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Rosslyn Apartment Complex to Open Next Year

by ARLnow.com May 4, 2012 at 10:45 am 6,703 172 Comments


The massive new 474-unit Sedona and Slate apartment complex on the 1500 block of Clarendon Boulevard in Rosslyn is set to open to residents “early next year,” according to developer JBG.

The complex, which suffered a construction setback last year due to a retaining wall collapse, consists of two residential towers: one 14-stories and the other 12-stories. Of the 474 units, 55 are expected to be affordable. Another 25 townhouses will be added to the project “at a later date.”

In a press release, Bethesda-based JBG announced that they’re “on track” to achieve Arlington’s first LEED Gold green building certification for a residential development.

“It is clear to us that people want to live and work in healthful environments that improve their quality of life on a round-the-clock basis,” said Eileen Nacev, Director of Sustainability at JBG, in a statement. “Arlington County encouraged us in this direction, and we believe it is the right one to follow.”

The anticipated LEED Gold certification is the result of incorporating numerous eco-friendly features in the project. From the press release:

JBG is expected to be awarded the Gold standard for meeting a variety of criteria for sustainability, including its use of wind power renewable energy credits, for being smoke-free, bicycle friendly, close to transit and within walking distance of numerous neighborhood restaurants and shops. JBG is building Sedona|Slate with high-efficiency water fixtures, programmable thermostats, low-VOC paints and adhesives, light-colored roofing materials to improve micro-climate conditions and ENERGY STAR® appliances. Residents will also enjoy preferred garage parking for their hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles.

In addition to the residential space, the complex will include a landscaped park and 10,000 square feet of retail, including an outdoor café. For residents, there will be a rooftop pool, a sundeck, a fitness center, a social room, and garage parking for 427 vehicles.

  • novasteve

    Nothing makes me prouder than having my tax money used to subsidize people to live in a building that I wouldn’t even want to pay that much money for. Thanks for giving me this privilege!

    Thanks again!

    • ryan

      +1 steve. i couldn’t agree more

    • drax

      “Affordable” doesn’t necessarily mean subsidized. It could just mean small.

    • nauckneighor

      Where exactly in this article did it say that any tax funds were used for this project. There is NO subsidy involved with these 55 affordable units.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Of course there is – “affordable” means they aren’t going to rent those at the market rate. Who do you think makes up the difference?

        • drax

          Affordable may simply mean they are smaller and more modest than the rest, dude. You know, affordable.

        • nauckneighor

          The owner is bearing the cost for providing these units, which they offered as part of the project. Again, no subsidy is being provided.

          • nom de guerre

            You are correct regarding a “subsidy.” But this illustrates a contributing factor to the high rental costs-the other residents’ rents are increased to make up for the affordable units.

          • drax

            Not necessarily – if there are more units allowed, that would make up for the lost revenue, not rent increases. More units generally bring rents down.

          • Josh S


            Will the market-rate units go unrented because the rent is too high?


          • Quoth the Raven

            Is that a requirement for building in Arlington? I can’t imagine the owners are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I just assumed there would be some sort of tax break or other relief provided to the owner as a result of providing affordable apartments.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            I belive that in exchange for having the affordable units the county allows the developer to add additional density to the project. This is generally seen as a win win. The county gets affordable housing, and the developer gets to add more units to the project.

          • drax

            “I just assumed”

            Happens alot around here.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I had a reply already, but it got moderated out for some reason. I don’t understand that.

            I made an assumption, admitted that I made one, and was corrected. As a result, I learned something I didn’t know before. Isn’t that sort of how things are supposed to work?

          • drax

            Yes. Not bashing you at all, Quoth. I just assume sometimes too.

          • Swag

            It’s basically extortion by the county. They like to give developers a “Do all this or we won’t let you build” list which always includes “affordable” housing (or just paying the County X million dollars for it’s affordable housing fund).

          • Josh S

            Is the requirement to install a sprinkler system “extortion?”

            What’s the difference, exactly, between requiring a sprinkler system and asking for affordable units in order to get density above what the property is zoned for?

          • CarlJr

            The difference is that the sprinkler system requirements are defined by NFPA 13 and 101. The affordable housing requirements are not.

          • drax

            No, Swag. The county usually can’t forbid a developer from building. What it does is allows the developer to exceed the limits in exchange for doing something. In this case, it seems the developer got additional units, beyond the number allowed without county approval, in exchange for throwing some affordable ones into the mix.

            And that’s a good deal for everyone.

          • Bandersnatch

            No- it’s more like “Do all of this or we won’t let you build any more than is permitted by the zoning. If you do things that we want to encourage (e.g. affordable housing) you can maximize the space with greater density… annnd everybody wins”

        • KalashniKEV

          Everything is affordable… if you can afford it.

          “Affordable Housing” is still an immoral practice whether you’re reaching into your neighbor’s pocket or every resident of Arlington is pitching in for your unduly decadent lifestyle.

          • brif

            do you think “affordable housing” is more, less, or just as immoral as home mortgage interest deduction?

          • John Fontain

            I’ll go with less immoral (i.e., the mortage interest deduction is more immoral). And I’m one who benefits from the deduction.

