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Ballston Looks to Improve Image

by ARLnow.com | November 8, 2010 at 9:43 am | 3,751 views | 76 Comments

Rosslyn and Crystal City are doing it. Now Ballston wants in on the action.

This weekend a group of large local property owners will ask the county board to advertise a public hearing on the creation of a Ballston Business Improvement District.

The Ballston BID would be responsible for marketing Ballston to potential businesses, residents and visitors. It is necessary, property owners say, to keep Ballston competitive with other fast-growing commercial office markets in the District and in Northern Virginia. (Such as Tyson’s Corner, which is a few years away from becoming Metro-accessible.)

“The common view is that Ballston is a ‘good’ place but, it is not yet a ‘great’ community — a goal all urban mixed-use communities need to achieve in order to remain competitive, attractive and sustainable,” the BID’s boosters wrote in a proposed business plan.

The BID, with an initial budget of just over $1 million, would focus on “improving the business climate through branding, marketing and events.”

Organizers say the BID would be similar in function to the Crystal City BID, which has been very active in beautifying the streets, working to attract new businesses and organizing events meant to showcase various desirable neighborhood characteristics.

Ballston BID supporters propose spending $186,000 on events, $205,000 on marketing and branding, and $300,000 on signage, including banners, a “gateway” and navigation aides. The BID would also create a new “fully interactive website.”

A large part of the BID’s mission will be to “enhance and sustain Ballston’s image as a premier live-work-play community.”

A common complaint about Ballston is a lack of reasons to stay past 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or to visit on weekends. As such, the BID would take steps to promote the neighborhood as “a place where visitors and employees will stay longer and enjoy the BID’s after-work and weekend energy.”

Under the BID, Ballston would be branded as the Washington area’s “hub of science and technology” — emphasizing the presence of the National Science Foundation, DARPA, the Virginia Tech/IBM Center for Community Security and Resilience, and other sci-tech employers.

The BID would be paid for by a supplemental commercial property tax rate of $0.045 per $100 of assessed value in a designated Ballston service district. The tax would not apply to properties deemed “residential.”

The creation of the BID and the tax have the explicit support of half the property owners and managers in Ballston, according to organizers. Only 14 percent of property owners, including the Nature Conservancy and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, oppose the BID’s creation outright.

If ultimately approved by the board, the BID would begin operations in July 2011. It would likely replace an existing neighborhood organization, the Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership, which “lacks the financial resources to help make Ballston the ‘great place’ that it can be,” according to BID boosters.

Flickr pool photos by Chaita1 (top) and Tim Kelley (middle)

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  • G-Man

    I don’t understand the “A common complaint about Ballston is the lack of reasons to stay past 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or to visit on weekends.” There are plenty of restaurants and bars in Ballston. Even the the mall lacks good stores, at least their is a movie theatre and Kettler Ice Rink. Quincy Park is a great place to go after work and weekends.

    • Clarendonian

      Ballston has a lot of establishments going for it. It still doesn’t feel like much of a ‘place’ though and more feels like a collection of buildings. Does that make sense ? There are exceptions but a lot of the buildings in Ballston take up the whole block, the streets are fairly wide which makes the buildings pretty far apart and they have only one or two shops on the ground floor so the spacing between ‘points of interest’ for a pedestrian is pretty large. I think all that conspires to make Ballston somewhat disjointed.

      I think less people who are going out will say “Let’s go to Ballston”. They might say “Let’s go to Rio Grande” or “Let’s go to Rock Bottom”.

      Whereas, many people do say “Let’s go to Clarendon” (and figure out what we do when we get there). I think that’s not only because there are a lot of places in Clarendon (as there are in Ballston), but that the streets in Clarendon come across as an integral part of the “place” of Clarendon. In other words it’s fun just being out on the Clarendon streets.

      To me, this is a clear sign that a place is a place. I could be out of date on that though – do people plan a night out in “Ballston” without any specific establishment in mind ? I used to work in Ballston and liked it very much so this is not me slamming, just my observations.

