New Apartment Building Coming to Buckingham

by ARLnow.com June 14, 2012 at 10:05 am 4,851 73 Comments


A new apartment building is coming to the Buckingham neighborhood, near Ballston.

Earlier this year, the Dittmar Company demolished an older, existing three-story garden apartment building near the corner of N. Henderson Road and N. Thomas Street. In its place, we’re told the developer is building a new four-story, 66-unit apartment building with underground parking.

The building will have the address of 4301 N. Henderson Road. No word on when the construction is expected to wrap up.

  • Bill

    Four stories. By-right. Not a hint of “affordable” housing.

    That’s how you do it. First Lee Highway by Thirsty Bernie’s. Now this. Stop this nonsense one project at a time.

    • drax

      Yes, any developer can build by right.

      Or they can choose voluntarily to do more in exchange for concessions.

      It’s their choice.

      • Kate

        A mind like a steel trap, folks.

        • drax

          Yep, when you have to state the obvious, it’s usually obvious.

          • veeta

            The obvious being that you have a mind like a steel trap, or that you like to state the obvious? Or are they not mutually exclusive?

      • Vince

        Not true.

    • SteamboatWillie


      I don’t understand your post, but I don’t follow Arlington County real estate issues very closely. Could you explain what you mean by nonsense?

      • Bill

        The affordable housing.

        • drax

          All housing should be unaffordable.

          • Patrick

            I’m sure he is referring to artificial affordable housing or subsidized housing.

          • Betty Pawsheifer

            I want to live in artificial housing.

          • obscure reference that only I get

            I can only live in all-natural housing. So it’s pretty much rocks and logs for me. Maybe some mud to keep the drafts out…

    • DeportEmAll

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • SimplyDusty

    I hope it has more character than the other two institutional-inspired apartment complexes on N. Thomas, but I doubt it. Talk about an eye-sore.

    • Greg

      Or that massive debacle further down Henderson on George Mason.

    • TJLinBallston

      Sorry the say, the new building is by Dittmar and they are well-known for functional, unattractive buildings. They are total strangers to architectural design trends. Just try to find a rendering of 4301 N. Henderson. It’s simply not available. The new building is a far-sight better than the slum it replaces but I wouldn’t hold your breath for an attractive, 21st century building. It’s Dittmar — that says it all.

      • CW

        Having lived in a Dittmar building for almost 2 years at one point, I will say that I will take their rock-solid construction, highly functional design, and great management, operations, and managment (not to mention reasonable prices) over the fluff that everyone else is providing. While all the other developers cut corners on substance and cover over with glitz, Dittmar just keeps doing what has worked for decades. Fine by me.

        • Rooby

          Unless this is just a cheesy plant, how in the heck do you know it was rock solid construction? Did you work on the project? Were you crawling around the duct work on your days off?

          • CW

            Solid walls through which I could not hear neighbors. HVAC that worked, plumbing that did not back up all the time. Good elevators. Well-thought-out design such as conveniently placed stairwells. Appliances that lasted with no problems. I am not a structural engineer but I am an engineer and it does not take a rocket scientist to see good construction practices in place. Compare to 1021 Garfield or the brick and stick thrown up on the corner of Pershing and 50. Of the buildings I have lived in the Dittmar property has been my best experience.

            Why does anything positive have to be dismissed as a plant?

          • Rooby

            Because it had that ring – probably b/c of the praise of management – came off as self congratulatory.

          • Rooby

            AND – I didn’t say it was a plant. I said “unless” it’s a plant – which was just covering that base.

          • CW

            No, I just really enjoyed living there. You don’t realize the value of good management until you have experienced bad management…

          • AllenB

            I’ve owned a Dittmar built condo for several years and I agree that their construction is solid. I’ve never heard noise through the walls from neighbors – not many other apt/condo dwellers can say that. I will agree that the exterior design is uninspired but I’ll take that any day over the flimsy construction of other buildings.

        • JJinBallston

          I live in the new building right beside this and will say the apartments are spacious, nice and reasonably priced. However, the apartment complex itself is far from “functional”. I live on the 2nd floor and if I don’t want to take the elevator, I have to use the stairs from outside of the building. Also, there is no trash chute and I have to again, take an elevator to go down one floor to throw out my trash.

        • drax

          The rest of us have to look at your hideous building all day though.

        • TJLinBallston

          I completely agree you that Dittmar is a good, solid, reliable company and landlord. That said, for as much as they build and manage in the County, I regret Dittmar’s “middling” design exteriors and wish the County could induce the company to up its game.

