- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Living in the city appeals to people for a variety of reasons, including, for some, a desire to be near cultural amenities, fine restaurants and interesting shops. For others, the urban lifestyle beckons because of the ease of traveling on foot or by public transportation to jobs and pleasurable pursuits.

The Watergate complex of residential buildings, a luxury hotel, office buildings and a health club offers a unique urban lifestyle a 10-acre "city within a city" for its residents. Its distinctive curving architecture has been a Washington landmark since 1970, and, of course, it was the setting for the burglary that gave rise to the infamous Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration.

The Watergate complex within minutes of Capitol Hill, the White House and other government, financial and business centers has constantly been home to many of Washington's most prominent residents. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, just across the street, provides a constant stream of entertainment, and Georgetown and Washington Harbor are within easy walking distance for dining and shopping. The Foggy Bottom Metro station is two blocks from the complex, and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is a quick drive away in Virginia.

For convenient living, this may be the most luxurious in town. Not only are catering services available from the Watergate Hotel, but the open-air shopping mall that is part of the complex includes a full-size grocery store, a drugstore, a post office, a bank and other shops. Upscale retail shopping includes such boutiques as Valentino and Yves St. Laurent. Six restaurants offering a range of cuisines also are part of the development. Medical and dental offices are part of the professional buildings that are convenient for residents, as well. A health club is available to residents and includes an indoor swimming pool, and four outdoor swimming pools and a sauna are available during the summer months.

When the weather is less pleasant, one of the unique amenities is that each Watergate building and section, including the shopping mall, is accessible to the others via carefully planned walkways both above and below ground. It's possible to go from one area to the next without ever needing to head into the wind or rain or icy weather. Having access to the drugstore and grocery in the middle of a snowstorm may be one of the best reasons to live in this luxurious setting.

The seven acres of Watergate gardens, fountains, promenades and parkland are based in part on the concept of Roman architect Luigi Moretti. For those who appreciate the urban environment but miss the greenery and natural beauty of the country, Watergate South offers a wonderful compromise. The gardens and fountains serve to complement the sweeping views of the Potomac River and the unspoiled natural beauty of Roosevelt Island.

According to associate broker Gigi Winston of Winston & Winston Real Estate, "Many of the Watergate's residents come for the view, but they stay for the convenience."

That convenience includes all maintenance on the grounds and on each co-op unit, so that when the air conditioning breaks down or the heat doesn't work, building maintenance workers will solve the problem. The only cost not covered in the monthly co-op fee for residents is the telephone bill: All utilities, including cable television, are paid for in one monthly fee, along with real estate taxes and maintenance costs.

There are about 650 co-op units in three Watergate buildings, and nearly as many floor plans. Some are town-home-style units with two or three levels, others have circular living rooms, and some have been architecturally incorporated with other units to become double or triple their original size. Balconies or patios often include spectacular Potomac views or overlook the swimming pool, fountains and gardens. Two-bedroom homes here range in price from $400,000 to $1.6 million, and at any given time there are six or seven available for sale.

One such unit, in Watergate South, is a two-bedroom, two-bath home priced at $599,000. The Watergate South building, the newest of the three buildings, was renovated recently.

This unit features a 34-foot-long balcony that runs the length of the residence and is accessible through sliding glass doors from the living room and both bedrooms. The balcony features a beautiful view of the Potomac, the Kennedy Center, the curving architecture of one of the Watergate office buildings, and, below, a triple-bowl fountain, lovely gardens, and a sparkling blue swimming pool surrounded by chaise lounges and tables and chairs awaiting relaxing residents.

This unit, thoroughly renovated two years ago, has a polished marble foyer floor that leads to the living room. The living room is 23 feet long and filled with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors.

At the back of the living room is a dining area adjacent to the kitchen. Originally, the kitchen had a service entrance to the outside hall, but this was closed off and converted into a pantry. Light oak cabinets and new counters complement the new kitchen floor, and new appliances add to the sparkle in this galley-style kitchen.

With a total of 1,298 finished square feet, this co-op offers a surprising amount of closet space. All Watergate units also have storage facilities within the complex for extra items. Just off the foyer in this home is a walk-in closet. Another closet has been converted for a stacked washer and dryer. Not all Watergate homes have laundry machines, so a common laundry facility is also available down the hall.

The first bedroom, currently used as a den, has a set of double doors linking it to the living room. When opened, the two rooms provide plenty of space for entertaining, but when closed, the den can function as a guest bedroom. Across the hall is a full bath, which includes a marble countertop and a combination shower/tub.

The larger bedroom has a walk-in closet and a second closet, along with a private full bath with a combination shower/tub and an enclosure for the toilet and bidet.

This unit has refinished oak parquet flooring in the hall, living room and bedrooms, although each bedroom has carpet over the wood flooring. The monthly co-op fee for this particular unit is $1,577.83.


Address: Watergate South, 700 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20037-2406

Community: Watergate

Age: Built in 1971

Price: $599,000

Size: 1,298 finished square feet

Taxes: Included in condo fee of $1,577.83 per month, which covers maintenance, real estate taxes and utilities

Exterior features: Watergate complex on 10 acres on the Potomac River; this unit includes balcony across entire apartment overlooking the Potomac, Kennedy Center, gardens and swimming pool

Interior features: Two bedrooms, two full baths (each updated), marble foyer, open living/dining room with sliding glass door to balcony, sliding glass doors from each bedroom onto balcony, new kitchen, wood parquet floors, carpeted bedrooms, stacked washer and dryer, additional storage within building.

Amenities: State-of-the-art security, 24-hour reception desk, garden and outdoor pool and sauna, health club with indoor pool, cable television, catering available from Watergate Hotel.

Close by: Complete shopping center on ground level, including full-size grocery store, upscale retail shops, six restaurants, laundry and valet service; walking distance to Kennedy Center, Foggy Bottom Metro Station, Georgetown and Washington Harbor; short drive to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, downtown Washington, Capitol Hill.

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Associate broker Gigi Winston of Winston & Winston Real Estate at 202/333-4167

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