For over fifty years, the tower-and-dome façade of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and Catholic University of America has defined DC’s Brookland neighborhood. Although they are still characteristics of Brookland, the neighborhood is so much more.
The streets are full of bungalows, rowhomes and detached single-family houses. New development is coming in the forms of rental units, ground-floor retail, the Arts Walk (a short promenade of storefronts featuring local artists) and many boutique stores and restaurants. 12th Street, considered Brookland’s “main street,” has become the site of new bars and restaurants. Spots such as Brookland’s Finest, Smith Public Trust, Steel Plate, Askale Café and Salumeria 2703 have Washingtonians flocking to them every evening. The neighborhood is becoming a beehive of the Washington, D.C. cultural scene. Institutions and developments for Brookland and Edgewood’s community of artists, including the Brookland Artspace Lofts (which provide affordable living and studio spaces), the renovated and expanded Dance Place (which offers classes and performance space), and Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society, a non-profit jazz club that hosts local bands, is making Brookland extremely relevant in the DC arts scene.
Additional development plans for 12th Street in the coming months and years include the proposed redevelopment of existing retail space between Monroe and Newton Streets, to include multi-story living spaces and ground-floor retail; and two 4-bedroom shipping container apartments at 1201 Franklin Street. In 2016, the median home price in Brookland was $526,000, a major increase from the comparatively low prices that residents paid when they moved in years earlier. The neighborhood housing stock is primarily detached homes, but there are new developments with condos as well.
Brookland is bounded on the south by Rhode Island Avenue, on the east by the diagonal slant of South Dakota Avenue, and to the north by Michigan Avenue. Brookland’s western border runs along the Metro tracks and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Because Catholic University is so integral to the Brookland neighborhood, many students (and residents) consider the campus to be a part of the neighborhood, as well as the adjoining University Heights area.