      • John

        Dittmar always uses the same architect. This new building will likely be hideously ugly. Dittmar is an old Arlington developer, and I’ve always been surprised they don’t push for better design on their home turf. Bethesda, Silver Spring, Tysons, and others attract top developers who hire quality architecture firms. To stay competitive, Arlington needs to push developers to focus more on architectural and urban design.

        • Mary-Austin

          The majority of the new development going on in Arlington lately is hideously ugly and most of it is not coming from Dittmar.
          Just look at the building going up at the corner of 10th and Washington Blvd…at least Dittmar’s buildings have a cohesive design theme even if it is not exciting.

          • John

            Yes. That building going up at the corner of Washington and 10th in Clarendon is a complete design failure. Too bad no developers/architects look to Clarendon’s rich mid-century modern past for design inspiration. (But unfortunately most of those old 30s-50s era Clarendon commercial landmarks have been demolished.)

          • Arlingtonian

            Some developers/architects of new buildings in Clarendon do indeed” look to Clarendon’s rich mid-century modern past for design inspiration.” Much of that inspiration is the late 1930’s streamline moderne style (often erroneously called art-deco, which is from an earlier period).

            You can recognize these buildings by their curved corners (usually at the lower levels), horizontal metallic strips above ground floor windows and entrances, and curved structures protruding from the buildings above entrances. Some of these buildings have vertical and horizontal lines extending the length and height of the buildings.

            The first example of this is the tall building across Clarendon Blvd. from the Clarendon Metro station that was built around 1990. Two new buildings on the opposite side of N. Highland Street from the Metro station have some of these features. Another is directly south of the Clarendon post offfice.

            Several are along Clarendon Blvd, east of the Metro station. Another is on the southeast corner of Washington Blvd. and N. Highland Street. The empty lot on the northeast corner fo the same intersection will soon contain another such building.

            If you look for these buildings, you will find them.

            A fairly large percentage of Clarendon’s 1930’s commercial buildings with streamline moderne features still remain, especially along Wilson Blvd. If you look closely, you can see their curved corners and straight lines, as well as the horizontal metallic strips above their ground floor windows. Some of the metallic strips are covered by awnings or have been painted over, but they are still there.

            If you look for these older buildings, you will find them.

          • John

            I was referring more to the mid-century modern buildings, in the international style and subsequent styles. Long ribbon-windows, unadorned facades, expressive cantilevers, bright neon signs, etc. That style defined Clarendon from the 40s-70s. It has all but disappeared.

          • since you seem confused

            “1930′s streamline moderne” is not what most people are referring to when they say “mid-century modern”. They are talking about the modernist buildings of the 50s and 60s.

          • Arlingtonian

            John’s message said ” most of those old 30s-50s era Clarendon commercial landmarks have been demolished”, not “40’s to 70’s” or “50s and 60’s”

        • Richard Emerson

          Ugly is a bit strong…pedestrian, certainly, but not necessarily ugly. Ultimately, it’s an apartment building that’s not on major roads and will not be a showpiece. I’m not sure that anything above “functional” is really required or necessary.

  • David

    This is good news, I live a few minutes walk from this location and it the older property was in terrible shape, perhaps the owners knew they were selling, but the grounds were ugly as hell. I am sure rent was not too expensive and do feel bad for the people who had to move. And the pupusa truck now parks elsewhere, love that truck, cheap and good.

    • MC 703

      Is that the one that parks near Food Star sometimes?

      • David

        Not sure, it’s Pupusaria Diana.

        • John K.

          There’s a pupusa truck at Food Star? I thought only Comida Latina parked there – not really a pupusa truck…

          • obscure reference that only I get

            Wait, when did we all get transported to Portland?

  • Nunya

    Only four stories?

    • ArlForester

      Don’t worry. There will only be enough parking for two stories so the surrounding area will be inconvenienced as much as possible. That’s just like the two buildings across from Barrett.

    • Occasionally a Fact

      Four stories is probably the maximum allowed by right, i.e. without having to go through any community and Board review.

  • TJLinBallston

    The older structure was so bad, so derelict, that relators tell me prospective condo buyers didn’t want to even get out of the car to look at units in the classy Hyde Park tower nearby. The older structure was as close a slum dwelling as anything in north Arlington and we all benefit from its demolition. As for the dirty, rusting pupusa truck — glad to see it drive away. If you’re looking for delicious, inexpensive Latin fare, try District Taco on Lee Hwy.

