By Katie Bianco and Lynn Norusis
The arrival of Amazon kick-started the planning of the Potomac Yards station into high gear. But that’s not the only Metro stop that’s seeing some action. Here are the neighborhoods, all within walking distance from a current or future Metro stop, that are worth checking out.
Neighborhood: Mosaic District
Metro stop: Dunn Loring-Merrifield (Orange Line)
Overview: Merrifield used to be a hot spot for a few days in April each year prior to Mosaic District being built in 2012. Other than industrial and commercial strip malls, there was the Merrifield Post Office, which brought out the throngs near Tax Day, and an old movie theater. Now the area has become the shopping destination—and the anti-mall—as Mosaic moved in and brought with it an art house theater, popular and local restaurants, as well as sought-after chain stores, a bevy of boutique shops, farmers markets and community events throughout the year.
Good For: The fashionable and foodies
Where to live: If you want to be right in all the excitement, check out the condos at Halstead at the Metro, Wilton House or Westbriar. Townhome options are found on the luxurious side at Townhomes at Mosaic. And just outside of the district, single-family homes can be found at Fairhill on the Boulevard, a neighborhood built in the 1940s, starting a teardown and rebuild cycle.
Price range: Condos: mid-$200s to mid-$400s, townhomes: $500s to high-$800s; single-family homes: $500s to $1M+
What’s new: Park Story, a boutique carrying local and artisan-made goods, is one of the newest shops that has kept the shop-local vibe continuing at Mosaic (see story on page 26). Other new shops that have opened up recently include Erin Condren, Sundance and Deka Lash Bar, plus dining faves like Caboose Brewing Co., Cheestique, Little Dipper, Pokebar and, still to come, MacMillan Whiskey Bar (this spring), Japanese barbecue and soba noodle joint RyuKai (fall 2019) and Parc Bistro (fall 2019), plus one of the Barnes & Noble new concept stores as seen in Ashburn, which is expected to open in June. Also in the future is Merrifield Town Center II, currently the 31-acre Fairfax Plaza. Redevelopment of this parcel is in the long-term strategic plan, but no specific project details are available to share at this time according to Greg Goldberg, vice president of eastern leasing for RPAI, the developer of the property.
Local faves: Many of the dozens of restaurants found in Mosaic aren’t hard to get seating at on weekends, but True Food Kitchen is always packed, especially for brunch, and Mom & Pop coffee bar is sometimes hard to finagle around strollers, kids and shopping bags. Then in the evenings, head across the street to Open Road where you’ll find live music and a bar list everyone can indulge in. Other favorites: Angelika Film Center, Nook, Sophie Blake, Sisters Thai, Alta Strada, Ted’s Bulletin, Red Apron Butcher and the new outpost of Caboose Brewing with a large outdoor patio.
Stops to Metro Center: 11
Stops to Tysons: 3
Neighborhood: Del Ray
Metro stop: Braddock Road (Blue/Yellow line)
Overview: Despite being inside the Beltway and just minutes from the constant state of motion that is DC, Del Ray has an enduringly old-fashioned quality to it that attracts buyers looking for a slightly slower pace. In the warmer months, a typical scene along Del Ray’s main drag, Mount Vernon Avenue, includes patrons spilling out onto the patios of local restaurants, parents simultaneously pushing strollers and walking dogs, and leggings-clad yogis ducking into one of the many yoga studios to get their sun salutations on. It’s walkable from the Braddock Metro stop, or catch a Dash or Metro bus to the neighborhood. Block after block of quaint houses line the streets with room to sit on your front porch, or let the kids out to play in a spacious backyard.
Good for: The small town aficionado and the family focused buyer.
Where to live: No pre-fab developments here. Single-family homes include a number of styles, most prominently cozy bungalows (with a number of pop-ups and pop-out renovations happening as families grow with their house instead of move to larger digs in a new neighborhood). Del Ray has also seen some construction as of late, as developers realized it’s not just families who want the quaint feel of Del Ray. Del Ray Place on Mount Vernon Avenue offers condo-living for those who want to combine a maintenance-free lifestyle with neighborhood charm, while Del Ray Central introduces luxury apartment living to the popular neighborhood. Braddock Metro is also getting its own adjacent luxury apartments with The Dalton.
Price Range: Single-family homes start in the $800,000s with newer or renovated homes going into the $1 million-plus category. One-bedroom condos start at about $400,000 and go up.
What’s new: The aforementioned condos and apartments are creating buzz along Mount Vernon Avenue, while a beer garden, Hops N’ Shine, opened its doors in January.
Local faves: The Dairy Godmother, the neighborhood’s beloved frozen custard shop, always has a line out the door in summer and is about as Mayberry as you can get. Stomping Ground, Del Ray Cafe and DRP feel like places where the owner knows your name, while Holy Cow lets you pick a charity from a long list of local ones to donate to every time you order one of its tasty burgers or shakes. Evening Star Café and Cheesetique offer award-winning dining options, and a true neighborhood butcher at Let’s Meat On the Avenue slices up delicious cuts of meat. