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Living in a ‘village on the water’ at the Wharf in Southwest Washington

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The condos at the Vio at the Wharf in Southwest Washington are priced from the mid $400,000s to the upper $3 million range. Already 82 percent have sold. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

The combination of living in the city, having a water view and being surrounded by an array of new music venues, restaurants and shops is apparently irresistible, even if it comes with a big price tag.

The high-rise condo building known as the Vio at the Wharf in Southwest Washington is already 82 percent sold, even though the studio units are priced from the mid-$400,000s, and the largest penthouse units with three bedrooms are priced in the upper $3 million range.

“I didn’t look at anything else before putting a contract on one of the three-bedroom condos at the Wharf,” says Dawn Hackney, who is selling her large Potomac house and downsizing. “I was ready for a lifestyle change, and I wanted to live on the water. I love the idea of parking my car on the weekend and never using it, since I’ll be able to walk to restaurants, to hear music, to see art and to enjoy the river.”

Hackney, who works downtown, says she looks forward to regaining hours of her time with a shorter commute.

“I journey”: The inspiration for the Wharf, which stretches for a mile along the Washington Channel, was to be a “village on the water,” says Monty Hoffman, chief executive of PN Hoffman, developer of the Wharf, along with the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront team.

To achieve the village feel in the midst of the nation’s capital, the developers designed narrow cobblestone streets that start at the water, and focused on bringing in what Hoffman calls “experiential retail” — stores where people would want to linger, along with restaurants, music venues, and outdoor gathering spaces and fountains.

“Where else would you find a hardware store with a cafe in the middle where you can get a beer or a cup of coffee?” Hoffman says.

The 112-unit Vio, which means “I journey” in Latin, is the “high-water mark” for the Wharf, says Hoffman, who owns a penthouse unit with a water view.

“Residents have a front-row seat to the water, which is only 60 feet away from the building,” Hoffman says. “From the upper floors, you can see the Ferris wheel at National Harbor, the Lincoln Memorial, the Masonic Temple in Old Town, the Rosslyn skyline and the Pentagon.”

Buyers at Vio include downsizing empty-nesters, corporate leaders and politicians, Hoffman says. Some of the studios have been sold to people who travel frequently or who live in a more distant suburb and want a place to call home in the District, he says.


The open kitchen has white cabinets, a glass backsplash, stainless-steel appliances, gray quartz counters and a gray quartz island with waterfall sides. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Living there: The Vio has two entrances for residents: The main lobby, adjacent to Del Mar restaurant, includes a fountain, chandeliers, and a front desk with 24-hour concierge and porter services. A second entrance has private elevators into the penthouse units. Some units have parking spaces in the garage, and some have the option of buying storage spaces.

The third floor includes a resident lounge with a coffee bar, seating areas and a two-sided gas fireplace, along with a spiral staircase to the fitness center, which has equipment facing the water and a large yoga room. Glass doors lead from the resident lounge to the outdoor space, which has a firepit, a gas grill, seating areas and an infinity-edge pool above the terrace of the Del Mar restaurant.

The model unit, a two-bedroom, three-bathroom condo with about 1,760 square feet, is priced at $1,469,900. The front door opens directly into the open-floor-plan kitchen, dining and living area. This unit has a wall of windows facing a terrace with semi-enclosed glass panels. The terrace is adjacent to the resident outdoor lounge and firepit.

The open kitchen has white cabinets, a glass backsplash, stainless-steel appliances, gray quartz counters and a gray quartz island with waterfall sides. The master suite includes a bedroom with a niche for a dresser, large closets with California Closet organizers, and a private full bathroom with soaking tub, a separate glass-enclosed shower and two sinks. The second bedroom has a large walk-in closet, a wall of windows and a private bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower. The den has a closet and glass-paneled pocket doors. Nearby are a third bathroom and a coat closet.

Most waterfront-facing units in the L-shaped high-rise have a balcony or terrace; those with city views do not.

“Since I was an early purchaser, I picked a waterfront condo with two balconies,” Hackney says.


The master suite includes a bedroom with a niche for a dresser, large closets with California Closet organizers, and a private full bathroom with soaking tub, a separate glass-enclosed shower and two sinks. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

What’s nearby: Much of Phase 1 of the Wharf is complete, with the Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse featuring an array of music performances, and most restaurants and shops already open. Hackney heard Bob Dylan in concert even before moving into her condo. Four piers jut into the water and provide space for water taxis, a dockmaster’s building that can be rented for private events, a marina where boaters can dock for a visit, and a recreation pier with a fire pit, swings and boat rentals. Hackney has joined the Capital Yacht Club, which has a new waterfront building at the Wharf and which hosts events for members.

“By next summer, we’ll finish Phase 1, which will include the fish market, a rum distillery, an Italian market, District Donuts, a market and an outdoor pavilion,” Hoffman says.

Groundbreaking for Phase 2 will take place next year, with the entire project anticipated to be completed in 2021.

Not far from the Wharf are Arena Stage, Nationals Park and the museums on the National Mall.

Schools: Amidon-Bowen Elementary, Jefferson Middle School Academy, Eastern High.

Transit: Residents can walk to the L’Enfant Plaza and Waterfront Metro stations, and a free Wharf shuttle will provide service to L’Enfant Plaza and the Mall. The area is also served by several bus routes. Water taxis are available for service to Old Town Alexandria and Georgetown, with future locations anticipated.


The third floor includes a resident lounge with a coffee bar, seating areas and a two-sided gas fireplace. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

45 Sutton Sq. SW, Washington

The condos are priced from the mid $400,000s to the upper $3 million range.

Builder: PN Hoffman

Features: The condos have open floor plans with wide-plank hardwood flooring, 9-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, carpet in the bedrooms, recessed lighting, solar-shade window treatments, a washer and dryer, natural stone and quartz counters, tile backsplashes, upgraded appliances and Porcelanosa cabinets in the kitchen. They also have natural stone tile in the master bathroom, Porcelanosa tile in the secondary bathrooms and frameless glass shower enclosures. The closets have custom-designed organizers. Most units have a balcony or a terrace. Parking is included with the price of some units.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 1 to 4

Square footage: About 480 to 2,650

Condo association fees: From $467 for the remaining studios to $2,390 for a three-bedroom, four-bathroom residence.

View models: Open by appointment.

Contact: Call the sales office at 202-545-3271 or visit viodc.com .

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