Restored Old Town row is really new rental complex


It looks like a charming row of restored historical brick townhouses in Old Town. Painted in harmoniously contrasting colors, the buildings seem to fit in perfectly with their neighbors across the street. This only shows how delightfully deceiving appearances can be: The Clayborne Apartments at 820 South Columbus Street are actually one brand-new 74-unit complex, carefully designed to blend with the surrounding area, down to the new brick pavement.

The community was developed by the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust, which also owns the shopping space around the corner on South Washington Street. Upscale stores and eateries like Williams-Sonoma, Joannes Bed and Back, Southside 815, Foccia Luna and the Perk Up Coffee Shop are thus conveniently close to the Clayborne tenants.

The apartments underground garage also provides parking for the store patrons, among the 121 spaces. At least one space is reserved for each apartment, while 20 more are set aside for the tenants guests. For more mundane merchandise, Safeway is about four blocks away and Seven-Eleven is even closer.

That parking garage is only one of the amenities the tenants can enjoy. A lobby, fitness center, business center, library and two fourth-floor roof gardens are also available. Within the units themselves, the luxury features include nine-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and granite counters. Some also provide private entrances and landscaped courtyards, reflecting the Old Town atmosphere.

The 36 floor plans start with efficiencies, from 498 to 525 square feet and $1,494 to $1,607 per month. The one-bedroom, one-bath units range from 586 to 920 and from $1,733 to $2,455. The two-bedroom, two-bath choices go from 954 to 1,005 square feet and from $2,612 to $3,259. Rentals started on March 1 and so far 18 units have been taken.

Only two people may occupy one bedroom, in addition to one infant up to 18 months. Pet owners may bring dogs up to 40 pounds or cats of any size. Besides the regular one-year lease, six or nine month stays are available for an extra $200 per month.

Thirteen of the apartments have been furnished and fitted as corporate suites. Their monthly rentals include Internet access, bed and bath linen, cable TV and DVD player, plus optional housekeeping services.

Pamela Donahew, assistant community manager, says that the new complex appeals to both newcomers and Old Town residents alike. For both groups, she said, this location provides the best of all possible worlds, the lively, exciting Old Town atmosphere plus a quieter, more residential surrounding. And of course, she adds with a smile, there are also those who are impressed by the accurate and appealing way those theoretically old buildings were restored.

The schools are Lyles-Crouch Elementary, George Washington Middle and T.C. William High.

(For more information call 703-299-0127).