Big names trade tiny condo: Capitol Hill pad passes from Boxer to Sanchez to Brown
Warning to all midterm challengers with designs on a new D.C. address: Most members of Congress don't live in Georgetown mansions like John Kerry.
If elected, you'll probably find yourself occupying more modest digs -- like the painfully ordinary studio apartment on Capitol Hill that's been home to some surprisingly big names: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Linda Sánchez, and now, Sen. Scott Brown.
Boxer owned the 468-square-foot unit near Stanton Park for several years before selling it to Sánchez, a fellow California Democrat, for $230,500 in October 2005, property records show. This past spring, Sánchez sold it to Brown, the newly elected Massachusetts Republican, for $290,000. They're hardly the only Hill luminaries to hide out in the unprepossessing 1959 apartment house: Residents in recent years have included former representatives William Coyne and Gil Gutknecht, and current Reps. Baron Hill and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, records show.
What's the great appeal? Well ... it's there: Just two blocks from the Russell Senate Office Building, six blocks from the Longworth Building, three from the Capitol. Adam Brand, a spokesman for Sánchez, says it was largely by chance that she stumbled on the place five years ago. Last year, with a new husband and baby on the way, she moved to a rowhouse, and rented out the C Street place.
At the Monocle restaurant this year, she ran into Brown, who had just arrived in D.C., and asked if he was looking for a place. She thought she'd rent to him, but instead he and his wife Gail offered to buy. No sweetheart deal: Brand told us the lawmakers haggled quite a bit on the price.
So is there some kind of secret real estate market in the halls of the Capitol? Harriet Pressler, a Capitol Hill real estate agent married to former senator Larry Pressler, said there are a fair number of legislator-to-legislator transactions. Not because they all know each other, though, but because they're generally leaving and arriving in D.C. on the same schedules. She's currently advising several Hill clients to wait until the election to put their homes on the market -- after these midterms, she expects a lot of new arrivals.
"I generally advise freshmen House members to rent first," she said: It looks cocky to buy too soon. "The new senators, they're the ones who are buying."
The Reliable Source
| October 22, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
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