Major Renovations at Ballston Apartment Building

by ARLnow.com August 30, 2010 at 11:02 am 4,608 38 Comments

Residents of 1020 North Quincy Street have started a blog in response to the building owner’s plan to renovate the aging apartment complex.

The renovations will force residents to pack up their stuff and vacate their apartment for 2-3 weeks. They will be moved to a vacant apartment elsewhere in the building, and will have the option of staying in that apartment permanently or moving back to their old apartment once renovations are complete.

According to one of the many commenters on the blog, management expects rent to be raised $100 to $150 per month post-renovation.

A number of commenters expressed frustration with the project, the rent increases and a perceived lack of tenant input. Some have called for residents to organize to resist the renovations.

  • TGEoA

    Suck it renters.

    • RestonRunner86

      Yes, because every fresh college graduate moving to the National Capital Region (or “The DMV” as certain radio stations call it) can easily afford to buy a home in Arlington with our Monopoly money. I can barely afford my own 1-BR apartment on my respectable salary, which is why I’m in the process of picking up a second job. What is with your air of superiority towards we renters? I actually prefer the versatility offered when it comes to renting because I tire of homeowners in the area whining when their office relocates, which happens frequently with the volatile career options here. Should I then say “Suck it, owners?”

      With that being said the residents of 1020 North Quincy are getting a great deal. My Archstone complex in far-flung Reston was raising my rent by about $200/month, and they were NOT renovating, nor did we have any community amenities to enjoy.

      • TGEoA

        Ah, just the person I was referring too. You know, the kind that wants the flexibility to up and move anytime they want, but at the same time keep those property owning landlords accoutnable to the peepul, bless their little black flabby hearts.

  • Fat Kid.

    1020 needs to be renovated.

    • RestonRunner86

      If every aging complex was renovated, then where would those seeking affordable (non-subsidized) housing in Arlington live? I’m looking into renting next Spring in the Columbia Pike Corridor, which is supposedly one of the last “cheap” areas of Arlington, and even here I’m sensing a lot of units are being renovated (after which rents rise to help recoup the investment). If everything in Arlington had granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, marble tile backsplashes, etc., then where are those like me who make too much to qualify for housing assistance yet not enough to afford those “luxury” renovations supposed to go?

      • TGEoA

        Try Reston. Or Ashburn. Or stop voting for tools that take YOUR money and give it to those who make less than you so THEY can live closer in to the city.

      • South Arlington

        Restonrunner, I’m a little torn on your comments. I am in my late 20’s and started working here as a GS-5 during the height of the housing boom. I found a way to make it work. I think my issue with your comments is your seeming feeling of entitlement that every super desirable place to live should have affordable housing for all. Living near a Metro is an amenity that raises prices – just like living oceanfront, on a lake, etc., there are additional costs. And in DC, living near a Metro is the shangri-la of housing. It’s unfortunate that Arlington is so Metro accessible as many areas are expensive. It’s kind of just the way a supply and demand economy works.

        I think your issue isn’t that there are no apartments that are affordable nearby Arlington, it’s that the desirable areas you’d like to live in are not affordable. There are certainly affordable apartments on the 16 bus line on Columbia Pike, you just have to be willing to move further towards Bailey’s Crossroads. Arlandria has ample cheap, safe housing with direct bus lines to Crystal City and Potomac Yard. This is not even getting into the apartments near Seven Corners. Are they the coolest places? No. But they are affordable and close enough to transit to get to work without a car if necessary. I hope I’m not coming off as elitist, but I had to work hard, put in my time, save, and eventually move up to living in [South] Arlington (after living in far flung Fairfax for my first couple years).

        • TGEoA

          Good on you young man.

