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Morning Poll: Columbia Pike Redevelopment

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2010 at 8:59 am 3,284 71 Comments

Columbia Pike is at a crossroads. On one hand, the corridor is still wonderfully diverse and affordable. On the other hand, new development is bringing luxury apartments and new retail options to the area.

The smart growth-oriented county board is thus stuck in a bit of a paradox. While it funds redevelopment and a new streetcar line, it’s also talking about spending to preserve affordable housing on the Pike.

The Pike certainly has its flaws — crime, lack of bike access, some undesirable land use — but it also has unique qualities that make it a great place to live — diversity, character-filled restaurants and shops, a strong sense of local identity.

With that in mind, we ask:


  • Let’s Be Free

    The survey gets it right — the justification for the massive streetcar investment over the much less expensive bus option is the road to gentrification. That being so, developers along the Pike ought to pay for it, every penny. The Columbia Pike streetcar is a development gimmick.

    And by the way, as someone who lives along Columbia Pike, for me it has become as if Colubia Pike doesn’t exist. I drive right by the Pike and go to points beyond, mostly to places in Alexandria and Fairfax County to conduct the business of my life. The Pike has been destroyed as an ordinary place for ordinary people and nothing has been created in Arlington to take its place.

    • South Arlington

      The Pike has not had any stores or restaurants serving the nearby neighborhoods because it has been long neglected by the County. We haven’t had a grocery store for a year, and before then, we had one of the worst and smallest Giants in the region (not to mention the terrible, terrible, dirty Safeway). You drive “right by the Pike” because there is NOTHING to stop for unless you are looking for 7-11 or vacant buildings in disrepair. Thank goodness we are finally getting new restaurants, bars, stores, and a supposedly awesome new Giant. I’m a pretty “ordinary” Penrose homeowner and I think the new development on the Pike will be just fine for us “ordinary” people.

      • Let’s Be Free

        I don’t need Columbia Pike to get fat and drunk — if that is what you want then be my guest.

        The planners/developers/gentrifiers tried to shut Giant out of Adams/Penrose Square of good. It was only because Giant refused to be intimidated out of its ten-year lease that the new store is being built. If the gentrifiers had their way, the only food stores on the Pike would be 7-ll’s. And since the gentrifiers are getting their way with respect to the rest of Columbia Pike, the Giant is a one-off.

        • South Arlington

          Yes heaven forbid that the evil gentrifiers wanted Adams Square to be more than vacant storefronts, a wig store, and an empty parking lot. What a terrible toll Columbia Pike and its nearby residents are taking. I’m not clear on why the developers wouldn’t want an anchor tenant like a grocery store leasing 10,000-20,000 sq. ft of retail space and driving other tenants to move in. And yes, if getting “fat and drunk” means having nice places like Lost Dog, the renovated Bangkok 54 and the future restaurants in Penrose Square to dine at on weekends and take guests to, then yes, I’ll take “fat and drunk” any day. I’ll also take (as I’m sure you will also) the corresponding appreciation in the value of my home as the Penrose and Arlington Heights neighborhoods reap the benefits of having a vibrant neighborhood scene. I’m glad my neighborhood is becoming a little more Del Ray and a little less vacant storefront.

          • NPGMBR

            Oh, I guess you’ve forgotten but those empty storefronts you mentioned were all occupied and busy with customers until their respective leases expired and they were told to move out so that redevelopment of the area could begin.

            The difference between you and I is that while you own I rent. I’ve been renting in the same building for almost 10 years now. I had my fist opportunity to buy my first place this year. A brand new, two story, 2bdrm, 2 and a half bath condo with a garage all the way down in Woodbridge, and as much as I loved it I could not leave Arlington but at the same time I cannot afford to buy what I want in Arlington so I continue to rent.

            But some of my favorite places in Arington are the Art & Framing Club, Rincome, Bob & Edith’s, Rappahannock, my nearby dry-cleaner, CVS, Ledo Pizza, the Farmers Market and the Drafthouse are all businesses that I visit frequently.

            These places are special because they have not been molded into what we have come expect to see as we travel around the country. I don’t just shop on the Pike. I spend my monies all around the Metro Area but I like the pike as is and it is NOT filled with vacant run-down storefronts. Maybe if you spent more time in the community instead of running off you’d find some value here. But as you said; as an owner you favor redevelopment that increases the value of your property.

          • South Arlington

            I’ve lived on Columbia Pike for 7 years now. The storefronts in Adams Square were never occupied and busy with customers. The stores near the Ski Chalet were never busy with customers: Wild Birds Unlimited, the Jesus candle store, LA Bar and Grill when it was a Salvadorean restaurant, etc. I liked Cowboy Cafe when it was there but it was certainly never busy. I spend most of my time and money in my community, not “running off” like you’ve ignorantly stated. I dine regularly at Manee Thai, the new Kabob place, Mom’s, Rincome, but I also am enjoying the new options that evil gentrification is bringing like Twisted Vines, Lost Dog and P Brennan’s. Bangkok 54, a true family operation if I’ve ever seen one, has transformed their spot into a trendy, wonderful restaurant (including their semi-recent expansion and refurbishing) that is largely being driven by new residents and traffic brought by the reenergized Columbia Pike core.

            And as I pointed out to RestonRunner, there are TONS of affordable rental options in the area and I didn’t even get into affordable private rentals in Arlington Village and Douglas Park.

  • RestonRunner86

    Wow. I broached this very same subject several weeks ago as I bemoaned the potential gentrification of one of Arlington’s last few corridors of affordable housing. I’m surprised to see so many want to see the entire area redeveloped. Where are those too “affluent” (if you can call us that) to afford subsidized housing but not wealthy enough to afford prevailing market-rate rents catering to the “granite countertops, hubrids, and lattes” yuppie crowd supposed to live if everything in our price range continues to be “improved?” It’s a shame a college graduate has to work two jobs just to afford a 1-BR apartment in a suburb. This isn’t New York City. Soon you won’t have ANY 1-BR apartments in Arlington priced in the $1,100/month – $1,400/month range because those units will all either fall down to being subsidized or will be upgraded via gentrification. Arlington already has a TON of room to redevelop for more high-end residential opportunities in the Ballston/Rosslyn and Crystal City/Pentagon City Corridors, as well as in the immediate Shirlington Village area. Why are we creating a fourth “yuppie haven?” Not all of us who can’t afford a $1,900/month pocket-sized 1-BR in Clarendon are “undesirables.”

    Some of us WANT to forgo luxury to live in an older apartment with limited amenities/features to live at an affordable price point. Those options are going to become slimmer and slimmer as South Arlington continues to gentrify, and who in their right mind would actually want to live in a congested car-centric place like Seven Corners?

    • South Arlington

      RestonRunner, your whining on this issue gets tiresome when we hear it 20 times. Are you really unaware of market conditions and supply and demand. Arlington is expensive for a lot of reasons including good schools, low crime, good entertainment options, lots of jobs, but no reason moreso than its proximity to the city. Columbia Pike is one of the more accessible areas to the city, I can make it to my office in Chinatown in under 10 minutes. So yes, Arlington is expensive but pursuing “affordable housing” by ignoring the free market and pushing zoning restrictions and rent subsidies will not solve anything (really the epitomy of socialist policy).

      As for your personal issues, have you even looked? Offhand I can think of Fillmore Gardens, Oakland Apartments, Dorchester Apartments, Monterey Apartments, Quebec Apartments, Dominion Towers and a bunch of low rise apartments in Penrose that would meet your price range. Instead of complaining about apartments catering to “yuppies”, which there seem to be ample numbers of to fill all of these “affluent” high rises (again, the free market at play), hit the pavement and find something that meets your needs and price range. I did 7 years ago when the Pike was a much less nice of a place while my friends lived in trendy Clarendon.

      • RestonRunner86

        I HAVE looked, South Arlington, and what I’m saying is that while those communities may NOW be within a respectable price point if the entirety of this gentrification is pushed through then how much do you want to bet all of those complexes will either go undergo massive renovations (and accompanying massive rent increases) to market themselves more competitively to the incoming influx of yuppies, downgrade themselves to “affordable housing restrictions”, OR be sold and torn down completely for new Clarendon-styled housing? You yourself admit to have lived along the Pike at a time when your friends lived in Clarendon. If the Pike is slated to become another Clarendon, then where will the next “Pike” be? That’s the point I’m trying to make here. Soon Arlington’s cost-of-living will be the equivalent of (or even more expensive than) The District’s, and I find that hard to fathom.

        Columbia Pike has traditionally been a great “foot-in-the-door” place for young professionals, such as yourself at one point, who are saddled with student loan debt, aren’t well-heeled, and who aren’t receiving checks from mommy and daddy to get their start in cheap surroundings. If that goes away, then what part of the county is left? That’s the point I’m trying to make. Once all of Arlington is “TriBeCa-ized”, then where do the rest of us go?

        • South Arlington

          I’d like to live in an oceanfront house in Maui and to drive a Ferrari, but the economic realities are that I can’t afford that. But I don’t go around complaining that civic policy isn’t creating an environment where I can get those things. The reality is that demand is outstripping supply for housing in Arlington because it is such a desirable location and place to live. When/if Columbia Pike becomes not “affordable”, you look elsewhere. In this case, you live further out: Van Dorn, Mark Center, Springfield, along the Silver Line, etc. That’s the way the market works, you buy/acquire what you can afford. The thing is, I saved for years and decided close-in Penrose was the place I wanted to live due to it’s proximity to the city, the neighborhood, and transit availability. I paid a premium for that and traded that off for much less square footage and a tiny yard. You can’t have everything handed to you on a silver platter, sometimes you have to save and wait and be patient to get the things you want.

          • RestonRunner86

            If those of you in Arlington are going to continue to encourage the middle-class who will soon be priced-out of most of Arlington County to move to the outer suburbs/exurbs so we’re out of your hair, then I hope you don’t complain when we’re all driving our CARS to and through Arlington, congesting your roads. The key to the “supply and demand” issue in Arlington is to continue to ease height restrictions and build vertically as high as possible to fit more people into less space. I’m not opposed to this along the Columbia Pike corridor; however, if every new complex is built to luxurious standards (i.e. The Crescent in East Falls Church with its $2,000/month rents for 1-BR units), then if all you’re doing is replacing 500 one-bedroom apartments renting for $1,200/month with 500 one-bedroom apartments renting for $1,700/month, then how does that really benefit the community other than boosting your home value?

            Telling us to “move to Springfield” is like a fate worse than death. I’ve been living in Reston a year-and-a-half now. This place is horrible—NIMBYs out the wazoo who are “railing” (pun intended) against the Silver Line and increased density, mostly chain restaurants and big-box stores, and an overall “fake” vibe with people wearing sunglasses and stelletos in grocery stores.

            How very convenient of you to dodge the fact that Columbia Pike was where YOU got YOUR first foot in the door in Arlington, but now you’re telling others hoping to do the same to take a hike so your property value can inflate. How would YOU have liked it if all of Arlington County had been gentrified when you were looking to move there, leaving you with a horrible place like Reston as your only affordable option? You got lucky. Be grateful for that. You rented before Arlington’s salary-to-rent ratio was as ludicrous as it is now becoming. You bought before the bubble and are now going to laugh all the way to the bank as the gentrification of the Pike causes your home value to explode. What about those of us who weren’t lucky enough to have been born at the right period of time? Continue to spout out all those complex names as much as you’d like. In reality you know I’m right that those rents, too, will surge in the coming years as they market proximity to the streetcar, undergo renovations, or are bought out and torn down for more modern (and steeper) housing.

            P.S. Many of the servers/cooks who deliver your favorite restaurant meals live in and around the Pike. Many of your transit drivers live in and around the Pike. Many of your children’s school teachers live in and around the Pike (I know of at least one). Many entry-level Federal workers live in and around the Pike (I know of at least two). Most, like me, earn just a hair too much for “affordable” housing but not nearly enough for the market rates that will likely become the norm here. Telling all of them “move to Springfield” or “move to Reston” must make you feel pretty good. Arlington, mark my words, is on a path towards only the rich and the poor.

          • South Arlington

            Yes, I got my foot in the door when Columbia Pike was more affordable. The salary-to-rent ratio was just as bad then, maybe worse, since most of that was at the very high point of the real estate market with hugely overblown values everywhere you look. And were I not able to afford it, I wouldn’t whine about things not being fair, I’d formulate a plan to better myself so that I could achieve what I want. If that means living in a small apartment in Mark Center or Van Dorn or Springfield, or as Anon pointed out, live in a group house for a while (and I lived my first year in Fairfax with a roommate as it was the only place a GS-5 could afford), then so be it. You scrimp and save and better yourself professionally to make a better life. And trust me, it was not fun saving what meager income I had so that I could make a better life for myself with homeownership. That doesn’t have much bearing on the fact that market factors make different areas more and less desirable over time. Yesterday, Clarendon was the ethnic, high crime area. Today it’s Columbia Pike that’s diverse and affordable. Tomorrow, it might be Nauck, Arlington Forest or Westover. You’ve railed against having development not centered around transit, and then rail on Springfield, which isn’t perfect or even great, but which has high density housing and shopping within walkable distance from the Metro at more affordable prices.

            The Streetcar will raise values, and it very well may raise rents on Columbia Pike, as it becomes a substantially more desirable area. I fail to see how it will raise rents for apartments along Four Mile Run that are low priced, or back on Carlin Springs, or the multitude of other affordable housing that are connected by ART or Metrobus to transit but aren’t in the gentrifying corridors.

            My intention is not to say “ship out all the poors” like you make it out to be, it’s that I worked hard and saved hard to get where I am. I didn’t complain that things weren’t fair, I worked to make things better. I also understand economic realities. If I lived in New York, I wouldn’t be able to afford Manhattan. It’s no one’s fault, its the market reality. If I lived in San Diego, I wouldn’t be able to live in La Jolla or Rancho Santa Fe. I won’t sit there and complain about the lack of affordable housing in La Jolla, it’s just the economic reality. For the long projectable future, I believe there will be affordable housing along Columbia Pike (it just takes a lot of time to completely remake a 5 mile corridor). When the time comes in 30 years when things aren’t affordable for everyone, as population continues to expand, it’s just a market reality that a small jurisdiction like Arlington County that is ideally located with strong schools, economy and Government would be expensive and might be beyond people’s means. It’s not criminal, it’s economics.

            As for your housing predicaments, I recommend Fillmore Gardens. Great complex, $1,075 for a clean, safe 1 BR a block from the main part of Columbia Pike as well as the 16 Metrobus lines/future streetcar line. It should give you a chance to enjoy the new restaurants, stores, and entertainment that gentrification will bring this formerly moribund area that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

          • RestonRunner86

            Thank you for the clarifications this time, South Arlington, and I’m sorry if I came off sounding snarky at all in my prior reply. I’m just frustrated because this metropolitan area, overall, just has so few well-planned suburban areas in comparison to its sheer size. I don’t want to move to Arlington because it’s “close to DC”, because it’s “trendy”, because I could get smashed and walk home, etc. I want to move there to prove to myself that I can live a much more ecologically-responsible lifestyle where I’ll retain my vehicle and drive it perhaps once per week instead of several times each day. I preach all the time about how people need to make better environmental decisions NOW to make Earth a better planet for our children and grandchildren, but I’m a hypocrite because I drive nearly everywhere. The problem with this region is that you have a quick drop-off between car-free and car-centric. TONS of people want the former in Fairfax County, but we’re just not getting it (yet rent prices in a place like Reston still START at $1,100/month for a 1-BR, which makes no sense to me, so go figure).

