The last two decades in Arlington have been defined by massive, rapid growth in both the residential and business sectors, and leaders in the community are predicting more of the same over the next 10 years.
At Tuesday’s ARLive event, ARLnow.com asked several members of the Arlington community, from residents to business leaders to politicians, what they thought the future would hold. No one believes Arlington will take any steps back from its recent growth — despite a commercial vacancy rate of about 20 percent – and no one mentioned controversial projects like the Columbia Pike streetcar or the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics center.
County Board candidates John Vihstadt, a Republican- and Green-endorsed independent, and Democrat Alan Howze, were in attendance and professed their optimism for the county they hope to lead.
“I think it has unlimited potential,” Vihstadt said. “I hope it’s going to continue to be a diverse community. At the same time I hope we’re able to preserve the small-town feel of Arlington. I really think it’s almost unique among jurisdictions in the D.C. area in terms of its attractiveness and potential, but it needs to redouble its efforts to remain innovative and competitive.”
“In the next ten years we will see a revitalized Crystal City, a growing Columbia Pike corridor, and a community that continues to value Arlington’s vibrant mix of urban and suburban,” he said. “We will also see more students in our schools than we have seen in decades as neighborhoods continue to turn over, new families move into Arlington and younger residents stay in Arlington after starting families.”
Crystal City’s potential was also on the mind of Aurora Highlands Civic Association President Cheryl Mendonsa, who noted that when she moved into her neighborhood, Crystal City and Pentagon City were fractions of what they are now.
“As Crystal City develops it’s going to be an interesting dynamic,” she said. “It’s going to be the place to be. We’re so close to everything — I think it’s going to be a major city.”
Brian Zupan, the regional sales director for Urban Igloo, also agrees with Howze on the appeal of Arlington’s mix of suburban neighborhoods and urban centers.
“People want the urban-suburban feel in areas they live,” he said. “People want to have things where they’re living. People don’t want to drive to the strip mall and get food, they want to walk. We’re going to see a continued infill and increased density with proximity to the District.”