      • charlie

        all good points.
        Clarendon isn’t cursed with a HUGE bus transfer station right in the heart of it. The original heart of Clarendon was to be the METRO, but it is a buzzkill to the pedestrian scene. Everyone gets out and walks east.
        People may go to Clarendon and figure it out, that is true. But that is also partly because there are so many similar places. Ballston has some unique places and good. Years ago someone once told me that all the restaurants in Clarendon “tasted like Clarendon”.
        Ballston is a much more mature place with Willow, Viapano, Caribbean Breeze offering excellent and unusual fare. Now with Rustico.
        Clarendon is only about eating. Ballston you have ice hockey, movies, comedy theater — things that can be before or after dinner or drinks. Clarendon it is just a night of eating and drinking.
        Both good options. I find myself in Clarendon very little and prefer Ballston.

  • charlie

    the thing that drags Ballston down is the huge unsightly and dark block that makes up the bus transfer on Stuart. I don’t feel safe there.
    beyond that, Ballston rocks!! Don’t need to go to CLarnedon for a good night out.

    • YTK

      Amen — as well as the tawdry Ballston bus stop area — that place could use a Satellite Police Station, especially at night.

    • PurpleFlipFlops

      Agreed. Love the area except the bus stops. I know some people who get off at VA Square at night to avoid the bus area…

    • V Dizzle

      It may look unappealing, but is there really any more crime at that bus stop than elsewhere? I read the Arlington crime reports and can’t remember anything from that block in the past 2+ years.

      • charlie

        the stats are pretty low/good.
        it is the impression that is the problem.

        • rft

          perhaps the stats are good because the bad impression causes people to avoid it at night

      • Jason S

        It’s kind of ugly, but I’ve never had an issue there, but I’m not exactly the type to get hassled. I frequently go through there late at night. If were a young lady, I might be a bit more concerned. More lighting might be the fix.

    • PikeHoo

      Agreed on the dumpiness of the bus section. When I lived in Ballson, my female friends always avoided it, even before one of our friends was assaulted there.

    • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

      Lived here 20 years. Use the bus stop all the time. Have no idea what you are talking about. Really?!?!? You guys are afraid of the “different” people at the bus stop?? If you review the crime report, I think there is hardly ever a mention of crime in this area.

      I admit it. I do sometimes get off at VA Square – why – because SO MANY people use Ballston its easier to get off at VA Square with my bike.

      Honestly, this is phobic.

      • Jason S

        This is how many people in Arlington think. It’s appalling. The snobbery is off the charts and I really don’t understand why.

      • V Dizzle

        Amen.

      • charlie

        i’m not at all “afraid” of the people.
        i’ve walked there at night. it is very dark. the sidewalk is dirty. lots of people hanging against walls (tired from a days work) but still in the shadows; lots of people loitering. i’ve been panhandled.
        I just think it is dark and scary. and I don’t scare easily. i avoid the block as much as possible. problem is that it is the central street.

        • Jason S

          If you think it is scary, then you do scare easily.

        • jan

          It is dark, scary and uninviting. And that’s in the daytime!

      • bittersweet

        No need to couch terms by using “different”. Just say it. Many white people don’t want to encounter the black and brown people that come to the Ballston metro/bus stop.

  • NJmetsfan

    I moved to Ballston since other friends live in the area and I thought that by living near them, they would want to do everything together. Ballston has Rock Bottom, Chipotle, Big Buns, and Vapiano. The only other restaurant I need is Mister Days. All I need are these 5 places.

  • Jason S

    I live in Ballston. It’s an OK neighborhood. If you are simple-minded enough to think that standing around drinking counts as “something to do” then you are fine in Ballston, since that is pretty much all there is in Clarendon. The mall is depressing, better stores there would be more people around the neighborhood. If I could have anything, a decent bookstore would be at the top of the list.

