Ask Eli: Investing Along Columbia Pike — Trafalgar Flats Update

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How much interest has there been in Trafalgar Flats and do you think it’s a good investment?

Answer: Twelve months ago I introduced a new condo building off of Columbia Pike, Trafalgar Flats, by Pillars Development Group. Now that they’re near completion, I stopped by to take a look at the progress and talk to Rick Snider, Pillars’ VP of Planning & Design.

Impressive Design, Upgraded Finishes

Trafalgar Flats owners will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the finishes; everything is upgraded well beyond what one expects at this price point.

It’s a modern design without being over-the-top and includes nice touches, like heavier interior doors, most builders skip. Instead of using standard bucket-style recessed lighting, they chose LED lights that lay flat against the ceiling (pictured below) for a minimalist look I expect will become a trend.

Strong Pre-Sales

Selling condos without a model isn’t easy so having 40% sold (33 of 78 units) already reinforces how starved Arlington is for new condos at a reasonable price (about half the cost of comparable units at Key & Nash).

To Pillars’ credit, their sales have been evenly distributed across each of the three types of units – Jr 1BR ($265k+), 1BR ($340k+), and 2BR/2BA ($475k+). I was particularly interested in how the Jr 1BR would sell because it’s a product that we don’t see much of around here; it turns out they made the right decision.

Trafalgar Flats will be complete, with a model unit, by the end of the year. Although that comes at the slowest time of the year for local real estate I expect the pace of sales to move quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are sold out by March 2019, sooner if Amazon HQ2 announces their move to Arlington.

Investing Along Columbia Pike

Western Columbia Pike has a higher appreciation ceiling over the next 5-10 years than most Northern VA neighborhoods. It is primed for a shift in residential and commercial activity as the County’s Multimodal Street Improvement project reaches completion over the next few years, including improvements to underground utilities.

Just this year, major projects along western Columbia Pike have been announced or under construction including Trafalgar Flats, a new Pillars townhouse community, Centro Arlington (anchored by Harris Teeter), and Gilliam Place Apartments.

Thoughts From Pillars Development Executive

I spoke with Rick Snider, long-time Northern Virginia real estate Executive and VP of Planning & Design for Pillars, about Trafalgar Flats and his thoughts on development along Columbia Pike:

How did you choose this area over others to build TF? We were immediately attracted to this site when it came onto the market due to the ‘hole’ in the market relative to “For Sale” product versus “Rental”; we rightly anticipated that some nearby apartment renters would want to become new home owners, rather than purchase an older condo.

Are there other pockets of Northern Virginia or Arlington that you believe has similar appreciation potential? We like Columbia Pike and the market along it; we already have townhouse lots in planning nearby Trafalgar Flats to emphasize our interest in and commitment to this area, and are hopeful that our searches for additional land development opportunities in the area will be rewarded.

Where do you see Columbia Pike Development in three years and in seven years? When do you expect the biggest transition to take place along the Pike? The foundational change of course is found in the Multimodal Project which underscores Arlington County’s commitment to upgrade the infrastructure along this important corridor and to thereby not only improve existing residents’ quality of life, but also to attract additional developments like Trafalgar Flats, Centro Arlington and Gilliam Place.

Do you think Columbia Pike or Lee Highway will re-develop faster?  If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have weighed in on Lee Highway without hesitation, but I think that with the new developments underway and with the infrastructure improvements going in now and in the future that it becomes much more of a horse race; and I think that the price of housing, both for sale and rental, may well be the deciding factor that pushes the Pike ahead.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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