- - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

With neighbors like this, who needs a home security system?

It’s a question some residents of Northwest Washington’s tony Kalorama neighborhood are asking now that the Obamas and first daughter Ivanka Trump are taking up residence there — along with their Secret Service guardians.

Jersey barriers and police patrol cars now cordon off the 2400 block of Belmont Road, which leads to the Obama family’s post-White House address.



Around the corner, Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, will live with their three children in a white, blue-shuttered brick-front home on Tracy Place. Secret Service agents hover in front of the six-bedroom house, but only a small portion of the sidewalk is inaccessible to pedestrians.

Longtime residents of the tidy and tranquil enclave are learning to adapt.

“The other day my daughter had some friends over, but we didn’t call their names in to the Secret Service,” said Bart J. Gordon, soon to be Mr. Obama’s next-door neighbor. “They weren’t going to let them in. My wife bought a plate of cookies over [to security barrier].”

Not all the neighbors in suddenly securitized Kalorama are optimistic, pointing out that parking and traffic can be difficult, even in quiet times.

“If they continue to block off Belmont Road,” said biographer Sally Bedell Smith, a longtime Kalorama denizen, “it might have a major impact on the neighborhood.”

It’s no coincidence that former President Barack Obama, Ms. Trump and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos chose the hilltop neighborhood northwest of Dupont Circle. Kalorama — which means “beautiful view” in Greek — has been ranked as one of the wealthiest residential communities in the United States.

“This raises the bar a little bit,” Mr. Gordon said of the Obamas’ advent. “But we’re used to it.”

The former congressman from Tennessee and his wife have lived on Belmont Road for two decades. Now a partner with the law firm K&L Gates LLP, Mr. Gordon said, “The Obama and Ivanka Trump families are welcome. And it’s a great neighborhood. We have block parties.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy called Kalorama’s secluded, leafy streets home. So did Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, whose house is now the Embassy of Myanmar. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld also had a home there, and his neighbors got used to the black SUVs out front.

Many of Kalorama’s homes — which real estate agents say run in the $4 million to $7 million range — were built by noted architects and serve as residences for foreign ambassadors.

Washington Fine Properties co-owner William F.X. Moody sold the Kushners’ house, less than two blocks from the Obamas, in December for $5.5 million. The Kushners, no doubt, will find the home ideal for entertaining, with its spacious sunroom and garden.

Also on Tracy Place, tobacco heiress Nancy Reynolds Bagley and husband Soroush Shehabi, who publish the glossy Washington Life magazine.

Other Kaloramans include Kay Kendall, former board president of the Washington Ballet, and her husband, Jack Davies, founder of AOL International; margarine heiress Joan Fleischmann Tobin; Washington hostess/philanthropist Esther Coopersmith; and lobbyist Juleanna Glover, who was press secretary to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Obamas are renting their nine-bedroom mansion from Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary to President Clinton.

Do the Gordons have any plans to welcome the Obamas? Tuna noodle casseroles? Warm apple strudel?

“That’s being discussed with their people,” Mr. Gordon said. “Right now, he said, [Mr. Obama] needs a breather.”

Julia Brouillette contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide