Tuesday, February 28, 2017

First Building Completed!

I first contacted Stanley Martin back in late January 2017 about Riverdale Park Station and was told the model units would not be open until April 2017.

They just updated Realtor.com to say that the first open house will be held on March 4th from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM (This Saturday)

Hopefully this means they will be ahead on our building (second building) as well and we can close in May.

Since the sales office they were using was 45 minutes away I think this will help sales in the community greatly.

Maybe this means they will also get some pictures of the units on their website and the real estate websites…  Currently the only pictures they have on all the real estate websites are about 1 inch in diameter and cannot be expanded.

I am also assuming by this weekend you will finally be able to drive into Riverdale Park Station and it won’t be walled off anymore.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Why Riverdale? – Part 4 of 5

Item #4:    Large townhouses with open floorplans and rooftop decks:

First positive is that Stanley Martin is the builder of these townhouses and they have a reputation of being a builder that is one step up from a so called “Production Builder” like Ryan, Pulte or Lennar.

Although the models were not ready yet when we were looking at the start of February we were able to do a hardhat tour of two of the units in the first building.  (Units 4 and 5 which will eventually be model units once completed in March)

Even though they were not finished we could tell the rooms looked large and the floorplans very open.

The thing we liked the most was the loft with adjoining rooftop terrace.   The terrace was spacious and very private since it was overlooking the woods and had walls up to separate you from your neighbors.  Since the land behind the first row of units (1-39) are all owned by metro there is no possibility that they will be built on.  Also for the first three buildings the metro is not even in the backyard since it curves away.  (although this is not true for units 31-39)

The Cassidy floor plan is the only plan that fully met our requirements (3 bedrooms, 2 car garage, walk-in closets) but unfortunately it seemed like everyone else felt that way as well.   I will do another longer blog post about this in the future.

Still… even the smallest plan of the three (Dawson) still had nice open floor plan with 2 good sized bedrooms with a loft area that would work as a guest space along with a very respectable 1870 square feet and all 3 models had the private outdoor terrace.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quick Construction Update

My wife drove by yesterday and saw that building 1 (Units 1-6) now has power.   Since this is the last thing they do that means those units are getting very close to being ready for occupancy.  I have heard the completion date of those has moved up to March (it was originally supposed to be April).

More importantly our building (Units 7-17) has finally went vertical…   First level and some of second level has just started going up.   Hoping this wonderful weather is keeping them ahead of schedule so we can close before May 31st when our lease in DC expires.

She also saw all the signage for the Whole Foods is now up and lit.  I read on another site that the Whole Foods has announced they will open in April.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Riverdale? – Part 3 of 5

Item #3:    Great retail options just steps away:

As someone who WAS a gym rat until I moved to DC having a Gold’s Gym DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE is a huge plus for me.  No excuses for me now!  Also just a few feet away will be a Jersey Mike's which is my favorite sub place by far.  It is good the Golds Gym will be there as I will need it after all of the Jersey Mike's I will be eating.

Personally I am not a huge fan of Whole Foods which I know is a huge draw for others who have picked this community but it will be nice to be just feet away from being about to get fresh produce and other smaller things that I cannot get from Costco.   (where we get 90% of everything we own)

Burtons, Habit Burger, District Taco and MOD Pizza will also literally be feet away.   I’ve never been to any of these places but I have heard great things about Burtons and District Taco.

Even more exciting is there are still 11 spaces for rent… 2 spaces are currently in negotiations but have not been announced.  One of the spaces is over 20,000 square feet and another is over 7000 square feet. 

There have been lots of rumors online about what these remaining 13 retailers will be and I am personally excited about each one I read about.  With already so many marquee names committed to Riverdale Park Station there is no telling who else they will attract and each great option they add only makes the community more attractive.  Lots of upside here.

See the full retail plan on the “Riverdale Park Station Info” tab of this blog:  http://riverdaleparkstation.blogspot.com/p/riverdale-park-station.html

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why Riverdale? – Part 2 of 5

Item #2:   Distance and walk to College Park Metro:

Our building is only 0.56 miles away from the College Park metro stop.

