Folks wanting a weekend trip to Virginia Beach can now catch a luxury motor coach — with leather seats and hot towels — that has regular departures from Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
Rides with the bus company, ROX, started July 1, 2020, and ended 90 days later as coronavirus cases rose in the fall. Service between Arlington and Virginia Beach started back up in July, and the company is set to bring a Charlottesville-Virginia Beach route online in September.
Today, the Virginia Beach-based company has three motor coaches that seat up to 23 passengers (a normal bus has 56 seats). Buses leave Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Each ROX bus has WiFi, individual charging outlets and chargers available on-demand. Riders can choose from a digital library of books, movies and TV shows, and are served a complimentary meal, snacks and soft drinks, with the option to buy alcohol.
“It’s better than any first class flight you’ve been on,” said ROX founder Jeff McWaters, a businessman and former Virginia state senator, who represented part of Virginia Beach.
McWaters, who founded the health insurance company Amerigroup, got the idea from his personal experience traveling for work between Virginia Beach and D.C.
If all the employees drove, “no one could work, it was dangerous, and we had issues,” he said, while flying was a hassle with frequent delays, and trains had poor WiFi and food.
With ROX, the former senator is looking to invigorate the commercial connection between the two hubs while taking advantage of a growing preference for remote work, with occasional trips to the office.
“We learned during the pandemic, you can work from home, you can work from the park, you can work with a glass of wine, but you can’t work on I-66, working on trains is spotty, and you can’t work on airplane,” he said. “You can work on the ROX.”
So far, most riders are using the bus for leisure, but McWaters predicts business travel will return.
ROX stops at Fashion Centre because it is well-connected and offers shopping and dining, he said. The mall, which offers luggage storage, alos has an Avis rental car outpost, and riders can catch the Metro or a car to get to other parts of Arlington, D.C. or the airport.
“It’s got everything,” he said.
While the bus service was shut down, the company earned income from private charters of a fourth bus. That coach features reclining seats, a kitchen, a sofa and eight televisions, including one outside for tailgating.
The bus has been to “some fun places,” and is set to embark on a 10-day hunting trip to Wyoming this fall, said Janice Tuckman, a sales representative for ROX.
“We picked up group at the The Greenbrier and drove them on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, where they visited distilleries and stayed at an Airbnb. They had a whoopin’ good time, and after four days, headed back to Greenbrier.”
This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: I recently saw a home listed in Arlington for almost $30M. Are there neighborhoods in Arlington with ultra-expensive homes like this?
Answer: We hear a lot about the “missing middle” in Arlington housing, but there’s another market that Arlington struggles to support that nobody is talking about… the super-rich. Sure we have plenty of homes that sell for $1M-$2.5M (457 sold in 2019) but in 2019 there were only seven sales over $2.5M and just one over $3M (and that was a sub-dividable lot). So what gives with everybody calling Arlington “expensive” if we can’t support the super-rich? Where do they live? (I hope my sarcasm is coming across…)
Arlington’s Most Expensive Homes
The recently listed $28.5M home, by Mark Lowham of TTR Sotheby’s, on the Potomac River side of Chain Bridge Road is an anomaly in Arlington. Outside of the prestigious Country Club Hills neighborhood and Turnberry Tower penthouse-level condos, sale prices in Arlington rarely eclipse the $3M mark and even in those communities the handful of $3M+ sales historically top out at $4M. And then you have a very small pocket of ultra-luxury homes at $5M+ along the Potomac, off Chain Bridge Road, which fall within Arlington County, but actually have a McLean mailing address and zip code (22101).
Note: There are dozens more homes in Arlington worth $3M-$5M that just haven’t been sold. Many are custom built in the last 10-15 years with the original owners still occupying them. There are also a handful of private sales that aren’t entered into the MLS because they were sold off-market.
Why Doesn’t Arlington Have Ultra-Expensive Homes?
So with so much wealth and close proximity to D.C., why doesn’t Arlington have more ultra-expensive homes? The answer is lot size.
For anybody that has looked for a home with a little elbow room/privacy in Arlington, you’ve reached the unfortunate conclusion that it’s very difficult to find anything with more than ¾ acres (even ½ acre is highly coveted) and there are just a small handful of properties with more than 1.5 acres. Smaller lots make it difficult to build enough house to justify a $5M+ price tag.
Where To Spend $5M+?
So where do people with $5M+ to spend on a home live? In Northern Virginia, most of those homes are in McLean or Great Falls, as well as further west in Loudoun County’s horse/wine country. D.C.’s most popular ultra-expensive neighborhoods are Georgetown and Kalorama, with a spattering of other neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park. In Maryland you’ll find the most expensive homes in Potomac along River Road, as well as Chevy Chase and Bethesda.