            I don’t mean to come off whiny. I’m just frustrated having grown up my entire life in a car-dependent ‘burb and then realizing my dream of living in a non-car-dependent ‘burb keeps being threatened. Hell, I work in the wasteland they call Tysons Corner and live in Reston, so I’ll have a good case of Arlington envy until I finally move there. We can’t keep developing this country as nothing but a giant Ashburn or Tysons Corner, but, sadly, that’s all that keeps happening. I just get very disillusioned. I think sometimes I’m in the wrong field (financial services) when my passion lies within planning.

        • anon

          RestonRunner86 – you still don’t address my point. Everyone I know paying their own way in the DC shares housing until their late 20s at the earliest. The only people I know who live on their own are in their late 20’s or early 30s – and many people in this age group still share apartments/houses. This is also true of my friends living in the Boston and NYC metro areas. If you want cheap housing don’t live in a major metropolitan area.

          • RestonRunner86

            It has nothing to do with living in a “large metro area.” I have friends or relatives in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, Atlanta, and many other large cities with populations higher than the District of Columbia (and with metropolitan populations not much smaller) who can comfortably afford a 1-BR apartment on a middle-class salary. Arlington isn’t Manhattan. Arlington isn’t L.A. Arlington isn’t even Boston for that matter. Arlington is a suburb of a city with a fraction of the nightlife and excitement that most of those other cities offer. Excuse me for not feeling like I’d get enough of a “bang-for-your-buck” factor to live in Arlington in a rooming house until I was 32, only to then “graduate” to the privacy of a 1-BR apartment. Arlington doesn’t really offer much more than Baltimore or Pittsburgh, yet someone earning the salary I do could live like a king in either place. Therein lies the ultimate question: Are those cities undervalued relative to salaries earned or is Arlington overvalued relative to median salaries earned? (I honestly don’t know, but I’m guessing it’s a mixture of both).

            Arlington is indeed the Malibu of Northern Virginia; however, when you consider the fact that most of the rest of NoVA is Beirut with its cul-de-sacs, parking lots, gridlock, McMansions, and other disgusting ailments that’s not saying much in comparison.

          • anon

            Arlington offers a hell of a lot more than Baltimore or Pittsburgh. I’m from a similar city and I know what opportunities are there. Arlington is 5 minutes away from Washington D.C. and all the high paying jobs the capital of the United States entails. I would make significantly less money in those two cities doing the exact same thing I do here. I would not have access to all the Smithsonian Museums, a public transportation system that means a car is not necessary, or one of the lowest unemployment rates in those cities. On a whole DC salaries are high compared to other major cities – why else do Arlington, Londoun County, etc. make the highest median income lists?

            Seriously, comparing D.C. to Pittsburgh? If you really think they are the same, you should probably just go get a job there and have your cheap rent.

            Arlington is basically DC (hell it was DC until it was ceded back) – but you don’t have to deal with the incompetency/taxes of DC. So it makes sense for it to cost about the same.

          • RestonRunner86

            I suppose my frustration is that my particular field doesn’t really have a salary “premium” that factors in the higher cost-of-living in Arlington/DC as compared to Baltimore or Pittsburgh the way yours apparently does. Also, I suppose “offerings” are in the eye of the beholder because I can rattle off Pittsburgh neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill and Shadyside that offer great schools, proximity to Downtown, parks, safety, unique central business districts, and are every bit as desirable as Arlington in terms of walkability/bikeability for a lower price-point. If I can make $50,000 in either city, then why should I pick, perhaps, an undesirable outer suburb like Reston over a hip urban neighborhood like Shadyside? I suppose that’s just the point I’ll never understand.

            P.S. There are cultural opportunities to be had in Pittsburgh. I have friends who live nearly car-free in Pittsburgh. I suppose I’m not quite seeing just how Arlington blows Pittsburgh out of the water unless all you really care about in life are jobs/cash. To those thinking “Don’t let the door…” I’ve begun to actively pursue relocation to Pittsburgh, a city where a middle-class professional could work to live instead of live to work.

          • anon

            Go out in D.C. more if you don’t see the difference! Not to knock Pittsburgh – I’m well aware of its trendy areas and culture – but D.C. is a very diverse area with tons of great, often free events. I’ve gotten to met famous artists, seen movies that wouldn’t screen in a smaller city like Pittsburgh, seen countless free concerts, met individuals from all over the world. You are in the nation’s capital – go see a case at SCOTUS, hang out when there is a protest happening, have a picnic by the memorials.

          • anon

            Also a huge advantage over Pittsburgh – a much bigger dating pool in D.C.

      • NPGMBR

        He is nowhere near whining. What he said is spot on. What the county wants to do is keep residents like he and myself that have the ability to buy but can’t do so in Arlington. I absolutely love Arlington but the area is quickly becomming unaffordable and I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with leaving Arlington for another location that I might not love for affordability.