The actual walk will only be 0.83 miles once the hiker/biker trail opens.

More important than the distance of the walk is the safety of the walk.   

Currently we are renting only 0.4 miles from the Brookland metro stop in DC but the walk is not safe for my wife especially after dark.  There have been many muggings and robberies even in the past 2 years since we have been here.     

The hiker/biker trail through the Calvert Hills neighborhood although a bit farther of a walk (0.8 miles) seems like it will be a much safer walk through a very nice neighborhood.   

Everywhere we looked that had a walkable metro stop the safety of the walk was a concern.  Although nothing is perfectly safe, it seems to me this should be a huge positive for Riverdale.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Riverdale? – Part 1 of 5

There are five major reasons we went with the Towns at Riverdale Park Station over all of the other options we looked at in the previous post. 

This post is VERY long so I will write and post it in five separate parts over the next few days and then add the entire thing to the “Why Riverdale?” tab/page of this blog when I am finished.

I have ordered these items in the order of importance to us with the first post item being the most important.

Item #1:   Overall design/layout of community and location, location, location:

I thought the overall site plan of this community looked great.  (see the “Riverdale Park Station Info” tab of this blog: http://riverdaleparkstation.blogspot.com/p/riverdale-park-station.html).  

There is going to be a “tot lot” just two buildings down from the one we will be in.   Village Green looks like it will be a nice park-like space just a few blocks away.

See the video on the developer’s website for a good idea of what this will all look like when it is done:

Calvert Park and Riverdale Community Park are also in very short walking distance directly bordering the development which add even more green space if Village Green isn’t enough.

Another huge positive is the hiker biker trail right through center of community.  Once this is opened the trail will go from College Park all the way into DC.  You can take this trail to the Hyattsville Arts District in minutes.   One thing I love about living in DC now is when it is nice outside I can bike to work and get there in minutes and even from Riverdale I think I should still be able to do it in 30 minutes or so.

Read more about the trail here:

Also this development is:

Less than 1 mile to the University of Maryland campus.

Located in the new Discovery District.  (NOAA, ESSIC, IARPA, etc)
Read about it here:

Nestled right in the middle of a great neighborhood.  (Calvert Hills/University Park/Riverdale Park)

Less than 1 mile and easy walking distance to College Park Tennis Club (JTCC), one of the best tennis clubs in the nation with 32 courts and 15 indoor courts.  I am a USTA 4.0 tennis player who has been a member of this club since I moved to DC and when I realized how close Riverdale Park Station was to College Park Tennis Club it was just the icing on the cake for this decision.

In addition, I realize when you even mention the Purple Line at this point folks roll their eyes because they believe it will never happen but SOMEDAY the Purple Line will be built.   They have planned a stop near the community at 201 and River Rd…  Even if that doesn’t happen until 2022 whenever it does happen it will also help Riverdale.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Search Process:

After deciding we would buy instead of renting we looked at quite a few properties with the requirements from the previous post in mind before we decided on Riverdale Park Station. These are all the other options we looked at and our thought process.

1. Otis Place Flats - Condo : Brookland, DC The location here was PERFECT for both of us, near where we are renting currently. It is only steps from the Brookland metro. But they were asking upper 500’s and the units were only 1200 square feet. Taking a tour of one of the units it just seemed WAY TOO SMALL.

2. Totten Mews - Townhouse : Fort Totten, DC This was about a 0.6 mile walk to the metro and in DC so good location. 1900 Square feet and 3 bed and 2.5 bath so it was big enough and the design looked excellent… The negatives were the base price was 600k and once we added our selections we were looking at 650k and the unit did not have a good outdoor space and the elementary school was poor.

 3. Hyattsville Arts District – Townhouse: Hyattsville, MD We liked the Arts District itself and the two townhouses for sale that we looked at here were nice. 1900 square feet, 3 bed, 2.5 bath with rooftop decks. Plus with asking prices in the low 400’s this would be below our budget. The killer for us is this was not walkable to the metro, you would have to drive or take a shuttle.

