I've lived here for 2 years. Great amenities (gym, rooftop pool and hot tub, lounge, free wifi in common areas) and friendly staff and great management that go out of their way to be helpful. The maintenance staff will do everything for you. Harris Teeter and CVS across the street and metro one block away. Easy walk to Union Market and H Street.
****Renter Beware**** 1st and M has awesome amenities and a great staff. However, there are many problems: 1) Rent was raised 12%. I have rented at similar apartment buildings for almost 10 years now, in many different large cities, and have never seen a management company raise rent by this amount. This is what infuriated me and caused me to write this review. I have never felt the need to write a review like this, but after raising the rent by this much and after the below discrepancies, I feel betrayed by the Avalon company and will likely not rent from them ever again. 1) Avalon has a new building adjacent and has just started construction. Literally the buildings will be touching. Noise goes on during all hours of the day, even early morning, and the management does nothing to curb it even though it's their management company that is responsible for the construction. This will likely continue for another year or so. 2) Camden is another apartment building across the street and just started their new construction project. Again, plenty of noise throughout the day. Will probably last another year or so. 3) Because of all of the construction there is absolutely no street parking during the day and there is a constant line of dump trucks in the morning that lines all of the adjacent streets surrounding the building and clogs up traffic. 4) Management sold a portion of the building to a bank. Meaning more construction, but this time inside of the building. I'm a student and can hear drilling or hammering echoing through my room throughout the day. 5) Crime is very apparent throughout the neighborhood. Recently, a resident at the Flats apartment building across the street was shot twice after returning from the bars late at night. He found two burglars in his apartment that is in a building with controlled access. While this may not be controlled by Avalon, the apartments are likely similar in security measures. Maybe the spike in rent should go to a legitimate security guard. 6) Other crime occurrences: the man that was stabbed to death on the metro a few months ago took place while the train was approaching the Noma Metro stop. Also, a week ago a man started punching pedestrians on the corner outside of the Harris Teeter. Additionally, many homeless people hang around the main entrance to the building and can often be aggressive when approaching residents. I know other residents may feel differently, but raising the rent by such a large amount after the constant construction and high crime rate seemed appalling to me. Avalon management writes emails every now and then thanking its residents for choosing to be part of the 1st and M community, but let's call a spade a spade here. In actuality, it appears the management views its residents as simply a number on a door, that is fronting the cost for their new construction project.
First & M is definitely one of the best apartment buildings I've ever lived in. The design makes me feel like I'm living in a Miami Hotel and, unfortunately, that seemed to attract a lot of douchey people when I lived there. But other than that, and the cost of it, I really had no issues with First & M. The staff was awesome. The ladies in the leasing office were very friendly. The manager of the building was easy to work with, very friendly, and a straight forward kind of guy. I was really happy that he took the "No Smoking" policy very seriously - if he saw people walking by the front door smoking, he'd promptly tell them to leave the property. (Seriously - if you live on a property with a "no smoking" policy, why would you move in if you're a smoker?). Anyway, the front desk staff was great as well. Very helpful and knowledgeable. I was greeted every morning with a smile and a "Hello, James!" and when I got home from work. It was awesome how they knew people by name! The lobby area and shared resources were very clean and functional. The Gym is the biggest apartment gym in DC. If you live at First & M, you most likely won't need a gym membership. The theater is great, and the Jam Rooms are cool, though I never used them myself (I just jammed in my apartment). The apartment was beautiful - great design. I had a studio and loved that, when people came to visit, they thought I lived in a one-bedroom. It was a very big studio, and they had a separate space for my bedroom which was great. The one problem with the separate space is that there was no natural light, so it was very hard for me to wake up in the morning. Appliances were great, hard wood floors were great, and it was very quiet in that space. I would definitely recommend First & M if you can afford it.