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This week's hot homes roundup features five great properties between $725,000 and $10.9 million.
Under-the-radar Lake Anna, the third-largest lake in Virginia, is the top place in the country to buy a second home, according to Vacasa, a vacation rental management company.
- Vacasa ranked cities based on their ROI, or return on investment. In Lake Anna, the median sale price is $435,000 and the average annual gross rental revenue over the last 12 months came in at $81,293.
- That’s a 12% ROI.
Why it matters: The vacation community is only two-ish hours away and less packed than its Maryland rival for D.C’s lake crowd, Deep Creek.
Details: Lake Anna has two sides – one is warm because Dominion Energy plants warm the water. Just yesterday, lake temperatures reached 87 degrees.
- But the warm side is strictly residential.
- The cool side allows businesses, so visitors can rent boats and dine out more easily.
Zoom out: Vacasa analyzed real estate data in places with at least 50 Vacasa-managed units and at least 250 units managed by others.
- Two OBX towns made the top 25 list. In Corolla (#4), the median sale price is $930,000, and you can bring in $131,121 in annual rental income.
- In Nags Head (#17), you’re looking at a median $887,000 price tag and rental income of $85,734.
Our thought bubble: If you can’t swing buying a home in D.C. – where the median sold price in July was $725,000 – but can handle renting here and buying elsewhere, Lake Anna is tempting.
What can you get for less than $500k? Here are three homes for sale, all with boat slip access and within walking distance to the lake.
31 Trevor Run, Mineral | $499,950 | 3 bed, 2 bath | 1,627 square feet
- Sits on just over an acre on the cool side of the lake. Look at those floor-to-ceiling windows.
536 Paddock Lane, Louisa | $469,900 | 3 bed, 3 bath | 2,449 square feet
- On the cool side of the lake. Love the open living area and the multiple decks.
74 Eveland Drive, Bumpass | $499,900 | 3 bed, 2.5 bath | 1,928 square feet
- On the warm side of the lake. Screened in porch ✔️.
D.C. has been locked in a behind-the-scenes legal battle with an architect over the renovation of the pool at Hains Point — leaving it without any timeline for reopening.
Why it matters: This makes six summers that the Olympic-sized pool — a popular destination for swim teams — has been shuttered.
Catch up quick: The city had planned to replace the pool, pool deck, and bathhouse.
- But in 2020 the project was halted because the site kept filling up with groundwater as crews were working.
What’s happening: The city proceeded to sue Hughes Group Architects for breach of contract and wants the company to pay more than $14 million to cover the project costs.
Details: D.C.’s Department of General Services alleges that it received an “inaccurate” report from Hughes misstating the groundwater level, according to the lawsuit.
- The groundwater depth was cited as 23 feet, the agency tells Axios — deep enough for the new pool.
- But once construction began, it turned out the level was “significantly more shallow,” the agency says, and the site “consistently filled with water.”
The upshot: The renovation couldn’t go forward “without substantial additional investment,” per the agency.
The other side: Hughes denies that it broke its obligation to the city and says that the city began construction without its own contractor flagging discrepancies, according to the company’s filings.
- Additionally, when a potential solution for completing the project surfaced, "DGS failed to mitigate its damages by abandoning the project, and destroying some of the improvements made, instead of finishing it," per the filings.
- A lawyer for Hughes declined to comment to Axios.
What’s next: The city says that the Contract Appeals Board has a hearing scheduled for February 2023. In the meantime, staff is still working to stabilize the pool.
Bulletin for Mayor Bowser: FOIA denials have soared to an 11-year high under your leadership.
Why it matters: Freedom of Information Act requests give the public access to government documents, which can expose malfeasance and shine a light on doings at City Hall.
By the numbers: The Bowser administration denied in whole 9.5% of FOIA requests filed last year, per my count from annual reports.
- As it happens, Bowser is in company with her Green Team mentor, former Mayor Adrian Fenty, who had an 11.8% FOIA denial rate in 2009.
Keeping them honest: In 2014, Bowser ran on improving government transparency. But like most pols who get into office, that pledge hasn't always held up.
Reporters are constantly stonewalled in public records requests. Upon my persistent inquiries about one FOIA request this past spring, the mayor's associate general counsel Tenette Smith told me via email that “we have received an unprecedented number of requests.”
Fact check: This made me curious to see just how many requests were pouring in.
- So I filed a FOIA request for a list of each FOIA request filed year to date. (Very meta, I know.)
That was on April 27. By law, the government has 15 business days to respond to a request.
- I’m still waiting for proof of the “unprecedented number of requests.”
For what it’s worth: The number of FOIA requests for D.C. government fell between 2019 and 2021 by 1,181 queries, according to the annual reports. We don’t know the 2022 numbers yet.
🥊 FOIA Fight: The Washington Post wants to depose Muriel Bowser in its lawsuit involving WhatsApp.
Flashback: In June 2021, the Post sued the city government for access to Bowser’s emails and WhatsApp communications in the days before and after the Capitol insurrection.
