Whatever the season, the view from Jenifer Gausman’s studio in the Tiber Island waterfront community is breathtaking.
“I have what is called a winter waterfront view,” said Gausman, who has lived in this Southwest Washington neighborhood for two years. “In the winter I can see the boats docking. In the summer the trees are lovely and in the fall I have the beautiful foliage. I can also see the Washington Monument.”
Panoramic city views from the balconies of most units in the Tiber Island Cooperative Homes are the gems of the neighborhood located at the intersection of Fourth and M streets across from the Washington Channel. The community is a complex of mid-century high-rise buildings with studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom co-ops as well as 21 townhouses. Both the co-op units and townhouses are built around a central plaza — a prime place for sunning and socializing — atop the community’s parking garage. The complex’s design, which uses the first floor exclusively for a lobby and parking garage, is unique to Southwest buildings, said Steve Dean, a Realtor who lives in Tiber Island.
“All of the buildings built in Southwest at this time [1950s and 1960s] used the first floor in this way,” Dean said. “The reason, I believe, was that the zoning requirements at that time required that the density be kept low. Now the trend is to put retail on the first floors.”
Ruth Herman, now a widow and retiree, moved to Tiber Island 24 years ago with her husband after raising their children in a big house in the New Jersey suburbs. She, like Gausman, enjoys her views of city. But the main attraction was living in the community itself, where she said the people she meets are focused on politics and culture rather than houses and lawns.
“I love being here in Southwest surrounded by such interesting people, and living such a rich life,” she said. “I love being able to walk to the Mall and the museums, the Library of Congress. And when my husband was alive, I worked in Virginia and he worked in the city, so this location made it easy for both of us to get to our jobs.”
While the views earn residents like Gausman and Herman bragging rights, Gausman, a North Carolina transplant, also cites the excitement generated by the District’s Southwest Waterfront redevelopment project. The redevelopment is expected to bring a combination of for-sale and rental housing options, retail space, hotels and cultural venues focused on education and maritime history in the coming years.
Gausman said she was also lured to Tiber Island by the Arena Stage renovation, a $125 million project to expand the theater and campus and draw more local residents as well as tourists, to the Southwest quadrant.
“The Arena Stage is what did it for me — and the water,” she said. “I really believe in the new development that is coming here.”
Both Gausman and Herman seem to have found their nirvana at Tiber Island.
“This place is my little treasure,” Gausman said. “I almost don’t want anyone else to know about it.”

The green line's Waterfront Metro Station is right across the street from the complex, making getting around the city easy. Getting out of the city by car is not complicated either — the access ramps to I-295 and I-395 are only minutes away. The museums and Eastern Market are an easy ride by bicycle and the new baseball stadium is less than a mile away by foot.

The community pool is the perfect place to socialize and cool off on hot summer days. For the fitness conscious, there are two well-equipped exercise rooms. Security is provided by an electronic entry system, surveillance videos and night and weekend security guards. The 24-hour reception desk receives deliveries and messages and coordinates resident services. All of this is included in the monthly co-op fee that also covers utilities, cable television, trash and snow removal and professional landscape services. Underground parking is also available.

Nearby shopping and recreation
Daily errands — groceries, pharmacy and banking — can be taken care of at the Safeway, CVS and Bank of American across the street. Joggers and bicyclists will find miles of trails in the nearby Washington Channel Park and East Potomac Park. Tiber Island is also a great launching point for cycling trips to Harpers Ferry along the historic C&O Canal or to Mount Vernon down the George Washington Parkway.

At a glance

October 2008
Average sold price for homes in the 20024 ZIP code: $365,000
Average list price for homes sold in the 20024 ZIP code: $398,389
Average days on the market for homes sold: 72

October 2007
Average sold price for homes in the 20024 ZIP code: $334,933
Average list price for homes sold in the 20024 ZIP code: $343,100
Average days on market for homes sold: 41