Cherrydale Condo Development Converted to Rentals

by ARLnow.com September 29, 2011 at 9:49 am 8,198 42 Comments

The Bromptons at Cherrydale condominium development — a.k.a. 3800 Lofts — is now being marketed as rental apartments.

The move comes about two months after another Arlington condo project, The Myerton, was converted to rentals. Local Realtor Laura Rubinchuk says that the history of the Bromptons project — construction was stopped after the building was declared structurally unsound in 2006 — probably came back to haunt it.

“Slow sales for the Myerton definitely played a part in their decision to convert back to rentals,” she said. “But I think the 3800 Lofts are always going to carry the past with it — buyers are going to be nervous about investing in something that was once on unstable ground, regardless of County clearance and any actions taken to remedy the situation.”

Rubinchuck contends that the Arlington condominium market is “on the mend,” and that The Myerton and 3800 Lofts both represent conditions that were building-unique, not market-wide.

For interested renters, 3800 Lofts is offering 22 large 1- and 2-bedroom apartments with stainless steel appliances and 9-foot loft ceilings. The building is located at 3800 Lee Highway in Cherrydale.

  • charlie

    both of these projects failed as “for sale” units because they are simply bad projects and overpriced.
    A bad project can sell out if it is priced right. 3800 Lofts were priced as if they were on top of the Clarendon Metro and every unit came with brown flip flops.
    Same with the Myerton it just was over priced for the subpar neighborhood and the new DHS across the street.
    otherwise the condo market is fine. except for stupid conversions that only made sense when the market was overheated and people were desperate.

    • Southeast Ben


    • CW

      Well-spoken, Charlie. There’s nothing wrong with the condo market except that prices were too high, especially for what they’re selling.

      Of course the irony is that, with the state of the rental market, they will probably end up making more money this way than if the condos had sold out.

      • charlie

        yep. and that is why Dittmar is thrilled to get their project started. rental rates in Arlington are thru the roof.

    • Zoning Victim

      Aren’t all condos overpriced these days? Even in Crystal City, where prices fell sharply, the cost of a condo is ridiculous when compared to the per sq. ft. price of a house.

  • LP

    Another Ed Peete failure!

    • Steamboat Willie

      The saga continues. Ed Peete’s popularity in Cherrydale ranks just behind Hurricane Irene’s and Verizon’s Customer Service.

  • GreaterClarendon

    At least it is a relatively attractive building for the area, and if we’re lucky, we can get another mattress retail store underneath it. But seriously, this is an area that will likely be developed over the next 20 years and people will remember when it was kind of trashy – much like current Clarendon. Granted, it all falls apart when the feds stop spending so much money – but it looks like that day may never happen.

    • Schmex_dc

      Why settle for a matress store when you can have a tanning salon?

  • Mr. Mister

    I heard this happened to some new would-be condos on Columbia Pike too. Seems to be a trend.

    • NPGMBR

      Exactly, the Halstead and Sienna Park were supposed to be Condos. Not sure about Penrose Square.

      • Lou

        This goes way back, but if I am not mistaken the large residential tower that was part of the three-building development in Ballston for Arlington Gateway and the Westin was also approved as condos and switched to rentals during construction.

        • charlie

          The Continential? It was the fastest selling condo in the history of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market. That project sold over 200 units in a matter of days, if that.

          • Lou

            Hmm, maybe I had it backwards then.

      • charlie

        speaking of gaming the County process….
        since most of the “Arlington Way” people are “owners” the developers routinely, if not always, promise that a project will be “condo” to gain approval.
        When in fact they have on intention of doing that.
        If the Halstead were proposed as a rental, it would not have received favorable review because we all know that no one wants a “rental” building in their backyard.
        So while it may have been proposed as condo, it wasn’t.

        • Burger

          No way. Most developers do not want to be landlords. They want to build it and get out. They don’t want to deal with tenants.

          • charlie

            no. there are developers who do condos and there are developers who do apartments and there are developers who will do whatever they can sell (either one by one or the whole building).
            the RB Corridor is ruled by Archstone — some of which they built and some of which they bought. Dittmar has built and kepts most of their buildings (not all, most).

          • Developed

            I’m surprised CW hasn’t piped in about how fabulous Dittmar management is.

  • These “lofts” aren’t

    “Walking distance to Metro”? That’s a bit of a stretch.

    • Aaron

      Google Maps shows the shortest route to VA Square Metro is 1.2 miles, approximately a 20-25 minute walk.

      I think every real estate listing for homes along Hwy 50 between Washington Blvd. and Glebe claims to be within walking distance of Clarendon, Virginia Square, or Ballston and those distances can easily be closer to 1.5 miles.

      That’s not walking distance in terms of a twice-daily commute, but if your perspective is going downtown once a week or once a month for a binge-drinking session or to frolic with the tourists on the Mall, then yes, you might reasonably consider that distance readily walkable.

      • John

        Not 1.5 miles. Closer to 3/4 mile at most. And the metro station neighborhood maps draw those concentric circles at quarter mile increments. A 3/4 mile walk is a brisk 15 minutes. Not bad at all. Many commuters walk up to a roughly 3/4 mile to the Metro stations, and it’s not a big deal.

        • The Internet is Your Friend

          Google maps says 1.2 miles.

