She is an account executive and used to doing everything correctly. So when she signed — and duplicated — the paperwork to be the first leasee at the nearly completed Highbridge luxury apartments at 2512 Q St. NW in early October, the good deal she had negotiated seemed solid. All the décor for the brand-new unit was ordered, all the discounts, all the details had been confirmed in writing for a move-in date of Dec. 1. It almost seemed too good to be true.
As it turned out, that was the sad truth. The move was delayed three times. The second time, she was offered a motel room. The third time was 24 hours before she was to pick up her keys.
The incident was the start of two months of pullbacks by Steelhead Management, according to the would-be tenant (who asked The Georgetowner not to use her name). The initial monthly rent was raised 25 percent, discounts were denied and the move-in arrangements, including storage, changed to her disadvantage. “Steelhead Management told me that all the agreements I had signed were void because the agent I had worked with no longer was employed by them.”
But everything she negotiated is signed and in writing — the holy grail of real estate legal standing. She concluded: “They are a fraudulent company. I’m not sure how they’ve gotten away with this in D.C.”
She finally gave up trying to negotiate a contract and found a condo in Georgetown. Then she forwarded all the documents to D.C.’s attorney general, who, she was told, has started an investigation.
“We are not the only victims affected by this scam,” she told The Georgetowner.
As of this writing, there has been no response from Steelhead Management to inquiries by The Georgetowner on the company’s message board (there are no contact names, phone numbers or email addresses on Steelhead’s website). A listing of all apartments indicates that only three have been rented.
The Q Street property, located next to the historic Dumbarton (or Buffalo) Bridge near Sheridan Circle, may become entangled in another legal dispute. In 2016, the D.C.-based Holladay Corporation announced that it would be renovating the Georgetown, a 92-unit assisted-living facility that had housed seniors since 1978 (some of them, such as Sen. Eugene McCarthy and Betty Friedan, nationally known).
Residents were told to move, but that they could return in a year. A year later, the entire facility had been converted to the Highbridge complex. Some of the former residents told The Georgetowner last month that they were looking into legal action to see if senior citizens’ rights had been violated.