Penn Quarter | Chinatown
About Penn Quarter
The main residential availabilities in Penn Quarter are in the way of condominiums. Living in the center of downtown, where space is limited, it is uncommon to find single-family homes. However, the tradeoff is being in the heart of the action. And, there is a lot of action in this neighborhood.
Packed with restaurants and shops the neighborhood is hopping. Befitting a downtown neighborhood, Penn Quarter’s centralized location makes it perfect for access to almost any other part of the city. There are bike lanes (and Capital Bikeshare stations); the Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter, Judiciary Square, and Metro Center stations for Metro commuters; and several major bus routes – including the DC Circulator.
Despite the predominance of condo and apartment living, there remains a powerful sense of community among the residents of Penn Quarter. Neighbors meet and commingle inside their condo or apartment buildings. They also participate in monthly community breakfasts hosted by the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association to encourage greater community awareness between residents, workers, and businesses owners.
This neighborhood continues to reinvent itself. Both big and small development projects are underway. Impossible-to-miss is the Capitol Crossing project at the neighborhood’s southeastern edge. Spanning three city blocks, the massive project will cover parts of I-395 to make way for office buildings and ground-floor retail. In the process, Capitol Crossing will also accomplish something else: re-connecting the long-separated G and F Streets NW where they meet with 2nd and 3rd Streets NW. There are several smaller, but still exciting, developments peppered around the neighborhood.
Originally, Chinatown was located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets NW. In the wake of city development, the cultural center shifted to a new location along H Street NW in the 1930’s. Many of the area’s Chinese residents left the city in the wake of the 1968 riots. The neighborhood’s revitalization owes much to the hard work of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, created in 1972 by Congress to oversee a massive development plan focused on housing, retail, and historic preservation. Development continued into the 1990’s and the collapse of the dot-com bubble. In December 1997, the original MCI Center (now the Verizon Center) opened in the neighborhood, bringing in a host of new visitors and sports fans, and providing an additional boost of rejuvenation that continues to this day. Since then, the neighborhood has exploded.
Living in the heart of DC has tremendous advantages. It provides easy access to all points in the city and transportation options are never at issue. However, the only drawback – if one perceives it as such – is that this neighborhood entirely supports condominium living. Both new buildings and old host a wide variety of units.
Some of Washington’s most trendy restaurants reside in Chinatown, as does the Verizon Center which hosts Washington basketball and hockey teams home games, concerts and events throughout the calendar year. Boutiques and shops line the neighborhood’s streets. The National Portrait Gallery and National Building Museum are both quick walks from the center of the neighborhood. And, opened in 2015, CityCenter is ten acres of luxury living space, office buildings, and high-end shopping (Kate Spade New York, Gucci) and dining (DBGB Bar and Kitchen, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House) on the western edge of the neighborhood.