    • anon

      You can pay nearly half your Reston rent and live in Arlington – along the metro even. Live in a group house. Share an apartment. Its what most other 24 year olds who pay their own way are doing. Instead of forgoing luxury, forgo privacy. If that’s really too much to ask – get a studio and forgo the luxury of space.

    • Arlingtonian

      I think less and less, percentage-wise are people wanted to live in Arlington simply because of its proximity to the District and more and more because it provides the lifestyle that many people want AND that is not being provided in sufficient quantities elsewhere – hence the high price. That lifestyle is one where your daily needs can be met nearby and with multiple options as to how to get there. Needs include job, food, entertainment, recreation, cultural and social outlets etc. If more places provided the lifestyle that more people are demanding nowadays, then Arlington would be more affordable and not be threatened with being overrun by only the wealthy yuppies.

      • RestonRunner86

        BINGO! I’m attracted to Arlington because I feel like a terrible person for having my vehicle chained to my hip 24/7 due to the poor planning in the outer suburbs. I live in what is supposedly the “most” walkable suburb here outside the Beltway, but this place definitely falls short. I just don’t understand why developers refuse to bring more dense, mixed-use, transit-oriented developments to the marketplace if THAT is obviously what most people seem to want.

    • anon

      http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/roo/1975986452.html

      See here ya go – $575 a month. Just found your affordable housing in seconds.

      • RestonRunner86

        …in a rooming house. Again, perhaps it just takes a special breed of person to consider Arlington desirable enough to want to live in a rooming house and forgo privacy, but for me as a young single guy a studio is a must. Could you imagine me bringing a date home and cuddling on the couch in the living room WITHOUT making things awkward or uncomfortable for a bunch of housemates in the process?

        • anon

          Uh, have you been living under a rock? What did you do when you dormed with people in college? Never date?

          There plenty of young single men like yourself living in group houses in Arlington.

          Seriously if you can’t put your arm around a girl when there is a chance another person might enter the room – put a tv in your bedroom. Again problem solved.

          • RestonRunner86

            Errmm…”a girl?” Therein lies the problem. Let’s just say I am of an alternative lifestyle that still isn’t very warmly accepted by much of the country. I know when an admittedly flamboyant date tried hugging me in the foyer of a restaurant in Reston Town Center we garnered dark glares from people whom I gave similarly rude scowls towards, and that is supposedly one of the more liberal parts of the area. My somewhat “insane” quest for the privacy of a studio/efficiency or 1-BR apartment is rooted in NOT wanting to subject a bunch of macho “bros” to being made to feel uncomfortable by that. I’m not tilting this thread onto a political slant, but the double-standard is still very much alive, even in this supposedly “progressive” area of straight guys thinking it’s okay to be affectionate with girlfriends in front of others but NOT for gay guys to do the same in their own presence. Until that happens I’m NOT running the risk of that sort of bigoted unpleasantness.

            P.S. I was lucky in that I went to college in my same small hometown. I lived with my parents, worked full-time, double-majored, and only really stayed home to sleep. They, being of the right-wing persuasion, and I, being left-wing, had (and continue to have) a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy about my life in general. It is what it is.

          • anon

            A girl group house would love you. Arlington is gay friendly; and for most people our age, being gay and showing a little PDA is a non-issue. I can see why you might not be comfortable though.

            Again do your research – there are small old buildings with cheap rent, but they go fast.

            http://ss-property.com/octvacancies.html

            In case you didn’t see it below.

          • RestonRunner86

            Yes. I saw the link you posted, and I’ve seen some of those units on CraigsList. Those are exactly what I desire, but as you said they DO seem to get snatched up VERY quickly. It’s not that I haven’t done my research, as I’ve seen that link before.

            It’s rare to find females who are willing to rent with ANY male—gay or straight—for whatever their rationale may be. A casual glance of many of the “Rooms/Shared” ads on CraigsList shows that most (not all) females specifically say, in bold, “FEMALES ONLY” within their ads (my guess would be fear of being physically overpowered). That leaves gay males to worry about unintentionally offending straight males as roomies or fighting over the select few gender-neutral females. I’m actually a “butch” type myself who tries to keep his orientation clandestine, but I seem to attract the more…errmm…”effeminate” types to me for that “straight-acting” persona of mine, so that can often take some adjustment for others. Since I grew up in a relatively homophobic small town it’s been difficult for me to believe that such a relationship wouldn’t cause problems for those living together in close quarters. I’m certainly NOT opposed to getting a roommate, but it’s just this fear I have of things not going well in that regard that has given me that strong preference for privacy.

            A “bro” feels free to make out with his chick on the couch in front of his buds, but if his gay roomie so much as held hands with his partner it would be “uncomfortable.” I just hate the double-standard, but I digress. My desire to minimize those sorts of conflicts is why I wanted to live in a rooming house as a final resort.

          • anon

            Completely understand why its harder to find a group living situation you are comfortable with. I do have friends like you that do it though. Maybe a friend you know in the same situation? However, honestly, it might be easier to find one in DC.

            There also tend to be a fair amount of basement apts for rent back in Arlington neighborhoods and only kitchen areas are shared – that could be another option. Or an efficiency – those are about the same rent as a Reston 1 bedroom.

