Gotham on the Potomac


To fully appreciate the grandeur of 1331 Maryland Ave. SW, the last phase and missing residential piece of the Portals project, it pays to start at the top, on the enormous roof deck — or “Sky Walk” — where L’Enfant’s masterful grid and a panoramic view of the city are laid out before you.

And that is by design.

For 1331, Robert A.M. Stern was inspired to create a new style of architecture in this downtown neighborhood, admittedly not known for residential housing — one that engaged more organically and dynamically with the larger landscape while honoring “the dignity and visual interest” of the streets around the National Mall.

With its artful arrangement of brickwork, windows, balconies, terraces and setbacks, the building brings New York sophistication to historical Washington. Its façade successfully balances the austere aesthetic of the surrounding Federal-style institutions with the modern classicism for which Stern and his firm are known.

Beauty is as beauty does. In the case of 1331, it serves to open this new “monument” to light, space and, of course, views, while setting the stage for exceptional luxury within, starting with the high-ceilinged, marble-clad entryway with six f luted columns, black-and-white herringbone-patterned Zebrino f looring and circular stairway. Bespoke artwork, warm lighting and thoughtfully arranged seating invite you in and entice you to explore further.

Other amenities, equally grand, include a wood-paneled library with a contemporary gas fireplace, a landscaped interior courtyard, a pet spa and dog park and a 4,000-square-foot professionally equipped fitness center with separate exercise studios and on-demand classes.

Up on the sky terrace level, there is a spacious lounge with multiple seating areas, a marble fireplace, a kitchen and a boardroom for meetings or dinners. Outside, there are three firepits, five semiprivate outdoor living rooms with grilling stations and (this is my favorite) a heated infinity pool overlooking the Tidal Basin.

1331 offers a variety of premier homes, 373 in all, ranging from studios — 505 to 615 square feet, with a starting rent of $2,000 per month — to an expansive 3,392-square-foot penthouse with three bedrooms, a den and three and a half baths, with a monthly rent of $25,000. All feature kitchens luxuriously fitted with Bosch or Thermador appliances, quartz or Calacatta marble counters and backsplashes, Italian wood custom cabinetry in kitchens and baths, customizable Elfa closet systems and sleek tile and glass bathrooms. Sky suites (f loors 10 to 12) and sky suite penthouses are served by a private elevator bank.

On a recent visit, we were treated to a tour of several apartments. Penthouse 10 offers 2,434 square feet of abundantly lit open space with three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a formal living room with built-in shelving, an open kitchen, a great room and phenomenal closet space. There are no balconies here, but the home enjoys incredible views from every room, including the owner’s bath, where a statement tub looks out over the Potomac. The monthly rent is $20,500.

Photo by Guillaume Gaudet.

We also saw one of the model apartments, 1018, a 1,004-square-foot one-bedroom apartment with a den, two full bathrooms and a balcony overlooking the marina and the center courtyard (monthly rent: $4,835). As we marveled at the dramatic view, a CSX train rolled silently by, traffic hummed on Interstate 395 and a plane took off from Reagan National.

1331 has a variety of luxury hotel services, including move-in concierge, in-home package/dry cleaning delivery and pet watching. Residents can take advantage of special rates at the Mandarin Oriental, just a few steps away.

Minutes from the Wharf, the National Mall, the Capitol and Nationals Park, the building also offers easy access to Union Station, Northern Virginia and the airport.

1331 Maryland Ave. SW is listed with Salley Widmayer, Stephen Vardas and William Rosbottom of Long & Foster | Christie’s. For information, contact Salley Widmayer at 202-215-6174 or For a visual tour, visit


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