        • RestonRunner86

          My commentary is that if every one of these “affordable” (yet not subsidized) communities continues to be upgraded with all the latest bells and whistles to justify higher rents to court the higher-earning yuppies, then where CAN those of us caught in the middle find a place to live? What’s happening along Columbia Pike isn’t “gentrification.” It’s taking a working-class neighborhood and “yuppifying” it. There’s nothing wrong with Columbia Pike in its present state for those who don’t need luxurious surroundings but who would like to live car-free (myself). I have always shopped at Giant. I don’t need Whole Foods or Harris Teeter just to say “I’m trendy.” I neither want nor need tennis courts, polo fields, swimming pools, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, on-site Starbuck’s, and all these other “perks” that cause rent prices for a 1-BR apartment to inflate to $1,400+ per month. The apartment I live in currently in Reston is $1,100/month, and you get what you pay for—a tiny galley kitchen with old appliances, worn carpeting, cheap window treatments, etc. I’d prefer living like this, though, as compared to paying $5,000-$10,000 more per year just to have more “perks.” Why are all of these options for the “working poor” (sad that people making $40,000-$50,000 in this area are even called that) being removed?

          Fairfax County is a hellish armpit of urban sprawl. Reston, the “largest” part of the county, is trying to increase its density around the proposed new rail stations for the Silver Line, and the dolts here are saying how “evil” that is. Fairfax County is a prime example of everything that is wrong with Virginia and America—slaves to foreign oil. Arlington County is a prime example of urban planning done right. For this reason I want to move to Arlington.

          • South Arlington

            There are plenty of places to rent along Columbia Pike that are not “Yuppified”. Assuming you are 24 from your name, Restonrunner86, you did not see Columbia Pike 5 years ago when the worst Safeway in existence was there, LA Bar and Grill was a terrible Salvadorean restaurant and the Drafthouse (before the current ownership that actually cares) would show one movie that would be there for 5 weeks. As a former resident that decided to buy in the Penrose neighborhood, I am eager for there to be new bars, restaurants and a decent grocery store. Even with this new development, I can count one “working class” apartment that was renovated, that being the Infinity homes near George Mason Dr. I can vouch that the BM Smith apartments, Fillmore Gardens, Dominion Tower, etc. all have not been and all have very reasonable rent. Is it that these apartments don’t meet your standards, or is it that you’d prefer to continue whining about a lack of “affordable housing” for non “high earning yuppies”?

            In the end, yes, rents are higher than the rest of the region in Arlington. That’s because it’s a nice place to live, has a lot of services, is safe, and is convenient to transit and the city. We also pay for it in taxes and higher prices. That’s how a supply/demand economy works – more people want to live here, limited supply of housing. Also, fresh out of college as I’m sure you are, everything can’t be accessible and affordable. Start saving, and moving up. It’s what everyone else has had to do.

          • Neighbor

            “What’s happening along Columbia Pike isn’t “gentrification.” It’s taking a working-class neighborhood and “yuppifying” it. There’s nothing wrong with Columbia Pike in its present state for those who don’t need luxurious surroundings but who would like to live car-free (myself).”

            There’s no question that gentrification is taking place in South Arlington and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. And, as a resident, I have to disagree with your statement that “there’s nothing wrong with Columbia Pike in it’s present state.” We lack a real grocery store, although the Giant is coming. We have loitering issues at night (and sometimes day) along Columbia Pike. We have a number of dilapidated buildings and vacant storefronts that I wish would (a) be redeveloped or (b) turned into green space (will never happen). The problem with the high rent in Arlington is simply that everyone wants to be close to DC to lessen commuting time, etc and Arlington is a great county to live in. It’s unfortunate that people have to pay an arm and a leg in rent, but I hope that doesn’t hinder the revitalization of Columbia Pike.

          • Neighbor

            Amen, South Arlington. I was just thinking on my way back from work (via the beloved but fuel efficient 16Y) that the Dominion Towers wouldn’t be that bad of an alternative, if I had to rent. A new grocery store would be divine, although TJ is still going to get a lot of my business.

          • anon

            Your own apartment at the age of 24 is a luxury if you want to live inside the beltway. Go on craigslist and look for shared houses/apartments. You can live in Arlington, near a metro no less, for $700 a month. Roommates are how most young people afford to live in Arlington.

