Moving out and moving on

A lot of things change after graduation, but post-college housing doesn’t have to be one of them.

Jessica Glynn, a 2005 graduate, dubs her apartment building the “dorm for professionals.”

The Meridian at Gallery Place, a luxury rental apartment building, is home to dozens of recent GW graduates. Glynn estimated that about 50 recent graduates live in her building, with at least 10 living on her floor.

Its large concentration of GW alumni, along with its social atmosphere and amenities provided for residents, are what give the Meridian its “adult dorm” label for some. With free coffee on the weekdays, a roof-top pool, an on-site dry cleaner, convenience store and 24-hour gym, the Meridian provides comforts that appeal to recent graduates.

“You can go down and get your free coffee, drop off your dry cleaning and head to the gym,” Glynn said. “It’s a good next step (from GW).”

Glynn first heard of the building through word-of-mouth from other students after her graduation last May. She and her roommate had looked into apartments in Dupont Circle, but they were all too expensive, she said. The Meridian drew in Glynn with its special promotion of a rent-free first month. A studio at The Meridian costs $1,330 a month, while a one-bedroom apartment runs around $1,625, according to the complex’s Web site.

Cost is a major consideration in most graduates’ apartment hunt, but everyone has their own make-or-break factors when searching for the ideal residence. Although the Meridian is playfully referred to as a dorm by some younger residents, GW graduates said they don’t throw many large, noisy parties in their rooms, out of respect for their neighbors.

“I live next door to an older lady and she hates when I play music loud,” 2005 alumna Dana Rasmussen said.

GW graduates living in the Meridian said they have not heard about older neighbors being bothered by the building’s younger crowd, which also includes several Georgetown law students and Catholic University graduates. However, reviews left on an apartment review Web site, www.apartmentratings.com, indicate some residents are concerned the building is living up to its reputation among the GW graduates.

“It’s more like a dormitory than a luxury apartment building,” wrote one anonymous resident in July 2005.

GW alumni have held happy hours on the building’s roof and have organized low-key events such as bowling, Rasmussen said. More often, graduates will have a few drinks in their rooms and then head to local hangouts including Fado Irish Pub or Irish Times, she added.

Rasmussen said she enjoys exploring the downtown area around the Meridian, in which she never spent much time during her four years at GW.

“It’s an older neighborhood where you’re less likely to run into undergrads,” Rasmussen said. “They just maybe go to Pearl (nightclub), but then they leave.”

The Meridian is a short walk away from two Metro stations and the MCI Center, but the neighborhood is not known to be as safe as the University Police Department-patrolled streets of campus.

Rasmussen said she was pleased to find the Meridian provided a doorman at all hours; other buildings she visited did not.

Recent GW graduates all spent years at the same university and frequented the same on-campus locations, but many of them have bonded only after graduation by living in the Meridian.

“I didn’t really hang out with the people living in the building in college, but now we’re close,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen, who lived in her Alpha Phi sorority house for two years before graduating in May, said she is used to having people around all the time and enjoys living in an apartment building with other graduates.

“The city provides enough anonymity for me,” Rasmussen said. “You can just lock your door if you don’t want to see someone.”

Before renting at the Meridian, recent graduate Mark Scher looked at apartments in Georgetown and Cleveland Park. The former were too far from the Metro and the latter were mostly only open to buyers, not renters, he said. Scher also considered apartments in Adams Morgan, but felt it was “too crazy.”

“It’s like you’re living in Thurston again,” Scher said of Adams Morgan.

Some of the Meridian’s recent grads said their top priority after Commencement was to get away from GW and set out on their own, but they are not bothered by the GW presence at the Meridian. Glynn said she rarely runs into anyone in the hallways and only spots many of her former classmates at the pool.

“There’s potential for more hanging out,” said Glynn, who mentioned talks of starting up a kickball team with her alma mater neighbors.

Glynn is pleased with the spacious one-bedroom apartment she shares with her roommate and appreciates the laid-back atmosphere of the building. In the past, she has felt comfortable enough to head downstairs in her pajamas to pick up her mail or a carton of milk, she said.

Rasmussen said she is also happy with her decision to move to the Meridian because it is like a baby step before the “big leap into the unknown.”

“The Meridian is good for the first year,” Rasmussen said. “It’s an easy transition.”

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