NoMa- DC’s boomtown neighborhood

My evaluation for NoMa includes both the Sursum Corda and Union Market subdistricts. Thus I used New Jersey Ave as the western border, Massachusetts Ave as the southern, 4th St as the eastern and New York/Florida/Penn St as the northern.

“NoMa” is a moniker for the area North of Massachusetts Avenue located north and east of Union Station. Historically NoMa was a mix of the Sursum Corda projects, Union Market, industrial/warehousing uses around the rail lines, the Union Station area, and historic DC rowhouse fabric. NoMa was created in the 2000s after significant planning for its redevelopment and the opening of the  NoMa-Gallaudet U station in 2004. These set in motion the rapid redevelopment and densification of the neighborhood. By 2020 the NoMa district was mostly filled in and is a hot district for young professionals to reside. Fortunately the redevelopment of NoMa has come with great urban form, mixed-use development, and some affordable housing set asides (although probably not enough). It is poised to become a great DC neighborhood although it has a couple missing pieces before it becomes one of DC’s best districts. These pieces include a lack of park and plaza space, a central hub to the district, and more affordable housing. Other than that I’m very pleased with how NoMa has developed. 

Click here to view my NoMa album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent public transit service here and highly convenient access to Dwtn.
* Very good bye infrastructure including several dedicated bike lanes and many dedicated bike stations including both electric and non-electric. Overall great walkability here.
* Great racial diversity and decent economic diversity.
* Fortunately a decent # of new units in NoMa are being developed affordably.
* Lots of walkable schools across all grades and generally good ratings.
* Lots of modern in-fill and of a very high and urban quality.
* Culturally lots of good restaurants, bars, cafes, the Union Market,  several breweries & art galleries, a small independent theater,  a live music venue,  a couple night clubs, and several federal museums in Noma’s SW corner. Also easy access to all the Smithsonian’s museums on the mall.
* Good retail amenities including several supermarkets, clothing and food vendors at Union Market,  an REI Store, an urban Walmart, several drug stores, a small shopping mall within Union Station, plenty of banks, a couple book stores, decent # of boutiques & home good stores,  plenty of gyms, a local post office and public library, and a decent # of churches.
* This is generally a very safe area.
* Very good urban form and massing throughout all of the district except Sursum Corda (the old projects site undergoing redevelopment).

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Good but not great connectivity largely thanks to the extensive urban renewal that occurred in NoMa.
* Very families live here.
* Rentals are expensive but lots of supply and some moderate smaller units. Studios lease from the mid 1Ks to low 2Ks, 1-beds in the high 1Ks and low 2Ks, 2-beds btwn mid 2Ks and mid 3Ks, and some 3-beds lease in the 4K & 5Ks.
* For sale condos are expensive too. Some 1-beds sell in the 200Ks but most in the 400Ks & 500s, 2-beds sell generally btwn 600K-800K but a few older ones sell btwn 300K-400K, 3-beds also sell btwn 600K-800K.
* Historic in-fill is limited to the Eastern Edge of NOMA. What is exists is attractive.
* Park space limited to a couple small plazas within NoMa but some larger Mall space south of the district.
* Tree canopy is decent for a very dense area without much grass.

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