          • outsince80

            Oh I get it now. You are your own worst enemy reston. I have lived a PROUD OUT life since 1980. I have always lived where ever I wanted with roommates. Several of them until my mid 30’s. Maybe you should just accept who you are, where ever you are and quit gripping about affordable housing when your actual problem is that you are too shy to be gay.

    • JamesE

      Is one automatically a yuppie if they can afford their own condo/apartment in Arlington?

      • anon

        Yes.

      • G

        I bought a 1 BR condo in South Arlington back in the summer of ’09. After taking out an FHA loan, getting the seller to pay my closing costs and getting the $8k tax credit I actually made a profit off the purchase. Now my monthly payments including everything are over $150 cheaper than the going rental rate in my complex, and cheaper than what I was paying for a basement apartment in Ballston before I bought, not to mention the tax benefits. So in this case, I’m paying less than I would be paying if I were renting a 1 BR condo. I wouldn’t call myself a “yuppie”, just smart.

  • YTK

    The Pike has become just another polluted outpost with yuppie strip malls and tons of car/bus/truck exhaust —
    What USED to be a nice place to go for a stroll is now just a busy thoroughfare where people who zip by in their stenching cars could care LESS about what goes on around them.

  • Mothership

    What we wanted in the plan was places to own. So far there have been zero ownership opportunities as a result of redevelopment. So even though it’s more upscale, the “new” Pike is still the province of absentee landlords.

    • Frenchy B

      Well, you can thank the real estate bubble for that. The Halstead, Penrose Square, and 55 Hundred were all originally planned as condominiums – then the market collapsed. I suspect one or more of these apartment complexes will convert to condos once the market improves (though that could be a long way off).

  • Katie

    Go for a stroll? Now it’s “polluted”? When was it not a busy thoroughfare–1900? I’ve lived nearby for two years–and trust me, NO ONE ‘went for a stroll’ before the arrival of Lost Dog, PBrennans, the Halstead, Twisted Vines, etc. Now you see people out and about, finally. Still, it has a long way to go. How about those homeless we’re seeing in front of Rite Aid now and hanging out at the bus stop? One man walked by me and said something I won’t repeat here–but it’s not what you want to hear about your anatomy at 8:30 am or any other time, trust me.

    Arlington Housing Commission has a lot of nice, affordable housing in the area for low and moderate income families. I see no reason that can’t continue.

    Sure, the “yuppie” apartments are a bit much right now–and I’d like to see more low-rise developments/garden apartments–but really, it’s a great location with a lot of potential. You can’t stop progress.

  • RJ

    I’m tired of “gentrification” being used like a bad word. Is it better for all of us to live in crime-ridden slums? I wonder if 100 years ago if people eschewed the electrification of homes and businesses? How about indoor plumbing 150 years ago? No apologies should be made for improving quality of life. And before someone goes on and on about how the existing residents will be displaced, does anybody focus on the idea that this construction will create JOBS which also help people improve their quality of life?

    • RestonRunner86

      Why is it ONLY a case of “gentrification” (i.e. Clarendon) or “crime-ridden slums?” Why can’t there be middle-ground? I would NOT call Columbia Pike a “crime-ridden slum”. It’s very much a happy medium right now—aging garden apartment communities priced at a comfortable point for young families and professionals alike. There are plenty of great mom-and-pop ethnic eateries and points of interest. Just because one place is a bit more “brown” than another or just beacuse the vehicle of choice is a Honda Civic instead of a BMW doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a “slum.” Relegating everyone who doesn’t earn $75,000+ to Fairfax County’s boonies is counter-productive to a metropolitan area at-large that is America’s poster child for urban sprawl stemming from housing unaffordability. Even in NYC those who can’t afford Manhattan (or increasingly much of Brooklyn) can STILL afford Queens, which is a heck of a lot better than Fairfax County. Those who can’t afford Hoboken, NJ can get Bayonne, NJ. Those who can’t afford Arlington (walkability) get Fairfax County (suburban slum). It just doesn’t seem logical.

  • RJ

    Oh, and I wonder which way the author of this article and poll is leaning? Nice, objective reporting.

  • Black Flag

    Arlington, do we need anymore yuppie scum? We already have enough. Do we need another Cheesecake Factory or Starbucks?

    • Katie

      Err, you obviously don’t notice the people waiting to get in to Cheesecake Factory; they’re pretty much the opposite of yuppie…

      • JamesE

        Any true yuppie goes to the Tysons Corner location.

        • Katie

          No brown-flip-flop wearers would be seen dead in a Cheesecake Bloody Factory, don’t you get it?!

          • JamesE

            I don’t know I never go there, but I also haven’t worn my flip flops in at least a month now.

  • Jorge

    These metrosexuals and their Starbucks yet wont’ pick up their pups’ poop…Arlington once was home for decency for decent people.
    Now we got these spoiled wasps in their little BMWs living in rental luxyry apartments. That’s ghetto!!!
    I own…drive a Mustang and have a motorcycle…
    Stop living off your credit cards! Stop ruining people’s lives in the community because you went to an ivy league school and you want to bore the neighborhood to death with Dave Mathews songs!!
    Another pickey bar opens up on every other block, and all that does is bring white guys starting up fights.
    This is not Boston!!!

    • JamesE

      Nothing says young professional like a 328i.

    • ballston

      Jorge- let me guess. You are a registered republican and you also are a card carrying member of the NRA?