          • brif

            Are there any tax credits/deductions that are moral?

          • John Fontain

            brif, i don’t know. and sorry to jump into your convo with KEV. I’ll let him respond.

          • brif

            I’m just trying to understand why a subsidy/credit/deduction would be considered immoral.

          • drax

            You take an immoral deduction, John?

            There’s nothing stopping you from simply declining to take it on your tax return. So doing so voluntarily is an immoral act on your part, isn’t it?

          • KalashniKEV

            I disagree with John. Taxation at the rates we have grown accustomed to is Theft, and the greater Evil itself. Anything you can do to mitigate that is inherently Good.

          • Josh S

            I submit that the objections based on “morality” are actually objections based on selfishness.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      Do you have any kids? If so, then you should thank me for subsidizing their education with my tax money.

    • MsBri

      You fool, how selfish of you. What they are doing is simply giving hard working people the chance to live in a nice home. People will still have to qualify as they would anywhere else; income, criminal history, credit and rental history are still factors. If people have worked hard to keep those things in tact, they should have the opportunity to live in a nice place. Some jobs pay more than others, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t work just as hard, if not harder. Grow Up!

  • CW

    I cannot even begin to imagine what units will be going for.

    Though I am curious as to if the rental market might have finally begun to cool by them.

    • JamesE

      and little to no balconies!

      • No Grilling

        “and little to no balconies!”

        You can’t grill on them so who needs them ???

        • nom de guerre

          You can grill on a balcony if you utilize an “electric grill”, which I believe qualifies as an oxymoron.

  • JohnB2

    427 spots for 474 units? It’s bad enough in my building where most units only have one spot. Even with the car-free diet type initiatives, having less than one spot per unit is a design flaw, IMO.

    • novasteve

      Maybe the subsidized ones will be forced to be car free? After all, if they need my tax money to be able to afford to live there, maybe they can sacrifice the car?

      • Tax Payer

        I want to know who verifies the tenants aren’t driving new(er) BMW’s, Audis and Escalades. Bring on the nasty comments but I’ve seen plenty of people car poor and living in a dump for it.

        • Thes

          Census figures show that there are about 10,000 Arlington households that don’t own a car. Perhaps 47 of them will desire to live in this building.

          • Tax Payer

            That doesn’t answer the question. If you are eligible to live in Affordable Housing, who verifies that you are spending what money you do have in a prudent and responsible way?

          • Spending Police

            We do. And by the way you paid far too much for that latte this morning. stick to macdonalds in future. Thankyou,

          • Another Taxpayer

            If you’re spending my money, I have a right to question how you spend it.

          • English Police

            You spelled “macdonalds” and thankyou wrong.

            BTW, I prefer to brew my own, regular coffee at home in the morning.

          • MacTavish

            We Scots get our coffee at MacDonalds. We’re frugal.

          • South Awwlington

            4.5% huh. You would think the impacts of the Carfree/Carlite diet marketing would be greater…just sayin.

          • Thes

            It is actually an interesting data question. I don’t think anyone is really sure whether car ownership rates in Arlington have risen or fallen as a result of Arlington’s relatively small “car free diet” program.

            In 2000 the census “long form” asked one in 8 Arlington households how many cars they had, which provided very detailed data about ownership rates correlated with all sorts of things including income, household size, etc. Unfortunately, the 2010 census did not use the long form, and so there is now less information about how many and what kinds of Arlingtonians own cars. (Some information is available from the Census’ American Community Survey, but the data is not as precise.)

            In the United States, generally, higher income correlates to higher rates of auto ownership (in other words people who don’t *need* a car but *want* a car are more likely to own one if their income is higher). Average incomes in Arlington have risen dramatically in the last 10 years. So we should expect auto ownership rates to increase just for that reason. Countervailing this tendency is that a significant percentage of Arlington’s new residents have excellent access to transit, and the Car-Free Diet Program. So even if Arlington’s auto ownership rates were unchanged from 2000, given the pressures of higher incomes, could be seen as a success of the program.

            It would be helpful to the discussion if Arlington County staff regularly provided such information so that the public could evaluate the results.

          • drax

            And to follow up, car ownership and car use are different issues. Arlingtonians may own more cars, but use them less.

          • Carlite

            1. lots of Arlingtonians still live in fairly auto centric parts of the county,

            2. Lots of households are not single people, and having one car for two licensed drivers, thus going “carlite” is a big step away from suburban lifestyles.

          • Josh S

            Carlite –

            I’m not sure that’s true. I think the one car per licensed driver is a recent phenomenon.

          • Actual Results

            You think that all of these programs initiated by the county are really intended to accomplish their stated purpose ??

            Hah !!

        • CW

          Do you mean car rich?

          Like house rich means that someone has put all their money inot their house.

          • Tax Payer

            I mean car poor. Like driving that car makes you have less disposable income. Instead of buying a Corolla you had to have an IS250 or a 328.

            Let’s use a real world example: An adult with 2 kids arrives at Courthouse to apply for Affordable Housing in their 78 Ford Pinto. Another adult arrives at Courthouse with 2 kids to apply for Affordable Housing in their 2012 Lexus. What factor decides which of the two get unit?

