Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


McLean Gardens: DC Condos with an Interesting History

Back when McLean Gardens was making the transition from rentals to condominiums, it got a little messy.  There was an extended battle between the feisty tenants and the developers who couldn't really do the conversion without them.  But with all of their early difficulties, McLean Gardens has become a wonderful place to live and own.

It is situated on a 43 acre estate just off Wisconsin Avenue, in the shadow of the National Cathedral.  For decades, it was the summer home of newspaper owner, John McLean, who lived and entertained lavishly  in a Greek Revival mansion designed by John Russell Pope.  There was also a cast iron swimming pool, 18-hold golf course, stables, tennis courts, and  When McLean died, his only son Edward and wife Evalyn spend his fortune on such trinkets as the Hope Diamond, and when Edward died, the original mansion was torn down to make room for affordable housing for the many government workers pouring into Washington during World War II.

In 1980, the developer bought out the feisty tenants and converted the original 31 red brick apartments into condominiums, and with interest rates at an all time high, they did not exactly fly off the shelf when they hit the market.  But by the end of the 80's, the project was on it's way to becoming one of Washington's most popular addresses.

There is a swimming pool, although not the wrought iron one built by John McLean.  The community also has a tot lot, community garden, dog run, picnic areas, and several parking lots with spaces that sometimes convey with a unit when it is sold.  And while it is not on a Metro line, there is excellent bus service to downtown, and there are many fun restaurants and the city's worst Giant Foods store near the complex. 

The condos have a variety of floor plans.  Most are two levels, and the top floor units have loft space created from the old attics. 

There are currently 11 units for sale, ranging from a 1-bedroom flat listed for $324,900 to a 1-bedroom with a loft for $465,000.  Two units are under contract, and six have sold since the beginning of the year.   Here is a summary of the recent market activity, including the units that are available for sale.

Please contact me if you are interested in this complex, and I'll make arrangements for you to to see the units that are available.


If you are planning a move to or from the Washington, DC area, I can help.  Call, email or text me at:


Licensed in DC, Virginia and Maryland


Comment balloon 9 commentsPatricia Kennedy • April 30 2011 01:16PM


Patricia - Cast iron swimming pool...?!?!?!  I didn't even know that was an option!  What history in McLean Gardens - and the land!

Posted by Sharon Lord, New Home Advisor (Maracay Homes) over 9 years ago

Thank you for reminding me about McClean Gardens. I have great memories of the birds and park like setting from my early days living there while attending AU prior to them becoming condominiums. The land is special.

Posted by Emily Medvec, Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM (eXp Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

Hello Pat and VB loves history and this is a wonderful post to "Localism" and showing off the communities in your neck of the woods! If and when VB finishes his book he will be going over the road doing book signings, one of these cities may be DC.

VB ;o)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz over 9 years ago

Living in the shadow of the National Cathedral is definitely something I could get used to.  I love that building.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 9 years ago

John was a descendant of Wilmer McLean.  I collect antique books and have a book from the McLean library, dated 1865.  The Civil War started on Wilmer's farm in Manassas.  They moved to rural Appamatox VA to get away from the war.  In one of the weirdest twists in history, the Civil War ended in Wilmer's parlor in his house in Appamatox.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago


Thanks for sharing the information for McLean Gardens, it sounds like a  great place to call home and it's in a great location.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 9 years ago


Indeed a very nice property waiting for the right buyer; anything off of Wisconsin avenue has to be great

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago



I just love McLean Gardens!!! I have had many friends and clients buy and sell here over the years! I hope you had great activity at your open house today!!!!



Posted by Betsy Schuman Dodek, (Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Pat - thanks for that little history lesson! There is always so much to learn about your city! I love that place!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 9 years ago