      Stop being bitter b/c ppl have money. There will always be someone that has nicer stuff. Its just stuff.

      • South Arlington

        The thing that confuses me is that the usual posters that rail on the “liberal” county board, support the tea party, are anti-immigrant, etc. are usually the ones demanding we maintain “affordable housing” and “diversity” through price controls, zoning regulations and civic policy. That sounds a lot more socialist than it does free market capitalism.

      • Jorge

        I’m not with the NRA nor vote Republican. But I do have pretty good amount of cash. The difference is that I don’t go around pretending to have it. What I don’t like is BMW drivers pretending to have money, yuppies clogging up traffic outside the starbucks that drives the mom and pop places out of the market, walking around their dogs and don’t clean up after them, yet complain about the music.
        Chevy’s is not Mexican…Abi’s is Salvadorean-Mexican. Mexicali Blues is overpriced because they know yuppie wasps are too afraid to go to the authentic mom and pop restaurants on Columbia Pike.

        • stevis

          “yuppies clogging up traffic outside the starbucks that drives the mom and pop places out of the market”

          Apparently you misunderstand the word “market.” If the demand is for Starbucks, that’s what the market will supply.

          And I’m a professional, with a family, who just bought near the Pike and can’t wait to try the authentic places.

          Maybe instead of the vitriolic stereotyping, you could recommend to me (and others) your faves?

          • Jorge

            Try Abi’s located on Columbia Pike, right behind the 7-11 facing the Mcdonalds.
            Atlacatl is also on Columbia Pike, pink building just passed Glebe Road.
            El Pike on Columbia and George Mason drive, Bolivian food, lots of meat, pork, try parrillada on the weekend.

            There’s nothing authentic or original about the cheesecake factory. Besides, these yuppies don’t even have table manners, and they claim to be sophisticated. I’ve seen rats in DC be more sophisticated then these useless yuppies, the rats know where the best food is at, and they definitely stay out of China Town!!:)

          • South Arlington

            Jorge, I don’t think anyone has ever claimed Cheesecake Factory is providing authentic fare. I think what Katie said earlier is spot-on. Most of the yuppies you so decry wouldn’t be caught dead at Cheesecake Factory. Most of the people dining there are from the outer suburbs having their “big night in the city” followed up by a mediocre time at Clarendon Ballroom.

            I also recommend Maruko for quality, low-priced sushi. Skip El Pollo Rey, their chicken is dry and far inferior to El Pollo Rico or the sadly departed El Pollito. Manee Thai is sadly overshadowed by Bangkok 54 and Thai Square (both excellent) and provides interesting decor, good priced food and flavorful Thai specialty dishes.

          • Bringmetheyuppies

            I would gladly burn all mentioned crap holes on the pike for the small price of ONE starbucks. I have lived off the pike for 6 years. I wouldn’t walk into any of the restaurants you just mentioned based on appearance alone. We bought a dump to totally rebuild with the knowledge that someday all these mom and pop roach fests would get cleared out of here. P brennans was a let down but I still go a couple of times a month just to support them. Viva la Giant, all 50,000 sf of it to star the revolution. oh and get rid of all county backed housing of any kind. If you can’t afford it don’t live here.

    • Tater_Salad

      I love it!

  • Black Flag

    Right on!!!

    Arlington once was a home for decency for decent people. Now, we are losing our flavor! We will lose our international mix of people, from all over the world. Soon, S. Arlington will look like Clarendon! Just another Starbuck drinking, Cheesecake Factory eating, brown flip flop wearing, yuppie sh*thole!!

    • Katie

      You may want to ask the Ethiopian developers about Axum Village before making such a grand statement.

      • Frenchy B

        Well put!

  • Mark

    crime? seriously? this is Arlington we’re talking about…

  • RJ

    It’s amazing to me that some people are willing to group a whole “class” of citizens and call them scum or claim they turn an area into a “sh*thole!!” If it’s not acceptable to assign those pejorative lables to whole populations of poor people, ethnic minorities, religious groups, GLBT people – why is it ok to do it to “rich, white yuppies???” Practice what you preach.

    And if you don’t like Starbucks or Cheescake Factory (I don’t), then don’t patronize them (I don’t). But respect the fact that they are there to serve a demand in the market. If nobody wanted overpriced coffee or oversized entrees, they would close up shop.

    • Rob

      The people who frequent the Cheesecake Factory are the not the so-called yuppies. CF is there as a draw from the real suburbs who come to Clarendon for an evening out. The Clarendon locals do not go there.

  • Lola

    I’ve lived in Arlington since 1992, in both North and South Arlington. Those who think the Pike was an idyllic, non-traffic-congested walking oasis before the so-called “gentrification” are insane. No one ever went there, except to hit the Drafthouse on occasion. There was a handful of nice stores, but aside from that, nothing great. The Giant sucked, the Safeway was worse. What’s wrong with letting the people who bought there in the past few years get a few nicer restaurants? I think it’s great. You who complain about the gentrification are probably the same people who whined that Trader Joe’s won’t be coming to your area.

