have never felt threatened by anyone, feared for my safety, or had property damaged. There have been several car breakins on my street, but as with anywhere, just don't leave your wallet or GPS out in the open and give people a reason to do crimes.

The block I live on is filled with people that have lived there for 10+ years but everyone I've met has been extremely nice and helpful. And for the most part they want to see the neighborhood change for better as well.

Living near the starburst interesection is great. You have easy access to the highway, you can walk to H St NE, and to RFK Stadium. I've lived in the area for several years before buying my house and the change that's happening on H St is mind blowing. Every day there seems to be new buisnesses investing in the area. And they are currently laying tracks for the eventual streetcars (although it may be years before it is up and running). I walk to H St all the time (day and night) and have not had any concerns with my safety.

I don't know much about 16th and E St but I did look at several houses there and the camera's on the coner kinda turned me off. I would also suggest looking on Kramer, Gales St, and Rosedale St as well. Even though these are only mere blocks away they felt like safer streets and the people were excited to see new neighbors that have a vested interest in the neighborhood.

Ok enough of how much I love the area. The moral is that I think you will be making a great investment. Just be smart about things and understand that the neighborhood is in transition.

Anonymous said...

Star Struck -

Go for it! Rosedale is the perfect location, near Cap Hill, Lincoln Park, H St, Stadium-Armory metro, Langston Golf Course, and I-295. Homes are affordable and neighbors are friendly. Street activity (kids, drunks) varies from block to block, as it does anywhere in the city. If you are friendly and have common sense, you'll be fine.

- 18th & D NE

dave said...

Star Struck,

You should go for it. I lived at 19th and D NE from 2005-2008. It was a little rough around the edges at first, but I think that there are mostly good days ahead. I left the area last year and I hear that there is even more developement on H Street than before. Whan I return to the area next year, I plan on buying in that area because is still affordable and this is amazing when you think about how close it is to downtown.

Fido lover said...

It really is one of the best neighborhoods in DC - especially for dog lovers. You can get a house with a yard within walking distance of Congressional Cemetery, Lincoln Park, and Kingman Island, all for under 350k! Try doing that in the rest of the city west of the Anacostia. Even if you could find a similar place closer to downtown- (but you can't) where are you going to take Fido? The new dog park at S and New Hampshire NW is only about 30 x40 feet! Poor Fido.

Anonymous said...

15th and F Sts NE

Not sure if I'm in Rosedale or not, but we are near the starburst. we moved in one year ago and have really enjoyed the neighborhood. We don't have any problems with noisy neighbors or drunks or loud music (knock on wood) and I've been pleasantly surprised with how friendly all our neighbors (and strangers) are. I don't think the crime is too bad, comparatively speaking. You hear a lot of sirens and see police helicopters, but thats the extend for us. I would suggest being careful about what block you move on, come back at night multiple times to check it out, talk to neighbors, etc. I think your experience can change depending on the hyper-local environment of each block. Good luck,


Star Struck said...

Thank you to all the kind neighbors who shared opinions about Rosedale. I'm all the more excited to continue my search in the area and hope to find a place soon. ...

Your (hopefully) soon-to-be neighbor,
Star Struck

Anonymous said...

The Rosedale Rec Center was just closed. I don't remember what the plan was for
that. I'm sure someone on this list knows.

1. I've not seen the violence around the starburst, though that doesn't mean it isn't there. There was a car crash after a police chase last week on 15th St.
Only excitement I've seen in the immediate neighborhood (I live on 15th St). I was attacked by 3 juvenile delinquents on Tennessee Ave several blocks away last

2/3. I am new to the area, just moved in in June. My neighbor has lived in theneighborhood his entire life. So there is a mix.

4. Very easy to walk to H St corridor. H St is getting new businesses constantly. Close enough to Lincoln Park to walk the dog there on weekends. Walking
distance to the H St farmers market and Eastern Market. If you like walking (like if you have a dog) I would recommend making your walks to the south and to the west. Tons of trees and grassy areas for dog walks. This neighborhood is really on sort of a dividing line between nicer areas and not so nice areas, so
be aware of that. I actually quite like the Safeway, though many people do not. Walking to metro is far. There is relatively convenient bus service to red
line, or to orange-blue heading out of the city, but for some reason no routes that head to eastern market that I can find.

An anonymous post from the ANC6A listserv dated 09/26/09(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anc-6a) (09/26/09)