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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Washington neighbourhood ready for the Obama family

By Courtney Subramanian

President Barack Obama is trading in the White House for a nine-bedroom mansion tucked away in a wealthy Washington neighbourhood.

The president and his family will move into an 8,200-square-foot (790sqm), red-brick home about two miles (3.2km) from his current address after he leaves office in January.

The Obama family still own a home in
Chicago, however, the president has said he would remain in Washington until his 14-year-old daughter, Sasha, graduates from the Sidwell Friends School in 2018.

Mr Obama's new home, which is valued around $6m, is near Embassy Row in the Kalorama section of the district.

But the neighbourhood is hardly star struck, as secret service remains a fixture among the tree-lined Kalorama streets.

The president will count French ambassador Gerard Araud, the embassy of Oman and the European Union ambassador to the US as his new neighbours. Bart Gordon, a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee, also lives next door to the soon-to-be Obama residence.

"I think it's a brilliant stroke for them to move here, they're surrounded by a lot of people who are still politically active," said Susan Harreld, a Kalorama resident who lives nearby.

"It's a very family-oriented neighbourhood, which is great for Sasha, but also a very private neighbourhood."

Mr Obama will rent the home, which is unoccupied, from Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary and senior adviser to Bill Clinton. Mr Lockhart and his wife, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, moved to New York City after he became the vice president of communications for the National Football League.

Though the neighbourhood values privacy, Mrs Harreld said residents remain on a first-name basis.
Andrew Price-Gibson added many Kalorama residents are active in the area's historical preservation initiatives such as maintaining the nearby Spanish Steps and Mitchell Park.

"We hope they'll take part in the community," he said.

But Mr Obama will not be the first president to reside in the prominent community.
Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin D Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover also called Kalorama home at different points in their lives.

"We pride on being a presidential neighbourhood," Mr Price-Gibson said. "So this is one more for the books."

Culled from  BBC News, Washington

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