- My investigative report found WhatsApp was widely used in the Bowser administration, potentially imperiling public records. Council members subsequently passed a law to strengthen the FOIA law.
The Post lawsuit has dragged on. The city says in filings that such 1/6 communications don’t exist, but D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams allowed the case to move forward.
What’s next: The District is resisting having the Post’s lawyers depose the mayor.
- The Post “fails to show that a deposition of the Mayor in this case would not be overly burdensome and unwarranted,” Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in the District’s defense in a June 23 filing.
Town Talker is a weekly column on local politics and power. Send tips: [email protected]
Though Juan Soto’s departure is still raw and seeing him in any uniform but the Curly W stinks, the Nats' future is actually brighter today than it was before the trade deadline, Axios' Jeff Tracy writes.
Why it matters: Our home club is currently baseball’s worst team. We could use the silver lining!
Catch up quick: Before the drastic slide of the past three seasons, the Nats spent a decade as one of baseball's best teams, culminating, of course, with the magical 2019 World Series run.
- That didn't happen by accident, as GM Mike Rizzo made numerous shrewd trades and signings to build a winning ball club.
- But since 2018 we've watched five superstars named Bryce, Anthony, Trea, Max, and Juan leave in succession. Meanwhile, Rizzo's win-now trades left our farm system barren of many top prospects.
- On top of that, the franchise has become hamstrung by the mega contracts of Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg: Corbin’s been the worst pitcher in baseball since 2020, Strasburg’s future is in doubt after thoracic outlet surgery, and they're owed nearly $200 million combined through 2026.
Yes, but: The five prospects the Nats just received for Soto and Josh Bell are so talented that their arrival improved Washington’s farm system from MLB's seventh-worst to its eighth-best, per FanGraphs Prospects.
Let’s meet them:
- MacKenzie Gore: The 23-year-old left-hander was the top pitching prospect in all of baseball two years ago. He'll join the rotation when he comes off the injured list for elbow soreness and could be the staff ace in just a couple of years.
- C.J. Abrams: The 21-year-old who entered this year as the “best hitter” with the “best speed” in the minor leagues, per Baseball America, could become our new Trea Turner. He's expected to be the starting shortstop before this season ends.
- Robert Hassell III: A speedy 20-year-old outfielder with no real weaknesses, he’s now the Nats' number-one prospect and will probably debut late next year or in 2024.
- James Wood: At 6’7” and 240 pounds, the 19-year-old outfielder could one day lead the league in home runs with a left-handed bat that, if all goes right, could call to mind current Astros superstar Yordan Álvarez. He’s a local, too, having grown up in Olney.
- Jarlin Susana: The tantalizing young talent from the Dominican Republic is 6’6”, throws 100 mph, and was the consensus best pitcher among this year’s international signing class.
Between the lines: Pair those five guys with Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz acquired in last year's Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade, plus Luis García, and you can see more than a faint outline of a promising core.
The intrigue: The Lerner family is expected to sell the team by the end of this year. Will the new owner be willing to write some big checks to complement this young core with a few established stars? TBD.
Jeff’s thought bubble: If you’re looking for a date to circle on your calendar, make it Opening Day 2025.
- I know that’s not a short wait, and I hate that this team may not look much better in the meantime. But Soto — as much as I miss him — is happier and better off thanks to this trade, and someday soon the Nats and their fans will be too.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected by taking out a reference that James Wood graduated from St. John's College High School and adding that he grew up in Olney.
Nearly 400 of you took our poll from last week to share how Metro messes over the previous nine months have impacted your life and commute.
- Albeit unscientific, the survey shows that the agency has a long way to go to re-earn your trust.
What you’re saying: 70% of respondents have been riding Metro less since wait times increased last fall.
- Almost 40% have pivoted to driving or carpools.
- Roughly 30% have resorted to rideshare apps.
Metro’s unreliability is taking a financial toll: 70% of you say you’re shelling out more on transportation.
- Estimates ranged from an extra $50 to $200 per month.
Zoom in: Some respondents say they’ve stopped using the city’s public transportation for important activities. Others wrote in with their horror stories.
- A respondent who said they’re an officer at the Pentagon was 90 minutes late for a briefing.
- A parent said they were late picking up their child, which cost them a $100 fee.
- One respondent missed a doctor's appointment that was scheduled three months prior.
- A couple missed their reservation for their 49th-anniversary dinner. They ended up "at home eating hot dogs!”
- Also: A respondent who ID’ed themselves as a Metro consultant was late for a meeting…with a Metro VP.
What’s next: No surprise here. The vast majority of you say more frequent service, a return of the 7000-series cars, and a higher prioritization of safety would boost your confidence in the agency.
Three people died after being hospitalized for injuries from a lightning strike in a park near the White House, the Metropolitan Police Department said Friday.
The latest: D.C. police announced a third victim Friday — a 29-year-old man whose identity is being withheld until his family is notified, D.C. police told Axios.
This week's hot homes roundup features five great properties between $799,000 and $3.49 million.