          • South Arlington

            Good point anon, I wasn’t able to get a half decent 1 BR at 2200 Columbia Pike until I was 27. It is a luxury to have your own place that close in. It’s what makes me wonder if Restonrunner86 is just asking too much, or as I suspect, feels entitled to too much. I’m also fairly sure Fillmore Gardens, while not very luxurious, is about $1100 utilities included. I think if you can’t make Fillmore Gardens rent, you need to be realistic and get a roommate.

            And kudos to Neighbor. Columbia Pike has long been due to get a facelift and useful business for local residents. It will be nice to dine along the Pike near home rather than drive into DC or drive over to the Orange Line corridor. Hopefully this new density will drive new businesses filling in the vacancies along the Pike (both in the new buildings and along the current buildings).

  • 1020 Resident

    Hi, I am a resident at 1020 N Quincy.

    One of the biggest issues that I have is that this notice was given briefly to residents — in the form of a notice placed in the elevator for all of 3 days.

    For past maintenance issues they have placed notices under our door. Over this summer we have received separate notices stating that the windows would be replaced and that the convectors would be replaced.

    These were explained as individual projects and ones that did not involve relocation.

    Let’s use the example of a consultant who would be out of town for the week on business. While he was gone, the notice of renovation (as well as having to move) would have been placed and taken down while he was gone. He would have had no idea of the impending inconvenience.

    The letter provides no information and probably doesn’t meet the smell test.

    At some point, I hope the county gets involved because the way they are going about this is clearly unprofessional and may violate county rules.

    • charlie

      get your lease out and look it over.
      Virginia laws are heavily favored to the landlord. And your landlord is not treat, so I’m sure the lease is to his benefit.
      Read your lease. Contact the Arlington housing office.
      don’t waste your time with the Zimmie-stacked Housing Board because they only care about the uber-poor. And if you live at 1020, you are not on their radar. At all.

      • Thes

        Wrong link, Picador Charlie. The Housing Commission does not have jurisdiction over landlord-tenant matters — the Tenant-Landlord Commission does. Here are the links provide the pertinent information for tenants:



        Once again ignorance has not stopped you from launching another uninformed barb into Zimmerman’s backside. I’m surprised you haven’t blamed the plane engine fire on him yet today, considering that he’s on the airport board.

        • TGEoA

          As opposed to you launching your tongue all over Zimmie’s backside?

          • charlie

            TGEoA, thank you!! I interjected previous Zimmie comment just so Thes could submit a report to Zimmie that he has been out doing his lapdog stuff on this nice day. Thes is so predictable it is almost cute. Almost.

          • RestonRunner86

            Ouch! Does someone need a hug?

        • charlie

          Thes, i think Zimmie might desire to be on the MWAA Board but the appropriate people have been astute enough to keep that from happening.

  • Dave

    I wonder if they will clean the temp. apartments after each use. With the issue of bed bugs all over the place — this would be the perfect opportunity for them to spread throughout the building.

  • @TGEoA: Who knows what your story is. Maybe you inherited your non-rented home from mommy and daddy. Or maybe you got your home many years before the crazy price inflation of the past decade. Or maybe you’ve just got lots of lots of money, acquired God-knows-how. But don’t be an ass to people who can’t afford what you have. Renters live at the mercy of landlords, and to presume that every landlord is an altruistic capitalist would be insane.

    Toward the early days of ubiquitous Internet forums, I started a resident group at Lincoln Towers (850 N. Randolph Street) that brought management to its knees and stimulated a mass exodus. This is no small thing. Love it.

    • RestonRunner86

      Arlington apparently has a lot of affluent dual-income householders who look down upon single-income households who can’t afford the community’s housing prices. It’s a lot easier to save up for the down payment and finance a home with a husband and wife each earning $90,000 than it is for one person earning that salary to. Those of us who are interminably single end up moving to exurbs like Winchester to afford decent homes and then power-commuting.

      • lily

        Oh, the single people here make plenty of money too. When I graduated three years ago I landed a great job that put me in probably the top 20% of salary for people my age. Despite this, my salary was so far below the median Arlington income — for single people mind you, not households with married couples — that it qualified me for affordable housing help. (Which I did not take, as I’m perfectly happy to keep renting for now.)