Enjoy Some Photos
For those of you who are here just for the pictures, here you go! I’ve linked to $5M homes either for sale or sold in the last few years in the area:
Whether or not you’re looking for a $5M home or $50k parking spot, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] to schedule a meeting to discuss your real estate plans!
If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, 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 D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
Photo via Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s
A 360-unit luxury apartment complex has broken ground in Potomac Yard.
The new 12-story building, to be called The Sur, will have 16,000 square feet of retail space and another 25,000 square feet of shared amenities space. Units range from 557 square foot studios to 1,419 square foot three bedroom apartments. High-end features include a dog spa, a rooftop spa and a “party room.”
Situated on the site of the neighborhood’s namesake former major railroad switchyard, The Sur will be across from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s south end.
On-site construction hours on the site at 3400 Potomac Avenue have been approved from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
The development was originally approved in 2007, but Courthouse-based developer Erkiletian Development Co. sought minor modifications to the plan this past September. The site plan amendment was ultimately given the greenlight by the Arlington County Board.
The sale of Pershing Manor fell through, prompting the owners of the controversial mansion to put it back on the auction block.
The property at 3120 N. Pershing Drive, which has been criticized by neighbors for its ostentatiousness, initially sold at auction for $2.2 million in December, ARLnow.com was told. The deed, however, was never transferred.
The opening bid for the 13,700 square foot home — which sits on 0.42 acres in Lyon Park and which was most recently assessed by Arlington County for $4 million — is only $750,000.
The auction website describes this as a “second chance” sale. “Buyer did not perform,” the site says.
Auction previews are scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, March 5.
Hat tip to Eli Tucker
Webb Running for School Board — Former candidate for Congress Mike Webb says he’s running for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. “Every problem that we face in Arlington’s public schools can find a solution in opening public charter schools,” Webb wrote in a Facebook post. [Blue Virginia]
Handbag Schemer Led Lavish Lifestyle — Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, the Arlington resident who was just sentenced to 30 months in prison for a fake handbag scheme, led a lavish jet-setting lifestyle that she documented on Instagram while perpetrating the $1 million fraud. [The Sun, Daily Mail]
Metro Installing More WiFi — After a six-station pilot program, Metro has announced that it will be installing public WiFi at all of its underground stations. The work is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by the end of 2018. [The Hill]
VHC to Expand Mental Health Facilities — Virginia Hospital Center is being pushed to expand its behavioral and mental health facilities as part of a proposed expansion of the hospital. Currently, the facilities are located in the hospital’s basement and only include 18 beds. There are an estimated 6,000 people with serious mental illness in Arlington County. [InsideNova]
Arlington Suicide Prevention Survey — Arlington is conducting an online survey about the county’s suicide prevention resources and services. [SurveyMonkey]
Photo courtesy Mark T.
When you first step into the neighborhood of Madison Homes at Eleven Oaks, you can’t help but feel like it’s a movie set. The houses are beautiful, all in a row, and each with its own unique style — like the families you can imagine living in them.
I was curious first to visit The Beaumont, which is one of the “City Homes” models. Since Eleven Oaks is in Fairfax, a sunny suburb, I was wondering what the take on city living would be. This is a four-bedroom detached home that is modern and full of light. I particularly loved the cozy breakfast nook at the back of the first level. Upstairs, the crown molding and luxury bathroom made a big impression. This model shows off the optional elevator, a great way to get more from a new home
Next was The Collier, a larger city homes model, model with four bedrooms, plus a bedroom and bath in the finished lower level. It has a lovely open-plan ground floor and felt very spacious overall. The formal dining room, family room and deck made this home perfect for entertaining family and friends. Whether you plan to relax in the spacious den or have a family dinner, The Collier seemed like a good place to come home to.
There’s a special going on the Collier model now, so it’s priced starting at $989,900 and includes a complimentary elevator. There’s definitely something to be said for the convenience of an elevator in your home, and they are available in most Eleven Oaks residences.
Finally, I headed over to one of the single-family homes, the Evesham. It wowed right away with the long kitchen, which felt warm with its hardwood floors and curved center island. Upstairs, the master bedroom was dramatic with the best walk in closet ever. I loved the tray ceiling and soaking tub in he attached bathroom — it felt almost like a hotel, but with all the bedrooms and touches like the fireplace, it was clearly meant for a family.
Overall, Madison Homes at Eleven Oaks was a great time. The neighborhood was well-groomed and accessible to Fairfax, and especially convenient to the George Mason campus. The staff was friendly and helpful and I loved the luxurious components to the homes of every size and shape. It was clear that special attention was given to natural light and outdoor spaces, as well as the little details that can make a home so special.
The Eleven Oaks sales center and models are open daily at:
4411 George Mason Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030
The preceding post was sponsored by Madison Homes at Eleven Oaks.