Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tired of dorm life? Here's where you can go

Tired of dorm life? Here's where you can go

Having trouble picking a place to live next semester? Not sure if you want quiet and serene or loud and exciting? Here are just a few of your options when looking for that perfect apartment.

Tunlaw Park 3850 Tunlaw Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. Cost: $1,000+ for a studio, $2,000+ for a two-bedroom Location: One mile down New Mexico Ave. A three-minute drive for those lucky enough to have a car, and a 15-minute walk for those slumming it. Access to the Metro is a problem as it is over two miles to any Metro station. Cost: Not so bad compared to many other apartment buildings, but it still isn't cheap. To make it affordable student usually pack three students into a two-bedroom apartment. Utilities are included in the rent, making the expense a little less painful. Size: Studio apartments are 750 square feet and two-bedroom apartments hover between 900 and 1100 square feet. According to residents, the apartments are extremely spacious. Fitting three people into a two-bedroom isn't a problem and there is often an unused room that can be converted into a bedroom for the third resident. Other Residents: Mostly include young professionals too busy changing the world to be good neighbors, but that is not to say that they can't be friendly. It's just to say that you aren't likely to stumble on your future best friend or a bitchin' party while at Tunlaw Park. Neighborhood: Located in Glover Park, the surrounding neighborhood isn't exactly teeming with nightlife, or "day" life for that matter. The apartment complex is surrounded mostly by other complexes and houses. Across the street you find yourself staring at the imposing walls of the Russian Embassy - not a particularly welcoming neighbor. Fortunately for residents, D.C. is a small city and busy Wisconsin Avenue is only a short walk away. Management: By most accounts helpful and relaxed, you won't find any good or bad surprises here. Summary: Tunlaw Park is what it is. It isn't close to campus, but it certainly isn't far. The neighborhood isn't bad, but it is not good either. If you are looking for a quiet place to live where you can get away from campus (and also annoying dorm neighbors) then this could be the place for you.

The Berkshire 4201 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Cost: $1,200+ for a studio, $1,800 for a large one-bedroom, $22-2,800 for a two-bedroom Location: Less than a quarter-mile from campus. Just a short walk down Massachusetts Avenue. Cost: Not cheap if you are planning to live alone or with one other person. If you add a third or fourth, it becomes more manageable. Size: The Berkshire's floor plans range from 350 square feet for a small studio up to 1200 square feet for a large two bedroom. The large two bedrooms cost near $3,000 so even if you manage a third our fourth roommate you'll still be shelling out some cash. Other residents: Varying from college student, to young professional, to crotchety old lady, you get it all in the Berks. A large portion of Berks residents are students, and it is normal to find drunken college students stumbling down the hallways on weekend nights. If you are lucky, you will live next to one of these drunk students and not have to worry about making noise, if you are unlucky you end up next to poor old Grandma who calls the front desk every time you crack open a beer.

Oh yeah, sometimes Berks residents have been known to encounter roaches as well!

Neighborhood: The Berks, like AU, isn't a hub of activity, but it is close enough to Tenleytown to keep residents happy. Its location near campus is also a big plus for those students who have trouble making it to class on time. Management: The Berks is a large apartment complex with 750 separate units. Therefore, managers have their hands full just running the place. According to residents, managers are not overly helpful, but they are there for you if your toilet overflows at 2:00 a.m., or if your stove catches fire. Summary: The Berks is not high-luxury, but it is a perfectly nice place to call home. The apartments have a nice layout, the elevators work most of the time, and its proximity to campus is a real plus for those not ready to sever the AU umbilical cord.


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It is also a pretty strange looking place. Rumor has it that the Berks used to be an insane asylum, and while the rumors are unfounded, it is easy to see how people could get confused. Gigantic hallways bathed in creepy incandescent lighting, huge steel doors that could double as prison doors and the unshakable feeling that the place is haunted, could turn off a few residents. Live there at your own risk.