    • Andrew

      YES! I have thought of that myself, they need a good bookstore in the mall. And a Sephora too! (input from my girl)

    • Dan

      There used to be three book stores alas…..(two in the mall and the one in between the metro and the mall).

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    Ballston Mall has been a boner ever since it was reconfigured from Parkington. The place has always felt lifeless and as mentioned many of the stores have no draw. Not even the movie theater has given it much more life. What they can do to jazz it up, I am not sure. Maybe if some of the internal restaurants weren’t bad chains. Outside of that, Ballston mostly became lifeless when they built all the condos, made half the streets one way etc. Ballston then became the center of “just passing through DC on my way to something else” culture.

    • Andrew

      How does building condos make a place lifeless? Also, which streets are one way?

      My only complaint about Ballston is that it isn’t as “nice” as Clarendon and could use some better restaurants. What would you add to the area to make it more lively?

      • Frenchy B

        Agreed – condos & apartments bring residents that will be around at night and on weekends; office buildings do the opposite.

        Ballston’s problem is that the bulk of the retail shopping is hidden in the mall (and a poorly laid-out mall, at that). Most of the street-level retail space is dominated by dry cleaners and sandwich shops that cater to the office workers nearby, but are not a draw for visitors.

        • Hooorraaaayyyy!

          You said it best. Street level, you have nothing that would entice you to stay past 5 p.m. Front Page can only do so much. Get rid of Noodles and Chevy’s and put in some really good restaurants. AND a really good coffeehouse would help, that one place next to Chipotle SUCKS!

      • Harold and Kumar

        Let’s get a WHITE CASTLE in Ballston!

        • Southeast Jerome

          Its 2011 – stop being so insensitive. There are plenty of white castles already in Arlington. Go drive around Lyon Village.

    • Darwin

      Ballston Mall rocks! Where else can you shop for a nose hair trimmer, a katana sword, AND a Greek statue all in one place? “Razors and More” that’s where! Plus all the dope men’s fashion at “Good Fellas”!

  • Reader

    I am happy that somebody wants to do something but I would prefer to have the money spent on doing something to make the area better rather than “signage” and events that just say the area is great !

    • Skeptical

      Amen. In these times of tight budgets and my tax rate going up I don’t want to see six figure outlays on frigging signage.

  • Set the controls

    I’m no artist so I can’t jump in with a solution, however, this thread makes me realize that I haven’t really noticed much public art in Ballston or Clarendon. There are a few rather corporate pieces here and there, but no touchy-feely landmarks. And if something were installed it would be nice if the county would butt out.

  • Joe

    Ballston and Clarendon are both terrible, for different reasons. Ballston has that bus transfer station, which is a magnet for the type of people you don’t want in Arlington (people you don’t see in Georgetown nor in McLean/Tysons). Clarendon, of course, has become a sinkhole for these people since that First Baptist project was rammed through over neighborhood opposition.

    The neighbors of Lyon Village had the right idea, “forgoing” the bathroom at the sprayground. Without a changing station, outsiders won’t come to the sprayground in the first place.

    But there’s only so much you can do. If the County insists on some sort of mythical “right” to “affordable” housing in your neighborhood, or the construction of a bus station such that “if you build it, THEY will come”, then there’s not much you can do. You can sue and sue, trying to drive up the costs so the project collapses. But ultimately, the County will do what it will do.

    • V Dizzle

      Wow. …and here I thought N. Arlington could use more diversity. Do people ‘bus-in’ in order to hang around the bus station?

      • PurpleFlipFlops

        Why does anyone “need” forced diversity? Honest question.

        • V Dizzle

          I don’t see affordable housing as ‘forced diversity’ at all. I see it as a comprimise seeking to offset for development that favors the developers over the renters.
          Further, more members of the ‘majority’ take the bus than you think.

          • PurpleFlipFlops

            How do you have any idea what I think about the number of racial make-up of those who take the bus?

