Washington mansion for Obama?

US President Barack Obama is reportedly eyeing a new home for his family in Washington, D.C. for life after the White House.
A TV crew filming outside the 8,200 sq ft home that US President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to rent after leaving office.
A TV crew filming outside the 8,200 sq ft home that US President Barack Obama is reportedly planning to rent after leaving office.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON • United States President Barack Obama and his family plan to move to a mansion in the upscale Kalorama neighbourhood of Washington, a mere 3.2km from the White House, when he leaves office next January, according to people familiar with his plans.

Mr Obama, who has said his family will remain in the capital until his daughter Sasha completes high school in 2018, will rent the 8,200 sq ft, nine-bedroom home, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The house is valued at around US$6 million (S$8.3 million), according to several real estate websites, with an estimated monthly rent of US$22,000.

Deputy White House press secretary Jennifer Friedman declined to comment on the President's plans, which were first reported on Wednesday by Politico. But as the news became public, journalists and news photographers flocked to the block.

The move will put the Obamas in one of Washington's wealthiest postal codes, in a secluded precinct that is a focal point of the capital's cocktail-party circuit. The home is luxurious. Photos posted by Washington Fine Properties show spacious rooms with hardwood floors, white marble countertops, his- and-her master bathrooms and a terrace with formal gardens. It has an "au pair suite" that could be suitable for Mrs Marian Robinson, Mrs Obama's mother, who has lived with the family in the White House.

The location also appears to meet Mr Obama's need to accommodate the Secret Service contingent that remains with a president after he leaves office. The neighbourhood already has a sizable security presence because of its proximity to the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue known as Embassy Row. The Obamas will live down the block from the Oman Embassy and European Union ambassador to the US.

The neighbourhood has long been home to prominent politicians, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Residents describe it as an oasis of calm in the middle of a bustling city. "You can get almost any place in Washington that you want to go to in 15 minutes but, on the weekend, it's like you are in the country," said former Democratic congressman Bart Gordon, who will soon be the Obamas' next-door neighbour. "He will be welcomed to the neighbourhood; I just hope he doesn't get too rowdy."

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2016, with the headline 'Washington mansion for Obama?'. Print Edition | Subscribe