    • RestonRunner86

      No. What I in particular am asking is why “gentrification” = “yuppification?” Why can’t we clean up and revitalize neighborhoods WITHOUT making them playgrounds for the rich? Why can’t we have ATTRACTIVE and WORKING neighborhoods that have a place for everyone? Why do Giants and Safeways have to make way for Whole Foods? Why do mom-and-pop Asian restaurants have to be cleared for P.F. Chang’s? Why do perfectly fine mid-priced garden-styled apartments have to be torn down put up a high-rise with the same number of units—only more expensive? Eventually, as I said, Arlington won’t have any working-class or middle-class neighborhoods—just rich and poor.

      • Arlingtonian

        As soon as it becomes an attractive place to live, those that can (the rich) outbid all others in order to live there. In order to be a non-rich in an attractive area, you need to have been a “risk-taker” – that is someone who invested before the place improved. There are still a few places (or at least one) like that in Arlington. My statement applies to those living arrangements that are in short supply relative to demand. This primarily includes nice, walkable, urban areas. This is because these types of living arrangements were not being created for the previous 50 years and instead lots of cheaply-constructed garages with attached houses on cul-de-sacs were being flung all over the hinterand. If you want a cul-de-sac house that is not near anything in particular, you can get one really cheap in just about any county in the United States these days.

  • RestonRunner86

    Well I’ll just make a general comment then that this thread, if nothing else, should serve as an eye-opener to the county’s officials that this issue may not be as “cut-and-dry” as they thought when 50% want to turn the Pike into Clarendon while the other 50% want to keep Columbia Pike a neighborhood where people from all walks of life could find a happy medium. I have a feeling the county probably thought the prevailing sentiments would have tilted heavily in favor of gentrification instead of being a dead-heat.

    I suppose my main inquiry is why does EVERY new project HAVE to be “luxury?” I’m perfectly content living in a garden-style apartment with formica countertops, no dishwasher, coin-operated laundry, etc. in exchange for an affordable (non-subsidized price). Why does EVERY project HAVE to have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, skylights, intercom systems, garden soaking tubs with built-in jets, etc., all of which drive up rental prices? As I said you’ll eventually have a Pike area with 1-BR apartments that are either subsidized or luxuriously-priced. The era of “slummin in” to get by at a happy medium will be gone, and I can’t believe nobody thinks that’s an issue.

    I know: “The market wants Starbuck’s, Cheesecake Factory, Smart Phones, luxury…yada, yada, yada…so shut up”. I’m not spiteful towards people who have great levels of discretionary income. I’m just irked that their answer to people like us who are caught in the middle is “Oh well. You’re the casualty of progress, so out of the way of our Dean & DeLuca and our Pottery Barn.” The mayor of DC just lost his bid for re-election, in part, because residents east of the Anacostia River were sending a message that they are opposed to gentrification pushing them out. Like it or not everyone is NOT cut out for college. We NEED bus drivers, train operators, servers, cooks, cleaning personnel, sanitation workers, etc., etc. It’s a shame when none of these people can afford to live in the same community as they work.

    • South Arlington

      It might be that you aren’t being taken seriously preaching about the need for “happy medium” housing when the thesis of your argument is based on the idea that you deserve and are entitled to an affordable 1 BR apartment all to yourself in one of the most desirable places to live in the region. Especially when you then reject the horror of having to have a roommate or live in a group house, despite the fact that I’d guess 80% of Arlington residents between the ages of 22-27 do not have their own place (I actually think 80% is low). In this region, having your own place is a luxury in and of itself. It’s just not an economic reality that entry level workers in Arlington (mainly North Arlington) can get their own place. I had a roommate, and so have most young professionals in the area. When this great demand for middle-level housing arises once your doomsday scenario of only the rich being able to live in Arlington happens, some developer will step in and build mid-level housing at mid-level prices to meet that demand. It’s how the market works. It just so happens that right now, the demand is for luxury (and the financing from banks for the developers is for luxury). There is also a huge number of affordable apartments currently on Columbia Pike that all have for lease signs in front of them. Besides the Halstead and Siena Park, there isn’t much in the ways of high end rental apartments in the corridor, hence the new construction in those categories.

      • Katie

        Exactly. I see that Jorge, after giving helpful tips re: places to eat, had to throw in more attacks against “yuppies”–which is such an outdated term, it makes me wonder what he REALLY means by that…

    • anon

      By the way – you should know there are other places to live besides big buildings in Arlington that are very affordable.

      http://ss-property.com/octvacancies.html

      Here’s your affordable one bedroom blocks from the Orange line. They exist. You just have to took around. This company has a bunch of apartments, usually there are vacancies.

      • Clarendude

        Those two listed in Clarendon are great locations. Only I rarely see moving vans and know many of the residents lived there >10 years. In other words, not much turnover for new-comers.

  • RJ

    I think one thing people forget is that new construction is expensive, regardless of whether granite countertops etc. are put in. Land prices, labor and materials are all expensive. The only way it makes economic sense to justify new construction is to put in higher-end finishes to get a higher price in the market. And before anybody goes on about “rich developers,” sucking people dry, I can tell you first-hand that many of those same developers are currently taking it in the shorts because the market does not currently support the cost of new construction. So, they are underwater on the stuff they started building just a year or two ago. Live by the market, die by the market – that’s how it goes, but over time that market-based system has produced the most rapid progress in human history.

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