            You are the one that made the statement about this area needing more diversity. I asked why you thought forced diversity was needed.

        • V Dizzle

          My mistake, I was trying to figure out what your statement was in response to and was apparently wrong. Also my statement on buses was in response to the thread.
          I do not endorse the “need” for forced diversity in any regard, so I cannot answer your question. My initial comment was meant to be a subjective and based on my observation that most people that I see in the Rosslyn-Ballston area look a lot like I do.

          • PurpleFlipFlops

            What do you look like? There are lots of asians, indians and caucasians in N. Arlington.

        • V Dizzle

          I’m pretty friggin’ handsome, but not currently looking. I can totally bench like 100 lbs too.

          • NJmetsfan

            Hahahaha, nice response.

      • anon

        They ‘bus in’ to transfer buses or hop on the metro. Waiting for a bus can take a while, so an unsavory crowd forms and stands around all day. Some do appear to just hang out too.

    • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

      “People you dont want in arlington”????? You mean, like people who live in Arlington???? You do realize most of those people at the bus stop LIVE in Arlington! Try riding the bus one day and see where people get off and where they live. And then learn something — those people that you dont want living in Arlington are your neighbors.

  • jan

    As long as Ballston office space is dominated by civil servants and techies, it will not develop the kind of vibe we feel in Clarendon and Rossyln. I have nothing against those workers. It’s just that they’re usually at a pay scale that requires cheap eats and they reserve their shopping to where they live (not Arlington). Ballston needs to attract a more balanced office demographic.

    The mall appears to have lost its opportunity to be a destination. It has many problems such as a scary parking garage and facades that fail to compete with Tysons or Pentagon City. The stores are entombed in a dark mystery box.

    There was, and may still be, a Ballston Partnership. I attended a briefing given by the leader and learned nothing. She talked too much, did not connect with the audience, and seemed to lack focus. Hope the new group will find a leader as effective as Cassidy in Rossyln.

    • Kevin

      Any “tech” people in Ballston will most likely be defense contractors serving nearby customers (ONR and Darpa for instance). They’re not hurting for cash.

    • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

      Now we are talking about people we dont want living in Arlington -> Civil servants. Wont get better till we get rid of them!

    • Jason S

      What a strange, arrogant, and out-of-touch post. A lot of techies are paid quite handsomely and many civil servants aren’t exactly hurting for cash either.

      Maybe you are right, there are so many wealthy people in Arlington that it attracts classy establishments that the poor people int the suburbs cannot afford to patronize. Nevermind that the VA suburbs are some of the wealthiest areas in the country. Perhaps many of the people who work in Arlington don’t want to live here because of the people and sometimes I cannot blame them.

    • JamesE

      it is true, I really wanted to z06 but settled on a regular corvette on my low pay scale.

      • JamesE

        also I think 4 dudes living in one apartment in Clarendon can be considered low pay.

  • MikeC

    Step 1. Sell tickets to the public demolition of the mall.
    Step 2. Use the proceeds to help offset the cost of having something nice there instead.

    There; that was easy.

    Mike “Moving Out of Ballston and Back to Falls Church” C.

  • a’town

    ballston mall is the hood, lets be real. the bus depot does not help that area. the little strip there starting at the church on stafford/fairfax, down past the 7-11 towards the chinese place nobody goes to, is filled up with the kind of people you expect to be begging you for cash outside mcpherson square.

    A BID would serve themselves well if they were to clean up the bus depot, enforce panhandling laws on the strip in front of 7-11, sponsor some kind of community events and maybe assign a limit to the number of dryclean/market/video rental stores you can have in one square block. There are seriously 15 of them. A bit much. I’d rather have another bar than a drycleaner.

    Also, having all of those destinations bars in the mall doesnt help. Lets be honest, nobody really wants to “go out” at a mall. Unless they are 7th graders with LA gears, spanx or emo outfits.