            I don’t think it’s asking too much if you receive subsidized housing to submit spending flow reports to the County. There is no way for us to know what people spend their money on. If they are frivolous or simply bad at managing money (and getting more public money to manage badly through subsidized rent.)

          • SoArl

            Wow – spending flow reports? And what would be the criteria for deciding who is bad at managing their money? These are adults, not children we’re talking about. I’m certainly no fan of the subsidized housing fixation the board seems to have but this seems a bit paternalistic. It seems like a list of assets when you apply would be sufficient.

          • Josh S

            Nope, even that doesn’t work. Who is to say how you got your assets? What if you car was a gift? Besides, rent is usually paid out of income, isn’t it? I don’t use my assets to pay the rent, do you?
            And how would you set the maximum allowable asset valuation? Applicant X shows up for a ADU going for $2,000 a month, but their assets are $20,000. Are you going to make them divest themselves of those assets? What if they’re all in the car? Then they can’t get to work? Pick up the kids? Get to the doctor? What if they have $20,000 in debt to go along with the assets?

            No system is perfect, so it will be possible for someone who is asset rich but income poor to perhaps take advantage. But I think the risk is low.

          • South Awwlington

            A real world example of providing to data to receive funding would be transportation funding through the FTA.

            Agency collects data on ridership and mileage and submits to the feds in order to receive funding back. They need data, agency needs money – it’s a win/win.

            I surely wouldn’t suggest divesting oneself of all of their assets but if folks are foolishly blowing cash on higher end items when there are suitable, cheaper items why should be helping them.

            I would suggest that folks living in Affordable Housing don’t need to be driving 30K cars when a 10 or 15K one will get you to work and school just as well – and really, shouldn’t these folks be taking advantage of our transit system?

          • Josh S

            The fact is there is this thing called due process. Everyone is entitled to it. How do you write regulations that define how expensive someone’s car can be before they qualify for affordable housing? I’m not sure you can do it. You can sit tut-tutting on the sideline, but it’s a dangerous game to play since there is always someone else who could find something about your lifestyle to complain about.

          • drax

            Income generally decides. Which means that it’s really really unlikely that anyone is going to get affordable housing and also be able to afford a 2012 Lexus in the first place.

          • Devil’s Advocate

            What’s to stop a drug dealer from applying for affordable housing? They have little or no income on paper. Does that then mean the County supports said illegal activities?

          • drax

            What’s to stop a drug dealer from doing anything?

          • PeeWee

            It’s well established that low-income households tend to make purchases that enhance what they spend a lot of time doing, like watching TV (HDTVs) and driving (luxury cars). This is, of course, at the expense of things like retirement savings or building home equity. I’m assuming that to get affordable housing you’d have to document your assets and provide tax returns to verify income. In either case, the math decides. But monitoring spending habits seems draconian.

          • well established my hat

            where is it “well established” that low income households tend to purchase a lot of luxury vehicles and HDTVs?

          • Chuckles

            Spending flow reports! Ha!

            Your “real world” example sounds far-fetched. Putting aside the truly fantastic (a ’78 Pinto that is still rolling 35 years later) have you ever walked onto a used-car lot? The first thing a salesman does, after shaking your hand, is to run your credit report.So, I invite you to visit the nearest Lexus dealer this weekend, tell them that your income qualifies you for housing assistance, and then see what kind of a lease plan you get on a 2012 model.

  • Pentagonian

    That pool looks pretty small. If they’re going to install a rooftop pool, why not do it right, and make it a lazy river with inner tubes. I mean, heck, if my tax dollars are subsidizing this thing, why not make it awesome instead of run-of-the-mill.

    • novasteve

      Maybe it’s one of those new pee free pools, with currents so you can swim in place. If I were rich, i’d have one of those in my home. Maybe someone will subsidize me?

      • drax

        If you need a pool in your home, no, you won’t get a subsidy. You might if you need a home at all though.

    • CrystalMikey

      Yeah, looks like 5 people in that thing then it’s Game Over.

      • South Awwlington

        Or a tidal wave down on to the street, which could be cool!

  • Facts

    Each unit of “Affordable Housing” costs the Arlington tax payer $86,000. That does not include lost revenues that could have been made in tax dollars if the unit had priced at fair market value.

    Source: http://www.columbiapikeva.us/revitalization-story/columbia-pike-land-use-housing-study/land-use-study-meeting-document-library/

    • South Awwlington

      86K is more than this non-profit loser makes in a year’s time, for sure.

    • JohnB

      That number is lacking context and your statement is misleading. That analysis was to determine what the required subsidy would be to keep a unit affordable under a specific development scenarios. There are different subsidies required for different development scenarios and different scenarios for each area of the Pike that was studied. The numbers are not applicable in different areas or different development scenarios. This analysis was done specifically to inform the county board, staff, and community of the likely impacts of different policy decisions and were factored into the community recommendations made by the Columbia Pike Charrette to the County Board and Staff. It is exactly the kind of analysis that ARLnow commenters consistently ask for while being unaware that it is available on the county website.

  • John Fontain

    Deja vu. Just a few days ago I was describing the ways in which LEED certification is a farce and now we have a developer touting some of the exact examples I previously gave.

