I lived in the Abby's only studio apartment for three years. At the time, the monthly rent was a steal compared to other studios in the area.
Talking about the benefits of the location... Next door to a Giant, Cactus Cantina, Two Amy's Pizza, Starbucks, etc. Next to a wonderful, quiet neighborhood and the Rosedale Conservancy. Seventeen minutes by foot from the front door to the Cleveland Park Metro platform. The proximity to Cleveland Park restaurants. The proximity to the National Cathedral. Twenty minutes by foot to Tenleytown, Whole Foods, Best Buy, etc. The safety and peace of mind offered by a police department located two blocks away. Yes, it is not as "hip" as Adams Morgan or the U-Street area, but the rent is nothing like those locations either. And if you need to get to those areas, the 96 bus line starts across the street and takes you to Adams Morgan in 10-15 minutes and U-Street in 20-25 minutes. The 96 starts and ends there, so it is reliable.
As for the building itself, indeed it is an old brownstone from the early 20th Century and has the quirks that come with such a building, mainly in terms of electrical wiring. When I first moved in, I could not operate my microwave without causing the circuit breaker to trip. After discussing this with management, they extended the second power line to my studio, and my problems were solved. I personally had pretty decent water pressure/plumbing, but I know others had some difficulities in this area. I never had any leaks. They certainly could also do a much better job removing and re-painting the units between tennants. Simply repainting over and over without removing prior paint doesn't cut it.
In regards to management, I always found them friendly and fairly responsive to problems and concerns. But I can obviously only speak from my experiences with the particular property managers I worked with.
What are the cons of living in the Abby? While there is a lot of good that comes from its location, there are also some bad things. First of all, the intersection of Newark and Wisconsin is quite busy and quite noisy living on the first floor of the front side of the building. Secondly, smokers often congregated outside of my window resulting in both noise and air pollution inside of my apartment. Thirdly, the area is in some ways still in development. The building across the street was bought by the Williams C Smith company and is undergoing renovation. And the entire block where the Giant is located will soon undergo massive improvements, resulting in temporary closure of those facilities. But afterwords, there will be a Super Giant among other benefits. Finally, the sense of "building community" could certainly be improved as well as the washer and dryer units in the basement.
In the end, I found the Abby to be a very pleasant place to live and a place that offered me personally a very good value for the money. I have recommended it to friends in search of such.
But be warned: the Abby does have a ZERO TOLERANCE pet policy. No dogs. No cats. No nothing.
(The rent listed below is what I paid when I left the Abby.)