    • BallstonCondoResident

      Totally agree. Aside from events and a “better website” (sorry, but this is totally useless), Ballston REALLY needs to get rid of the mall — or give it a serious overhaul — along with the bus depot, as well as the shady Chinese joints and 7-11. The mall is really the biggest downer about the area, which is so surprising to me seeing how most of the people living in Arlington would be THRILLED to see stores like Borders and J. Crew show up in that mall (not to mention they can also afford it, and it would keep people from having to drive to Tysons or Pentagon City). Not sure what the holdup is on giving the mall a serious facelift. Just look at the stores in there…so many of them come and go in just a matter of months!

      • JamesE

        The Chinese place and 7-11 have the lease until 2019 if memory serves me correctly.

  • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

    Lived in Arlington 20 years and have seen the dramatic transformation of Ballston. Ironically one of the biggest probs with Ballston right now is you cant go there – there is no parking. If you want to get get some pizza or a sandwich or coffee, there is no on street parking – you could use the garage several blocks away and pay the garage fee and walk longer than it takes to buy lunch – probably not going to happen.

    Ballston is a great place (and so are all the people at the bus stop). But Clarendon go revitalized more as a holistic view of a destination neighborhood. Ballston could use a bit of that. It has a whole lot of very good things, but its not woven into a coherent vision of a destination neighborhood. Between coffee houses, sandwich shops, the sushi restaurant, pizza – we probably spend more money in Ballston than anywhere else.

    And not every neighborhood needs to be a georgetown yuppie wanna be neighborhood. Some can be good family destinations and some can be a bit more, how do you say, adult. Ballston is not Clarendon – not sure I would want it to be. We need the difference. And it would be great to see Ballston better — (step one: fix the parking)

    • Westover

      Parking is a buck in the Ballston Commons Mall Garage, that is far cheaper than what is offered anywhere legaly in Clarendon, not sure what more you can ask for as far as parking there. It does take a bit longer to get out of the garage with all the ramps and all, but still, parking for a buck!

    • Westover

      Get some real shops in the Mall and Ballston will shine. Macy’s seems to be it. Get Great American Resturants to open up a Costal Flats or Flatwater Tavern where the Noodles and Compay and Chevy’s is, attract J Crew somehow, Anthropolgy, A&F, put Borders Books where the Macy’s Furnature store is(where it used to be Woodies then JC Penny), etc. get rid of the dollar store and you could revive the place quickly. Revive the Mall and the rest of the neighborhood will pop back with it.

  • BusRider

    Just wanted to chime in that I ride the bus and transfer in Ballston sometimes. The majority of the “bus people” are people with jobs and long commutes from a diversity of backgrounds. The other night I was waiting for a bus with a group of older women from a mix of cultures, it was very cold and I did think that there could be some asthetic and practical improvements made to the bus waiting areas. Better lighting for sure, as well as improved signage or customer service since it is such a major transfer point. In addition, I’ve observed a lot of cars pulling up in front of Cosi and putting their blinkers on to pick up passengers from the metro. This of course clogs traffic and can be dangerous. Since it’s so common, maybe there could be a designated waiting area or signage for drivers about a safer alternative for pick up.

    • PGFDE121

      The problem them becomes how to make bus shelters attractive enough for those waiting for buses, without making them more attractive to the homeless crowd who make the seating areas their sleeping quarters. I think a police substation with stricter panhandling enforcement is a good start.

  • Stefan Sittig

    I have some different views on Ballston. I live in Clarendon but my parents live in Ballston so I travel back and forth between the 2 neighborhoods frequently.

    I find Ballston to be quite vibrant during the day (office workers) and somewhat vibrant at night. I have to say, that on some level it’s nice not to have the total overcrowding that Clarendon has in the evenings. There are plenty of nice places to eat that are not overpriced and it’s still possible to take a nice calm walk without being accosted by drunk recently graduated frat/sorority members.

    I’d say that I view the BID as a mixed blessing at best. If it’s not done properly, it could end up making the area overcrowded and making the parking situation even worse.