    Points for building on your own property where you were going to build anyway (“close to transit” in LEED language)? Check!

    More points for building on your own property where you were going to build anyway (“within walking distance of shops” in LEED language)? Check!

    Points for making the less fuel efficient cars drive further down into the garage and thus use even more carbon fuels (“preferred garage parking for their hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles” in LEED language)? Check!

    Points for paying money to someone else for a piece of paper (“use of wind power renewable energy credits” in LEED language)? Check!

    Points for outfitting the apartments with new refrigerators that you would have bought anyway (“ENERGY STAR® appliances” in LEED language)? Check!

    • CW

      But can you explain how that is hurting anyone? Why is reinforcing good principles a bad thing? What would you suggest instead?

      • Lee-n-Glebe

        I think he’s saying that LEED certification is touted as an “incentive” for which someone is “rewarded” (and tangibly so). Incentives should, maybe, “incentivize” someone to do something above and beyond what they would have done anyway, and therefore entitle them to a reward.

        To reward someone for doing something that is done in the ordinary course can be seen as a farce. One example would be the refrigerators – can you even buy a refrigerator that isn’t “Energy Star” any more? Even if you can, I think you’d have to look pretty hard to find it.

        • drax

          What’s the incentive for LEED though? Nobody is giving these buildings extra money or whatever for certification. It simply gives information about the building, in the public interest. People may be more inclined to rent from a LEED building, but they should be.

          The problem with Energy Star is that manufacturers have exceeded the standards, so they need to be beefed up. But there’s nothing wrong with “rewarding” an appliance by noting that it meets certain desirable qualities. That’s good for everyone.

          • Southeast Jerome

            lets be honest and stop arguing.

            LEED is just for marketing.


          • drax

            So what? I think it’s great that environmental responsibility, and low energy costs, etc, are part of a building’s marketing efforts.

          • John Fontain

            And yet there are others, like me, who don’t like to have smoke blown up our rears.

            In many respects, touting LEED certification is like an unemployed homeless person touting their lack of a commute to work as a green initiative on their part.

        • nauckneighor

          What is becoming dangerous is that localities are writing LEED requirements into zoning codes. I would dare to say that you won’t see any major construction projects approved by the county board without LEED attached to it.

          It has been documented that LEED produces energy hog buildings, and the additional construction and architectural costs for these “improvements” outweigh any benefit.

          • drax

            Really. So you’re saying LEED buildings are actually worse, not better. And you’re expecting us to just accept this “fact.” The U.S. Green Building Council is completely incompetent and has designed a useless system that actually makes buildings worse. Right.

          • RyanRecks

            Oh look! It’s somebody on the internets again ranging outside their field of expertise.

          • drax

            But that almost never happens.

          • SomeGuy

            I don’t entirely doubt you, but can you supply links to some of that documentation so we have a little more to go on?

          • Vikram

            Google IGCC

          • PeeWee

            IGCC is a strategic industry group within Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), created to provide an awareness of gift cards/certificates as a viable option for use in premium and incentive programs. The association has worked to educate the industry on the benefits of gift cards/certificates, including choice, value and service, and attributes recipients say that they want their awards to have.

          • drax

            The Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) is a non-profit organization jointly established in 1977 by manufacturers, consumers, specifiers, and others concerned with the quality and performance of insulating glass units.

          • John Fontain

            Yep, that’s pretty scary. I could see our County naively trying to go this way eventually. And the end result won’t be anything more green, it will just result in everyone’s cost of shelter increasing.

          • Keith

            Nah, fortunately Richmond sets the building codes for the whole state. I can’t see them straying away from the standard codes anytime soon.

        • John Fontain

          This is exactly what I’m saying. Using regular modern construction techniques will pretty much get you to LEED certification. It’s just a matter of whether you want to spend the time and money to pay someone to look at your paperwork and hand you a certificate that makes people think that your property is better than others or that you are more earth friendly than others, when that may not be the case at all (see example below).

          And quite often, LEED certification is used to either extract more money from a potential buyer/renter or to extract incentives from a government entity (who gets a whole lot of nothing in exchange for giving the developer something of real value).

          I know of a new, in-fill house that was built here in Arlington a couple of years ago. It was designed by a firm that markets itself as a “green” builder. The house “achieved” a LEED certification for being green. What’s ironic about this example is that the house’s floorplan is in the shape of a “U” (with a courtyard in the middle of the U).

          For those good at geometry, you’ll know that building a house in the shape of a “U” is about the worst design from a materials efficiency standpoint. A “U” shaped building requires around 100% more linear feet of exterior walls than a comparably-sized rectangular shaped house. A “U” shaped house also is much harder to efficiently heat and cool due to the high number of exposed, exterior linear feet.

          So in this case, you’ve got a “green” builder designing and marketing a “green” house that required a lot more building materials than needed to be used and one that will use a lot more energy than a comparably-sized home not built in a “U” shape.

          And everyone involved is lauded for saving the earth. I can’t help but think of the NBC PSA “The More You Know,” except in this case, the more people know about LEED the more they will realize it’s often a lot of hot air meant to take more $$$$ from your pocket.