    • CW

      Ehh, I’ve seen slummier. Ever checked out some of the small garden apts just off Lee Highway north of Lyon Village?

      This specimen (http://goo.gl/maps/Royp), which could easily be mistaken for a small town’s jail, will probably qualify for Historic Preservation some day.

      • drax

        I like it.

        • NorthArlingTim

          So do I.

        • obscure reference that only I get

          Trying to like it, but stuck at – what the F is that?

      • Patrick

        That strip of Lee highway actually contains some of the only market rate affordable apartments left in north arlington that are walking distance to the metro.

        • Daenerys Targaryen

          i.e. ripe for development

          • NorthArlingTim

            Please no more development. I miss a lot of the crummy little old buildings that used to be part of Arlington. At least some of them have / had character. And I’m quite happy living in one of them. I’m tired of density. I also completely agree with Patrick.

          • dirty biker

            Really? There is NO character in those little crummy places. None. (Barring the vauge and period-correct Kruschev-ness)

            I “get” the preservation character arguments for the truly interesting architecture or period design (Cherrydale, Cap Hill, Georgetown)but this stuff was crap when it was built and is crap now- I’d include 50% of the original structures in Lyon Village East of Highland on the crap list- Depression-era tract housing. Every now and a again a really nice little house gets pulled down (which is sad) but I won’t shed a tear for most of em. Old for old’s sake does not make character.

          • NorthArlingTim

            I don’t entirely disagree with you – I guess it’s some nostalgia for the “dive-iness” of parts of Arlington almost 30 years ago which were my stomping grounds in my younger years. Still my stomping grounds, just different. And now I’m a grumpy old fart who’s been wearing brown flip flops for the last 20 years. 😀

          • dirty biker

            OK, so I’m a little sad about Dremos and more sad about Viet Garden but not because of anything aesthetic.

            The cries about the Va Square Funeral Home? The monument place? The wasteland that is Clarendon circle? Crappy little claptrap houses? Errrr notsomuch

      • dirty biker

        That is actually IN Lyon village (as defined by the community)… I’d say that those places have a very limited life expectancy given that new built SFH within a block are 1.5 mil and up.

    • Pouncy

      Classy Hyde Park tower? That place is a dump.

  • Smitty

    Will it have a pool or common area where I can have my Brah’s over to pound a suitcase or two of whatever’s on sale?

    • DW

      Only if they are rich. Not being rich is frowned upon in Arlington.

      • Joan Fountain

        But I thought Arlington was ruled by socialist collectivists who frown on success.

        Please get your memes straight.

    • Bryce

      That’s a clown question, bro.

      I hear it will have a ping pong room specially designed for this very purpose.

      • Smitty

        Clutch! Who should I tell my dad to give the down payment to?

        • WeiQiang

          *scribbling furiously* suitcase … clown question …clutch

          I have GOT to keep up

          • Smitty

            It’s like the matrix – once you understand the language you will see the brahs all around you.

          • WeiQiang

            Great … more shirtless guys to clog up the Mt Vernon Trail.

          • nom de guerre
          • obscure reference that finally I get


  • DH

    I live right across from this site in Hyde Park on a upper level and watch the progress from my balcony. The buildings are pretty bland.. I have watched all three of them go up while I have lived here. One positive thing is that Dittmar conforms to noise ordinances and does not begin before 7AM.

    One interesting bit is that the old Victorian House turned Dentist’s office sold for $1.25M to close the deal on the land – http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/realestate/reassessments/scripts/Inquiry.asp?Action=View&lrsn=35997

    • Arlingtonian

      Yeah. And Dittmar removed all of the large trees that used to be near the Dentist’s office. Just like Dittmar does whenever it builds something.

      Dittmar is one of the reasons that Arlington is rapidly losing its tree canopy.

      • DH

        The felling of the trees was unnecessary… I was not happy about that in the least.

  • HollaArl

    YAY…more citizens.

  • Henry Spencer

    Kudos to Arl Now for this breaking news. This has been under construction for at least a couple of months now.

  • Jesus

    15 years ago I lived in a Dittmar apartment and agree that the Company had good management. The lease was a single page with little nonsense: date, term, price, apartment number. Other apartments had 10+ pages of fine print.

    Also, I am glad that the slum-like crap buildings are being replaced.

    PS: Don’t like my name, then blame my parents.

    • Bad Jokes

      How about bad jokes…..I was hanging out on ARLNOW and I saw Jesus or etc. etc.

      Sorry couldn’t resist….

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