    Oh and on a side note, it takes 10 min to walk from Clarendon to Ballston station. The fact that some people insist on driving between the two points is puzzling to me.

    We are over-reliant on parking and our cars. The Virginia Square and Ballston metro stops serve the neighborhood well, and people need to learn to use them more frequently, esp. in the eves and on weeknights…or god forbid, they can actually walk (assuming they are healthy/able to).

    Also the ART bus makes very frequent trips up and down the orange line corridor..so there are plenty of car-free ways to get around the area.

    The fact that rental and purchasing prices in Ballston are significantly cheaper than neighboring Clarendon and Courthouse, probably means that the area will continue to see increase in population.

    And as for the Ballston Commons mall..it’s main problem is that it needs a more youth oriented anchor store to keep it humming.

    If Target or Best Buy or Bed Bath and Beyond put an anchor store, you’d see business skyrocket. Especially considering the closest Target is either on Route 50 or on Rt. 1 (car ride or long metro plus bus ride away) or all the way in Columbia Heights (long metro ride w/transfers).

    • JamesE

      I do find it funny how we are comparing areas that are only 3/4s of a mile apart.

    • JamesE

      also I should add when I bought the prices for the entire orange line corridor were identical I don’t know where this significantly cheaper figure comes from.

      • Stefan Sittig

        James E. wrote:
        also I should add when I bought the prices for the entire orange line corridor were identical I don’t know where this significantly cheaper figure comes from.

        Just look at the sales history for condos in Clarendon vs. Ballston in the last 4 years and you’ll see a big difference.

        One real life example: A friend of mine purchased a 1 bedroom (633 sq ft) condo in Clarendon in 2008 for 390K. Another friend of mine purchased a 1 bedroom (750 sq ft)in Ballston for 310K. Not sure if that’s leveled out in the last year or so due to the housing market crash, cause DC wasn’t that affected from what I can tell, but there is a significant price difference when buying.

        • JamesE

          Proximity to the metro can cause the prices to fluctuate but they are about even. I think your friend in Clarendon purchased way too high for 600 sqft.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    The point here is that the county is forcing buisnesses into getting double charged for things that should either be provide for their base tax dollar or buisnesses should be doing for themselves. This leads to high rents – which leads to cookie cutter retail with little interest or diversity. This is what we have to look forward to in EFC. One question that should be asked here is – when was an audit done on the Rossyln and Crystal City BID to ensure that the 1percent the county is taking is sufficient to cover all the county costs, including benefit, infrastructure and auxilary loaded wage costs.

  • MC

    Good news, first we heard a couple weeks ago that the Ballston Common would be getting an overhaul, now a real BID for Ballston. The BIDs have done much for Crystal City and Rosslyn, which were much more challenged in terms of lacking identity.

    The biggest drag to Ballston is Ditmar — they own many ugly buildings in the hood, and have just completed a new one. Wish the Board held their zoning applications to a higher architectural standard.

    • jan

      I think Ditmar uses architects from the former USSR.

      In contrast, there are many pleasing office buildings like the Nature Conservancy and the building that houses the Rio Grand.

  • LV Chris

    I’ve long been mystified by Ballston’s mall. Here’s a sizable retail space in the middle of neighborhoods of all incomes, but the only stores (and lines of clothing) available are kinda chintzy. It’s going the way of Landmark and Springfield, it seems. As TheNativeArlingtonian said, even Parkington was a better shopping center in its heyday.

  • Bender

    This really is beyond absurd.

    Yeah, let’s get rid of the buses. And get rid of the Metro stops. They’re both really ugly, etc. Meanwhile, let’s get rid of half the parking. And let’s also increase the meter hours for the three parking spots that remain.

    And that is supposed to increase the number of people going there in the evenings??

    But, but, but, I thought that constructing all of those 20-story buildings was supposed to, not only block out the sun from the street, but make people want to go there and live there?? I know, let’s build a street-car line down the middle of Wilson Blvd.!