          • drax

            Let’s see, should I believe the U.S. Green Building Council, or John Fontain, about which buildings are environmentally-friendly?

          • John Fontain

            So you disagree with geometry?

          • karzai’s friend

            It appears that he disagrees with anything and everything.

          • drax

            So you think this is about geometry?

          • Mirror Mirror

            Maybe, maybe not. There’s more to this than geometry.

            What’s the square footage of the U-shaped house vs. the other shape that you think it should be? If you draw a line across the top of the “U,” guess what? Suddenly more square footage to heat/cool and build out. I concede that the surface area exposed to the outdoors is more in a U, but please post your source for your assertions. I submit that “filling in” the “U” with columns, floors, walls, wires, lighting, could just as easily require the same amount of building material, if not more.

            Please post a link to your detailed analysis of the LEED systems that were installed in this house versus what they would’ve built into a house that’s in a shape that you think it should be in. And what shape is optimal? A square? Should every house be a sphere? A block?

          • John Fontain

            Mirror Mirror said: “Maybe, maybe not. There’s more to this than geometry. What’s the square footage of the U-shaped house vs. the other shape that you think it should be?”

            As I already said in the post to which you responded (please focus on the last 6 words):

            “A “U” shaped building requires around 100% more linear feet of exterior walls than a comparably-sized rectangular shaped house.”

          • Mirror Mirror

            And as I said, (please focus on my questions instead of automatically defending your position)

            1) What shape do you think the house *should* be?
            2) What is the difference in square footage of the ENTIRE house? Or is your position that no building materials are used in the closing-in of the “U”?

            You can’t make the blanket statement you make about “100% more,” John. Does the “U” cut in 10 feet? 20? 30?

            Still waiting for your analysis…

      • KalashniKEV

        It’s like ISO, PMI, and every other scam out there. You’re selling a cert that shows compliance with a standard you just made up, but probably would have been adhered to anyway.

        • Josh S

          Uh, no. Yes, the standard is “made up” – there is no “Word of God” or natural law that says what should be in a LEED standard.

          But as to whether the standard would have been adhered to anyway – certainly not in most cases. For starters, many of the things that the LEED standards require cost more than doing things the “normal” way.

          The research appears to have yet to reach a firm conclusion about exactly what the benefits of LEED standards are – mostly because there just aren’t enough LEED-certified buildings yet. But it seems that the general conclusion is that there are benefits in terms of lower energy use than would otherwise have been the case.

    • drax


      LEED simply indicates the quality of a building. It’s like any other characteristic you might care about. Wood floors? Check. Parking? Check. LEED certified? Check.

      It doesn’t matter whether the building would have done something anyway. It’s comparing to an independent standard. LEED status simply says the building is environmentally friendly. Whether it would have been without LEED is irrelevant.

      • John Fontain

        “LEED simply indicates the quality of a building”

        Sorry, wrong. Say two buildings are built exactly the same, but the owner of one pays money to get a certificate. Therefore, one is LEED certified and the other isn’t. Those two identical buildings aren’t of differing “qualities” just because the owner of one has a cetificate.

        • KalashniKEV

          One building has, however, been stripped of value for participating in kickbacks/Greenwashing/scams. I’ll take the non LEED certified building and tell USGBC to hit the road.

        • drax


          But we KNOW that one building has those qualities, because it is certified as having them.

          You know how some food is certified organic and some isn’t, even though some food is still organic? It’s like that.

          • KalashniKEV

            I have a new certification body that accredits all shoes tied with double overhand knots. Wanna pay me $5000 for research and initial certification plus an annual survey and I’ll certify your shoe laces are approved?

            It’s a good deal.

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            No I don’t. And neither would anyone else, which is why that certification is meaningless but LEED is not. Thanks for helping to clarify.

          • KalashniKEV

            It’s just a scam. Pretty simple to see, really…

          • John Fontain

            So using the actual example listed in this article, you’re saying you wouldn’t know that the building was near public transit or restaurants without it having a LEED certification for those items?

          • drax

            Composition fallacy.

            LEED involves ALOT more than being close to transit. It involves hundreds of factors.

            Keep throwing stuff up. Something might stick.

          • Mirror Mirror

            Drax is 100% right with that example. LEED is a certification, just like any other. Period. Can you find out about the building materials, energy efficiency, water conservation, etc., all on your own? Sure. Or you can save a lot of your own time by reading the four letters “LEED” and have an idea what you’re getting.

            Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Network Engineer, Certifiably Insane…. the knowledge and skills exhibited in those fields can be exhibited by people without the certs. You can research their training, education, etc. on your own, or just read CFE, CPA, etc.

          • Bandersnatch


        • Josh S

          Say two people go through the exact same educational training and some years later both graduate as medical doctors. Leaving aside any legal requirements, let’s say that both decide to go into practice, but only one gets board certified. Who is going to get more business? The guy with the certification. Why? Because the certification itself communicates something in the marketplace. Customers can know that the doctor is qualified to do what he says he can do.