 4. Editors Park – Townhouse: Hyattsville, MD These townhouses here were great and had everything we needed. Also extremely close to the PG Plaza metro station and very walkable to everything. 3 bedrooms, 2 car garage and the floorplans were solid. The issue we had here is we really just did not like the PG Plaza area as we have shopped there many times in the past living not too far away. We also did not like the overall layout of the community.

5. Greenbelt Station – Townhouse: Greenbelt, MD This was the first property we looked at in December of 2016. The Strauss Attic was probably our favorite townhouse floorplan that we looked at out of all of them. Plenty of space and a perfect layout. Also the Greenbelt metro station was only a 0.8 walk from the unit. The only negative I had was there was really nothing good to walk to except the metro station. They had planned retail at some point but I did not see any being built yet. Once you got outside the community the surrounding area was not very nice. Still we probably would have ended up buying here had we not looked at Riverdale Park Station as this was 95% of what we were looking for. The idea to create this blog was actually after I found a few blogs while doing research for a purchase at Greenbelt Station. Shout out to http://greenbeltmatisse.blogspot.com and http://allstraussnostress.blogspot.com/ and http://najstraussgreenbelt.blogspot.com for giving me the idea for this blog.

 6. University Park –Single Family Home: Riverdale, Maryland After deciding that we really liked the Riverdale area we seriously considered buying a single family home in the area directly behind where Riverdale Park Station is currently being built. We figured this way we would still get everything the community has to offer without a HOA fee and we get a yard, don’t share a wall, and even be closer to the metro… Although the prices were lower (350-400k) the homes were all from the 1920’s and had small rooms and small square footage. (most were from 1200 sq feet to 1500 sq feet). Many still had radiators or baseboard heat and needed a lot of updates (no open floor plan, etc). Also when we considered that at some point in the future we would want to rent the home and low maintenance was important to us we reluctantly ruled these out.

The next post will focus on why we went with the Towns at Riverdale Park Station.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Currently just a hole in the ground

Our unit will be in the second building completed which is slated to be finished in late May or June.

In these pictures it will be directly to the right of the building you see standing here.  They are supposed to start building this week.   Here are some recent pictures of the site approaching from what will be the center of the community.


About us:

We are two married professionals in our late 30’s with our first child on the way. (wife edit:  wife is in mid-30's)  We moved to D.C. two years ago and have always owned a single family home before moving to DC.   We got lucky and found an amazing fully furnished single family home in NE DC for rent in early 2015.    I work in Capitol Hill and my wife works in NE DC so this was a perfect location and a perfect property so even though the rent was high (or so we thought at the time) we jumped at the chance.

Our lease was up in June of 2017…  after looking for a good rental for a few months at the end of 2016 I finally decided even in an overheated real estate market if we could find a place to buy that was not too insanely priced near both of our jobs we would buy instead of renting.

After having a few high maintenance older single family homes in the past we were strongly leaning toward a new townhouse because it is one less thing to worry about.  I also like the square footage and open floorplans you can get with little maintenance and low cost.

So our search criteria were as follows:

  1. -          Prefer less than $550,000… flexibility up 600k or higher but only if things are perfect.
  2. -          Prefer a new townhouse, condo or a newer single family house.
  3. -          Prefer at least 1500 square feet.
  4. -       Prefer a property that will be easy to rent out many years down the road.
  5. -          Need at least 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.   (master, guest and baby room)
  6. -          Would like a decent outdoor space (deck or patio).
  7. -          Commute is paramount for both of us.   Less than 30 minutes metro or drive to both of our work locations.  Walkable to a metro stop is a must have requirement.
  8. -          Walkability in general  (groceries, gym, restaurants without a car)
  9. -          Prefer to have a decent elementary school at least so we don’t have to go private right away.
  10. -          Needs to be ready by May or June 1st at the latest.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Riverdale Park Station Townhouse - Purchase Contract Signed

Just signed a purchase agreement for a townhouse at Riverdale Park Station.  I plan to blog about the process here.