        Trust me, I don’t like the high rents around here any more than you do. But there are a lot of people who make way more money than us and are willing to pay accordingly. Them’s the breaks.

        I completely agree that part of the Arlington price premium is due to terrible urban planning/public policy which has caused most of suburban VA to be a soul sucking sh*thole. If FFX ever gets its act together and stops being hell on earth, some of the price pressure on us would be relieved.

    • TJC


      >> Toward the early days of ubiquitous Internet forums, I started a resident group at Lincoln Towers (850 N. Randolph Street) that brought management to its knees and stimulated a mass exodus. This is no small thing. <<

      "Stimulated a mass exodus"? Then the management won that one, not the tenants.

  • Darwin

    I lived at 1020 at one point, you get what you pay for there. If you don’t like it buy a place.

  • Sunny617

    I lived there a few years ago. Glad to hear they’re renovating…it was getting dumpy, yet the rent kept climbing. Not surprised by the lack of notice…the mgmt when I was there wasn’t exactly nice.

  • bennynojets

    I am a resident of 1020 N. Quincy, and this is all news to me. It is unfortunate that the management cannot effectively communicate with us residents.

  • Nick

    I am a former resident of 1020. I called back in April about moving back there, and the leasing agent forthrightly informed me that they are doing month to month leases because they are in the process of renovating and they might need to “move people around” during the process. I didn’t get the sense there was any ball-hiding going on. It’s disappointing if they’re being less forthright with current tenants than with prospective ones. And I’m surprised they’re not giving people 30 days’ notice about moving (rather than just two weeks), as a month is pretty standard–and possibly required–for a month to month lease.

  • Nate C
    • SD

      Wow, it’s made the big time now.

  • 1020 quincy resident

    I’m a resident. This makes us sound like nutjobs. I’m thrilled the place will be renovated, but the current residents have legitimate grievances with how it’s being communicated to us. One notice in the elevators for three days, just stating that it’s going to happen, and we’ll have to move out of our apartments for it is not sufficient information. Giving two weeks notice to pack up and move is not sufficient. Conflicting information sparingly given out to various residents as they happen to catch the resident manager is not sufficient. And not telling us what the rent increase will be with at least 30 days notice isn’t only not sufficient, but it’s my understanding that it’s actually in violation of Arlington’s regulations.

    The answer to these grievances is not to tell all the residents to simply suck it up, move, buy a house, etc. That’s ridiculous. So all of you who don’t live at 1020? Imagine being told today you have two weeks to move into another apartment, and that you can either sign a year lease and pay whatever increase they come up with, or move out completely. I’ll bet you’d start being upset about it, too.

    • TGEoA

      Why don’t you read your lease and see what your obligations are as well as the owners instead of just guessing?

      I’m fairly certain you probably have a boilerplate contract and 30 days is the norm for most sort of notices. But don’t take my word for it. Read it.

      • 1020 quincy resident

        We’re not being given 30 days. We’re being given a vague notice that this will happen at some point in the future, and then we’ll have two weeks notice to get out. That is not guessing. That is the only thing we HAVE been told.

        • charlie

          you need to read your lease. it will indicate the amount of time that they have to give you to not only enter your apartment but also to move you. Even if you are month to month you have rights. Just because the landlord TOLD YOU something, doesn’t mean it is right. Since they are a major landlord they are covered by Virginia Tenant Landlord laws. There are certain guaranteed rights in Virginia for tenants — even if you sign them away.

        • 1020 Resident

          My lease states 30 days — either by management or us.

          I know this because I had to empty out my kitchen — everything so they can spray for non-existent bugs today.

          If they say I have 2 weeks I will tell them to go pound sand (Though Irum, the building manager might not understand that saying and take offense).

  • Dave

    Looks like Arlington County says that a 120-day notice is required for each individual tenant:


    Thanks for TBD for staying on top of this!


Subscribe to our mailing list