          But we can go further. You try to say that a building with LEED certification is no different than a building without LEED certification. Why? What evidence do you have that builders are routinely doing all the things that are required to get LEED certification? Cause at this point, I’d suspect that if they were, they’d get certified. It has become recognized as worthy. Pointing to something like getting points by being close to public transportation is not enough. This only gets you so many points. You have to show that buildings are routinely doing all the things necessary to earn enough points for LEED certification.

    • Marie Antoinette

      LoL, John. You are so spot on. But hey, it’s the best way to cure 1st world guilt I suppose. Gimmie a break.

      • drax

        No, it’s a way of making buildings use less energy and consume fewer resources. You got a problem with that?

    • Josh S

      You assume the developer owned the land to begin with. As opposed to shopping around the Metro area for a parcel on which to build his apartment building. I think we all benefit when he chooses the parcel that is closer to transit and within walking distance of existing shops as opposed to a parcel on open space in Prince William Co., for example.

      I agree that the Energy Star appliances credit is flimsy, but this is mostly because the Energy Star program has grown bloated with extraordinarily weak standards. Nevertheless, there are still non-Energy Star appliances that can be bought, and they are generally the cheapest, so likely to be chosen by a developer seeking to keep down costs.

      In general, the line of argumentation complaining about LEED is the classic “letting the desire for perfection be the enemy of good” argument. LEED is an admirable standards program that seeks to encourage and recognize efforts to change our building practices to as to promote energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Yes it can be improved. So can just about everything.

      • John Fontain

        Josh S, why oh why do you do this to yourself time after time?

        “You assume the developer owned the land to begin with.”

        No, you assumed that I assumed that. In fact, the two parcels have been owned by JBG for many years.

        • PaulB

          You are on a roll today. Well done.

        • drax

          Josh meant hypothetically! He wasn’t referring just to JBG, but to any given situation, like your post was.

          Jeez, I thought that was obvious.

          • John Fontain

            ^^^^LOL^^^^^. So you’re going to peddle Josh S.’s bike backwards for him now?

          • Mirror Mirror

            So you’re going to continue to ignore the point?

          • John Fontain

            If only there was one.

          • mehoo

            John, it is pretty well known among some in the community that they are the same person.

          • drax

            I have used the mehoo name. I am not Josh S. and have never used his name. But hey, let’s keep diverting from the issue, which is that John misread something but can’t admit it.

          • Aren’t They

            the same person?

        • Josh S

          Roll? No, he completely misunderstood the point. As drax points out, it’s a hypothetical.

    • Carlite

      prior to the inclusion of walkable and near transit as criteria, buildings were getting LEED gold for the building features, when they were things like hotels located in the middle of the Nevada desert, and were anything but green.

      THAT was a farce, and this corrects that.

      Its not possible to tell what will be built anyway.

      BTW, you are aware that developers BUY lots to build on, arent you?

  • novasteve

    When you have this LEED stuff, residentially, do they deny you water pressure and hot water like they do in office buildings?

  • novasteve

    Couple questions about subsidized housing:

    1. Is the difference between FMV and the actual rent they pay considered taxable income?

    2. Do people who take advantage of it feel guilty, or at least an obligation to do something to give back to the community? I can’t speak for others, but I would feel horrible for only living in a building because others are helping me out. I would only live somewhere where I could afford to pay the rent. I can understand if someone was incredibly poor and couldn’t afford anything, if they were helped out in some moderate place, but this is a luxury building, and other people are paying their rent.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      Really? Do your feelings just pertain to housing, or would you also feel horrible sending your kids to public school knowing that they can only attend for free because others are helping out??

      • John Fontain

        I personally can’t get that worked up about the affordable housing aspect, but your comparison of subsidized housing to public schools is a stretch. The last time I checked, public schools were accessible to all children and weren’t limited to certain income brackets.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          And the last I checked the reason we provide education which is accessible to all children is so that those of lesser means can be educated. The wealthy could already afford to pay for the education of their children. So actually it is a very good comparison. The problem some people have with the comparison is that it points out that people generally like the subsidies that help them (mortgage deduction, public roads, etc.) but not the ones that help others.

        • MsBri

          And nice, safe, affordable homes shouldn’t be limited to people in specific income brackets either. The man who builds and fixes your BMW or Lexus may not make as much as you but he works hard and his family deserves good things just like you. The man whose hands built the home you live in deserves that in return for his hard work as well. You assume that because people who have less spend frivolously and live well beyond their means. If that is the case, don’t worry, they won’t be in the building long because bad money management with any amount of money will cause you to lose cars and houses. But don’t forget about those hard working individuals who, like myself (you see I can speak on it because I know, not assume), work hard to make what little money I make, but more importantly, I budget, save, and make payments on time so that I can provide the lifestyle I desire for my family. So screw you, John and those with like minds.

  • Get a clue.

    I’m so tired of hearing social programs being dinged by people who have no clue what makes a community successful. I pay high taxes for kids to go to school, yet I do not have or plan to have children; I think someone picking up my garbage should be able to provide for their family, even if they have zero education. It’s laughable that people think they work harder than the guy who is cleaning the toilets in the nice building where you work.

    Maybe you should try seeing the benefits of these programs instead of thinking that only the rich upper crust ‘deserve’ to live within 20 miles of where they work.