    Smart growth in action!

    What the hell do you expect? It’s not as bad as that hell-hole Crystal City, but they have made it about as friendly and accomodating.

    The only thing that the whole Rosslyn to Ballston corridor is becoming good for is for avoiding like the plague.

  • Confucius Kitchen

    Hey, what a great idea!!! Spend a bazillion dollars to build a nice new shiny mall for the hordes of guttersnipe that come in on the subway! It can act as load balancer or auxiliary scum gutter for Pentagon City! Sounds like a plan!!!

  • Vik

    I don’t have much to say about who should or shouldn’t be in Ballston, I don’t think that’s really that big of an issue. It’s mostly during the week and I don’t think it’s “scary” at at all. I agree that a more diverse office make-up could help things, though. The area is too gov’t/bland feeling. High rents do seem to be an issue, as well. I also don’t like all of the cafeterias with mostly crap food that are only open on the weekday. Some of those spaces could be better used with a diverse array of restaurants and lounge type places with outdoor seating. A lot of buildings in Ballston meet security requirements that are detrimental to a healthy street life.

    The mall is a big issue, it’s terrible. To reiterate what some people have already said, the stores suck. I don’t think a new mall needs to be built, but if you could put a Best Buy, Target, Borders and perhaps a mid-range dept. store or a few trendy smaller stores, it would go a way. I agree wholeheartedly with those earlier comments. It’s unbelievable you can’t find this sort of retail on the corridor right now. Aside from that, if you could renovate the mall with better lighting, another escalator and feasible envelope modifications/improvements, that would be great.

  • Stefan Sittig

    I am convinced by simply adding a Target, a Best Buy and a Bed Bath and Beyond, the Ballston Commons mall would attract much more of a clientele.

    The multiplex isn’t bad either.

    Witness what happened in Col. Heights when the Target moved in there. Lots of other restaurants and retail rode on the coattails as well…

    I realize it takes more than adding a Target to develop an area sensibly, but like Vik said, it’s really ridiculous that the closest Target is on route 50 and only reachable by a 15 min car or 30 min bus ride.

    I am surprised those companies haven’t figured out the niche market they have on the orange line—which leads me to believe it’s not them, it’s the neighborhood/arl. county getting in the way.

    I remember the years of debate/discussion/rigamarole it took to get Market Commons approved in Clarendon. And as someone who lived in Arlington 10 years ago, I much prefer the area now than before, even if it is harder to park.

  • Work in Ballston

    This thread is hilarious. We should just admit a few things: Ballston Mall sucks, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Thank god though that it has a McDonald’s for those hangover days; do your Christmas shopping online though. Fairfax Dr. is a mess, both in terms of random people loitering and jaywalkers. Avoid if possible – Wilson Blvd. is a great alternative, and it even runs parallel! You’re only going to come to Ballston at night if you are going to Front Page and even then, you’ll probably end up parking at the mall. Oh well.

  • BallstonDweller

    Would love to hear what the operators of Ballston Common Mall have to say about this. People are desperate to spend money in your mall. If it could attract a few good stores, better decor and carpet, more lights in the garage, and actually working elevators, this could be pretty great and probably make someone more money.

  • Mike

    If this goes through I wanna know when the job fair is gonna be.

  • Mike

    Ya’ll can’t be serious…. afraid of Ballston station at night? LOL
    I can even begin to imagine y’all “Arlingtonites” at Silver Spring or Wheaton station if you think the Ballston bus bays are dangerous lol. Sheesh get a damn grip and grow some balls…..no wonder why Arlington will never be a real city its too sterile with a bunch of pussies living in the area

  • Stefan Sittig

    The block on Fairfax Drive that is right across from the bus depot at Ballston is a bit rough, and totally apart from the rest of the street/neighborhood.

    But yeah, it’s still pretty tame compared to portions of CoHe or even South Arlington. Let’s chill.

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