          • John

            I was referring to Aaron’s comment on real estate listings for neighborhoods near the orange line.

      • Newt

        But Arlington County public schools considers 1.5 miles walking distance for 6th graders and up.

        I’ve never considered that reasonable, particularly when it involves dangerous intersections. Most kids outside .7 miles or so end up being driven to school, so the policy effectively encourages automobile use.

  • Veeta

    I’m curious what people consider walking distance. I consider 25 minutes (less than 1.5 miles) walking distance, but I realize that I am probably in the minority.

    • Carmen Turner

      Considering you may have to wait 25 minutes for a train, adding another 25 minutes for the walk to the station plus however long the train ride itself is, makes it not exactly convenient.

      • Josh S

        Are the headways ever 25 minutes? Maybe Sunday night?

        I think I’ve said this before but one of the beauties of the Smartcard is that you can go online and view your usage, which includes time entering the station and time exiting. I commute via the Orange line. My travel times are remarkably consistent and surprisingly short. Of course I’m only going downtown. If you’re going to suburban Maryland that’s gonna make it a long ride.

        All that being said I think for planning purposes and truth in advertising purposes, you’d have to limit “walking distance” to more like 15 minutes.

        • Rosslyn resident

          I live 10 minutes from the Metro and I consider myself on the edge of walkability (although to be fair, part of this walk is uphill and crosses some major roads). My typical experience has been that on weekends, waiting for the Metro is hardly ever under 5 minutes, with 10 probably being the typical. 15 to 20 in the worst cases. 25 is definitely an exaggeration, but I would not want to walk 25 minutes to the Metro and run the chance of having to wait another 20 minutes.

          Bus lines I think are surprisingly convenient. I’ve heard they’re terrible from longtime DMV residents but in my personal experience they’ve been more reliable than the Metrorail. I could probably be sold on a place 25 minutes from the Metro if there were assurances of regular and quick bus service.

          • Veeta

            That is absolutely correct. I live 25 minutes from the metro, but I have several convenient bus lines to choose from, plus on a nice day when I don’t bike, I can take a 45 minute leisurely walk to work.
            Now that there is next bus, there is no reason to be a snob about buses–I find them far more pleasant than the metro.

          • Vinh An Nguyen

            I love the Circulator from Rosslyn to Dupont Circle via Georgetown.

    • JamesE

      5 blocks

  • Chris

    I used to live near this building, and it was abandoned, half-constructed for a couple of years. The white plastic construction lining sheets were blowing in the wind, exposing the walls’ pressed wood to the elements. There were also numerous birds living in the structure, which didn’t have doors or all of its windows. It was all very filthy and depressing.

    It is definitely NOT within regular walking distance of the metro, but there’s ready busy service to Rosslyn. In fact, that section of Lee Hwy is busy and this building will be rocked by Metro buses (and fire engines from the station nearby) all day and night. Enjoy!

    • Steamboat Willie

      The fire station has moved a quarter mile west on Old Dominion, but otherwise, you’re right about this Ed Peete disaster.

      • NorthArlingTim

        I’ve been driving by that site for years. I also saw this building in the terrible conditions Chris describes. I kinda figured the fire house was just waiting for the homeless to burn it down so they could expand …

    • John

      I personally wouldn’t mind the walk down Quincy to the Metro which is just over a mile, but there are multiple convenient ART and Metrobus lines to the Ballston and Rosslyn Metro stations.

  • chrisarlington

    Any idea what is being built on the land where the mysterious erstwhile bank building (?) sat empty for years, across Monroe from Safeway?

    • charlie

      and shockingly, they were supposed to be apartments.

  • MC

    This failed as a condo because of strict lending rules prevent new buyers from qualifying for loans. But the implied price per unit based on projected rental income is high enough. It doesn’t mean the underlying assessed value of the building is weak. Just means your typical renter can’t qualify to buy it these days.

  • RN

    My sense is that this project wasn’t marketed as condos very aggressively, and that may have contributed to its now being converted to rental. Not to mention, of course, that it was derelict for a very, very long time (although I would think/hope that the developer took steps to address any mold, rot and other issues that developed during that time).

    I agree with others that it’s not convenient to a metro. Perhaps a nice walk on a nice day, but on a typical summer’s day? I think not. Even as a rental, it doesn’t strike me as very desirable. Given the 9 foot ceilings and supposedly high-end finishes, I rather doubt that the rents are going to be any more affordable than they are in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. I suppose it’s an easy shot onto 66W, but that’s true of many Ballston apartments, too.

  • TGEoA

    Bus stop is right next to this place and it’s a 5 min ride to Rosslyn. And some of the rush hour buses drop off at K st.

  • chihuahua

    You are all wrong – the building had an opening one week, with one sales agent, pretending to sell. The next week, there was someone occupying one of the units already, before their supposed condo docs arrived. Coincidentally, when sales were cancelled, they had over 50% of the units spoken for. Something very fishy occured. Why has one person been living there the last two months?

  • david

    Good article, and I agree with the first comment. The issue was with the developments. Myerton was over-priced and OLD (new paint doesn’t make it new). I can’t wait for Dominion Heights, 66 units, Gold LEEDS bldg, first floor retail, views, etc. Being developed by Christopher Companies (the sign said) and sold by McWilliams/Ballard.


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