    Who Benefits from Affordable Housing
    When it is well developed and managed, affordable housing offers many benefits, to the community, developers and residents.


    The community benefits from affordable housing because it contributes to sustainable and dynamic local communities, by:

    •providing housing for a diverse local workforce
    •providing direct economic benefits to the local community, including increased demand for goods and services which in turn provides increased local employment opportunities
    •accommodating people with the different skills required to support communities, such as shop assistants, bus drivers, construction workers, cleaners, nurses and teachers
    •meeting the needs of the growing number of smaller households living in high-cost areas
    •promoting economic and social integration – ensuring that families’ housing costs are not so high that they can’t afford to meet education and health costs and that there is sufficient security of tenure to improve their capacity to obtain and maintain employment.

    Residents of affordable housing benefit because it provides housing that:

    •is more affordable than that already available in the private market, thus still allowing adequate income for essential expenses such as food, clothing, health and education
    •integrates with the community
    •provides a way for people to remain in areas in which they have lived for a long time, and to live close to their support networks, during changes in life circumstances such as divorce, retirement, or recovery from a long-term illness or injury.

    Developers of affordable housing benefit because:

    •some local policies to promote affordable housing offer significant financial incentives for developers – for example, through the provision of density bonuses
    •affordable housing provides housing close to employment centres, which supports a strong labour force and a vibrant economy
    •there are often attractive returns to be made, especially from mixed developments or joint ventures

    • Ashton Heights

      Who pays for “subsidized housing”?


      •Average cost of an affordable unit in Arlington? $86,000
      •Increased crime
      •lower property values
      •pushing out the middle class (only the very rich, and a few lucky lower income groups can stay)

      Affordable housing is unfair to the middle class, tax payers and people that have managed their money responsibly. It also seems to look people in a permanent state of poverty.

      Arlington is a transient community and I do not see why we need to artificially try to keep certain lucky ducky’s in our county when rents get to be too high for them. If Arlington is nor affordable to you, you may want to look at Petworth or Prince William county.

      • DBMS

        I’m assuming that Ashton Heights has recent and reliable data to support his/her contention that occupants of subsidized housing in Arlington commit crimes at a greater rate than others, that people who live in subsidized housing in Arlington can’t “manage[] their money responsibly,” and that subsidized housing in Arlington lowers property values, pushes out the middle class (which is defined as?), and “locks people in a permanent state of poverty.”

        I would like to see the data.

        • MsBri

          Ashton Heights is STUPID. Some people are too rich to read! Arlington County had 1 murder in 2010 and NONE in 2011! Burglaries dropped 18.2% from 2010. Vehicle theft dropped 14.4%. We shouldn’t expect STUPID people to make educated comments, no matter how much they make, they are still as STUPID today as they were yesterday, STUPID!!!

    • AllenB

      Well said.

      • John Fontain

        So “well said,” in fact, that I’d almost think “Get a clue” didn’t write that him or herself but instead just cut and pasted it from the Interwebs without attribution. But “Get a clue” wouldn’t do that, right?


        • Marie Antoinette


          What a clown.

          • Southeast Jerome

            mr Fontain- well done.

        • Frank Rizzo

          LOL. Australia!

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          Nevertheless, the statements “Get a Clue” made / repeated stand on their own merit regardless of the source. Affordable housing is good for the community. And this is coming from someone who pays high taxes for schools even though I do not have children, nor will I ever have them. There is such a thing as doing something that benefits the community and not just you personally. There are a lot of “me-centrics” on this site.

          • Banksy

            Well-said. So what if the arguments for affordable housing were taken from another source — or that the source was Australian? The points are still valid ones. Pretty petty response from the naysayers.

            I’m childfree, yet I still recognize the value of having good schools and a diverse community.

        • AllenB

          Why does it matter where he got it from? The point is well made.

    • novasteve

      Smart people live where they can afford. If they’re having problems paying rent here, then food will be more expensive, gasoline will be more expensive, insuring their car will be more expensive than in an area that they would abe able to afford. It’s not just housing that’s expensive here. I can drive 20 miles away and everything is cheaper, not just rent. This area is well withing the washington ripoff zone. People should live where they are more able to afford.

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        Smart people also live in communities they actually like…

        • Josh S

          And sometimes where you live or what you can afford have nothing to do with being smart…..

      • Brilliant, I say

        “I can drive 20 miles away and everything is cheaper,”

        gas is cheaper 20 miles out, so you can save on gas that way

    • Curious in Courthouse

      I’m with you, completely. But, I’d really like to see – generally, in the form of aggregated statistics – who is availing themselves the affordable housing units in luxury buildings like the one featured in the article.

      Namely, I would like to know if these affordable units are largely for the benefit of recent college graduates who live there for a year or two, until their income goes up too much to qualify, and the cycle repeats. There’s a cultural component to where we choose to live. Consider that truly working class people might not want to live there, it’s just so lux. Plus, even with the subsidy it’ll probably cost more than a bigger place just a little farther out.

      The stats would let us know if the people we all think affordable housing is helping are actually being helped.

  • Mary-Austin

    To those complaining about affordable housing: Don’t waste your breath.
    The County Board does whatever they want. They decide what they are going to do and then appoint their handpicked members to advisory committees to reinforce it with “community support”. That is the Arlington way and voters continue rewarding them for it.