The Avalon at Foxhall 4100 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Cost: $1,300 for a studio, $2,700+ for a two-bedroom Location: Right across from the Berkshire. Cost: Expensive! The Avalon is the cr?me de la cr?me of college apartments. To make it affordable most students try to cram four students into a two-bedroom. Size: Ranging from 550 square feet for a studio, up to 1300 square feet for a two-bedroom, the Avalon's apartments are large enough to live comfortably in ... that is unless you try to mash four people into a one-bedroom! The Avalon justifies its extra cost with nicer apartments, better service and faster elevators. Other residents: The cost keeps most college kids away. Those who live in the Avalon are usually plunked down right in-between middle-aged businessmen and women not interested in listening to Flo Rida at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday. This place is high-class, so unless you got the goods and the attitude appropriate to a high-class gent, consider some other place. Neighborhood: Same as the Berks, except on a different side of the street. Unless you are afraid of crosswalks, this shouldn't affect you very much. Management: You get what you pay for, and the Avalon managers are attentive in ways you won't find at the Berks or at Tunlaw. The best part of living in the Avalon? A nice front-desk receptionist who keeps the riff-raff out. Summary: The Avalon offers luxurious living and is only minutes away from your 8:30 a.m. class. If you can afford it, and you aren't looking to get too far away from main campus, this is the place to go. Beautiful balconies are also a real plus for those who enjoy a cool breeze and a nice view.

The Elaine 3210 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Cost: $1,550 for a one-bedroom Location: Nestled in Cleveland Park, near Tenleytown, the Elaine has got a prime spot on Wisconsin Ave. A 20-minute walk from campus (or 15 if you move fast). Cost: A nice moderate choice. It is not rock-bottom cheap, and if you don't mind shacking up with a roomie, you can easily fit two people into a one-bedroom, knocking your monthly rent down to about $750. The Elaine also offers one free month of rent after signing the lease. Size: According to residents, the apartments are big enough to live in comfortably. Other residents: A nice mix of college kids, older people and families. The Elaine is most definitely not just an off-campus dorm. People don't interact much together and mostly keep to their personal space. Neighborhood: This is the Elaine's biggest selling point. It is right near Cactus Cantina, the famous Wisconsin Avenue Mexican joint, a salon, a dry-cleaner and a grocery store. If you're looking to live the city life, without getting too far from campus, this is the place for you. Management: The managers here actually don't mind taking care of things, and will usually fix 'em up before they go on the fritz. Residents of The Elaine can also expect a nice smile from the resident manager. Just don't mind the extremely slow, extremely sketchy elevators that are chronically faulty. Summary: The Elaine offers a much different experience from the Berks, Avalon or Tunlaw Park. This apartment building is on a bustling city street, with sirens blaring and people screaming on weekend nights. If you are looking to get a taste of the city life for a moderate price, then move into The Elaine.

Cathedral Court 3701 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Cost: $948 for a studio, $1,400+ for a one-bedroom, $1,850+ for a two-bedroom Location: At the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues, about one mile from campus and one mile from the Cleveland Park Metro. The Tenleytown Metro is only about a mile-and-a-half. Cost: With nearly all utilities included and expansive rooms, Cathedral Court is one of the better deals within walking distance from campus. Sharing a room is no problem and a cost effective way to make this work. Size: One-bedrooms are around 500 sq. feet and two-bedrooms top out around 850, definitely an upgrade from the dorms, but smaller than most of the other apartments profiled. At Cathedral Court you'll find more space than in the dorms for less cost. Other residents: A handful of students add some spice to this quiet building. Its relatively small size makes for a great starter building for young families and dinkies. Neighborhood: At the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues and their associated bus lines, Cathedral Court is a good place to get to somewhere else from. Several blocks in every direction are mostly apartments, churches or schools. However, the view of the National Cathedral is unparalleled. Management: Easy to work with, but the building is older and things do go wrong. Summary: Cathedral Court is quiet and almost in a great neighborhood, but not quite. The building is recently renovated but retains its 1930s charm, as well as the era's crumbling plaster. Its access to public transportation is a plus for those looking to explore D.C., but the mile hike uphill from campus can prove daunting.

You can reach this staff writer at cszold@theeagleonline.com.


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