If you are relocating to Bethesda or the larger DC area – Then let me be the first to Say – Welcome to the DC metro area. Composed of DC, Maryland and Virginia, there are lots of housing options to explore, depending on your job, interests, and price range. If you are looking for privacy and securit, you might consider a gated communities. It is important to understand that the DC area does not have as many gated communities as you might find in some other parts of the country. Having said that, there still are enough communities here to offer a good choice – with different styles, prices, and proximity to the Capitol itself.

The tour of gated communities in DC can start with Hillandale at Georgetown, a gated community with beautiful townhomes and individual city homes on small lots. Home to Senators and Cabinet Ministers, this community of approximately 100 homes is across the street from Georgetown University and the Georgetown University Hospital. The community has its own tennis courts and pool. Homes here start around $1.4 million for a four level townhome.

If you are looking for something less expensive in DC, but still with the security of a real live guard, you should look at the townhomes at Sutton Place on New Mexico high rise which is part of the complex. (As an FYI- the high rise has a concierge and doorman on duty most of the time.) The townhomes and high rise building are just a short stroll to American University and Ward Circle. There is a pool and tennis courts for this community, and shopping is very easy since there is a small mall right next door with a great restaurant, Chef Geoff’s. Most of Washington’s well regarded doctors are in an office building right next door – so if you plan on needing medical care- this is the place for you! Townhouses here are piggy back in style – and are offered for sale in the $600s. With two bedrooms and two and a half baths, they have a fireplace, uncovered parking and about 1350 sq feet of space. If you buy a lower level unit, you will have a patio, and if you get an upper level unit, you will have a balcony off your living room. The high rise offers a variety of styles – single floors and duplex styles, from one to three bedrooms. Some have balconies, and some have a spectacular view of the National Cathedral, which is particularly lovely at night.

Not to be outdone, Montgomery County also offers a few gated communities if your tastes run to Maryland. Avenel in Potomac, Maryland, is closest to Washington, DC. Not all of Avenel is gated, but it has a private security service which patrols the entire community.

The history of Avenel from farmland to its present day status as a luxury residential community has been cited by many as a textbook case of creative and responsible land use where there were not winners or losers, but where all parties involved gained in the process. To understand how groups as divergent as Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) the local water and sewer authority, two county governments, local equestrian groups, the Potomac community, the PGA Tour, and the developer of Avenel managed to work together to create the present day Avenel, it is necessary to understand the setting at the time the land was purchased by the developer in 1979.

At the time Potomac Investment Associates (PIA) was acquiring the 1,018 acre Avenel Farm in Potomac, Maryland for a luxury residential community, the WSSC was searching Montgomery Country for a 500-acre site to acquire and hold for use as an advanced wastewater treatment plant (AWTP). As luck would have it, the WSSC settled on Avenel Farm as their choice for the AWTP and immediately began the process to condemn for public use over 500 acres of this choice, most expensive residential real estate in the county.

If the condemnation had proceeded, not only would the Avenel development of today never have existed in its present form, but the Montgomery County and Prince George’s County ratepayers would have paid for one of the most expensive sites in the entire country for a sewage treatment plant (AWTP). As one can imagine, the local community was not delighted with the idea of an AWTP in their backyard. The developer was concerned about losing such a large part of the farm. Instead, Avenel became an equestrian center, a Tournament Players golf course, the site of 900 homes and a water treatment plant – all coexisting in harmony. Amazing!

Avenel offers a collection of smallish cottages offered initially for sale with income restrictions, which enjoy the same amenities as the large homes priced in the $4M and up price range. The community has lots of walking trails, soccer fields, bicycle paths, ball fields, and a tennis and swim club with an open membership.

Within Avenel is a small community that is gated with a guard on duty. When the guard is off duty there is an intercom to each home. Homes here run in the $2 M to $4M range.

If you are looking for a luxury high rise building in the heart of Bethesda/Chevy Chase, you should definitely look at the Somerset high rise buildings. A cluster of three buildings are protected by a security gate and door man and concierge at each building. Homes here start around $700,000 for a one bedroom condo with 1100 square feet, and go up from there-depending on the size and orientation of the unit. As is the case with other luxury buildings, the prices at Somerset House are deceptive since the condo fees for such full service are like another mortgage payment. (The $700,000 condo carries with it nearly $1000 a month in fees)

Of course, there are other gated communities in the DC metro area which I would love to show you. If you are planning to move to the DC metro area, please give the Lise Howe Group a call at 240-401-5577. We will be glad to send you more information about any of these neighborhoods or others that might be a better match – depending on where your new job takes you and your price range. Just let us know!