    • Arlington Way

      Sure wish that were true. Having served on a few of those committees, I can tell you that there are plenty of crotchety dissenters on them – as many as here on this blog.

      • John Fontain

        Anyone who dissents to this is crotchety?

        • WeiQiang

          That’s not the logical device AW used. By using “crotchety dissenter”, one could reasonably infer that AW meant that there are dissenters that are not crotchety. It does appear that AW is saying that there plenty of crotchety dissenters on this blog.

          • Arlington Way

            Holey moley.

          • Bandersnatch

            This is pretty close to where I was with “curmudgeonly” yesterday… ho-hum

      • Mary-Austin

        There may be a few but do they ever stop the CB from pushing through what they have decided they are going to do?

        I specifically remember a CB member saying to me “we can do whatever we want” when they decided to put a drug rehab facility in the middle of my neighborhood. There was plenty of dissent but they went ahead anyway.

        • Brilliant, I say

          “There may be a few but do they ever stop the CB from pushing through what they have decided they are going to do?”

          advisory boards advise- the CB decides.

          • Mary-Austin


    • AllenB

      Thanks, Mary. Then why don’t you stop wasting your breath too?

      • Mary-Austin

        Your welcome Allen. I’m not on here complaining about money being spent on affordable housing. Just saying the County is going to do this and do it more often whether you like it or not.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          The CB is carrying out the policies it was elected to perform.

    • Crotchety Dissenter

      Yup….now watch the ACDC groupies begin to show up to protest how open the process is.

      • drax

        And when they don’t, do you admit you were wrong?

      • crickets

        *chirp chirp*

  • WeiQiang

    You can p&m all you want about LEED or NGBS or EnergyStar or other standards being useless or simple marketing ploys. Builders (NAHB), realtors (NAR), and retailers are all on board with applying such standards. There is actually analysis on the intertubes comparing the circumstances under which each standard provides tangible benefits as guidelines to everyone in the value chain.

    The market has spoken. You can care or not care for your own personal consumption. As a consumer, you get to buy what you wish.

    • Bandersnatch

      “The market has spoken. ” Once again, WeiQiang you summarize the core issue here and underline the hypocrisy of the the most vociferous opponents.

      The market clearly values LEED and the standard is optional. Those who choose to participate have an opportunity to capture this added value. Yet because it’s a value with which our conservative friends don’t happen to agree, it’s suddenly a bad thing that the market has associated value to it.

      • Corey

        Aren’t there some subsidies for LEED certification? Not that I disagree with you that it’s a good thing, and I hate the knee-jerk liberal bashing that occurs on these boards every time something environmental is mentioned, but seems a bit hard to attribute this to a free market.

        • WeiQiang

          NGBS (Nat’l Green Building Std) is an alternative, but the criteria for both [and others] do not overlap in all cases. Like I said, the interwebs [not surprisingly, at the sites of the ‘associations’ that promote the standards] can show you the comparison of various standards.

        • WeiQiang

          Sorry. Mis-interpreted subsidies for substitutes.

      • KalashniKEV

        Why are you saying “added value?”
        I don’t think that word means what you think it means…

        LEED strips value from a building by adding cost to the people who get conned.

    • Suzie

      The market has spoken???? Those groups you list all might have some interest in pumping up their own market. It is all puffery.

      • Josh S

        Ignorance is bliss.

  • Ashton Heights

    Returning to “affordable housing” for a second — which means below market rate, to be used by lower income people, and definitely subsidized directly or indirectly — the reason usually given for it is so that our policemen, firemen, and public school teachers, who work in Arlington, can afford to live here. I would really like to see our policemen, firemen, and public school teachers be given first crack at it.

  • thenewarlington

    Arlington is changing people. Highend in North Arlington is the new reality. For those that don’t like it, Warren County, Stafford, Price Williams Counties would love to welcome you as residents. Enjoy the drive in each morning. You can tell the majority of people bithching about the changes all live in South Arlington. STOP BITCHING. I for one would like to thank JBG for building highend condos and rentals in the area with ground floor retail. These new residents help educate our kids, pay for our road improvements, and parks. It’s called a tax base folks. I would like to go on the record and say the affordable units should go to local police, fire fighters and teachers. All others stand in line behind them. Keep the high price stuff coming. LOVE IT!

  • MsBri

    Well said thenewarlington, somebody has to do the lower end jobs that those on the higher end benefit from. And those people shouldn’t have to commute from other areas. If lower income people ceased to exist in higher income communities, a lot of very important, lower/moderate wage positions would be left unfulfilled, leaving the community a lot less sought after. They can make their own coffee, but who is going to educate the children, babysit the children (because a lot of people have nannies), do the landscaping, fix the heat and plumbing, secure the building, deliver the mail, buzz guests in and out, clean the buildings, remove the trash, paint, cook, dry clean the clothes, sell shoes,…. Everything comes with a price. Seems like people who are so blessed to be so “high and mighty” would just be thankful that they can afford to pay for the lifestyle they love so much, even if that means other less fortunate people are able to eat too.


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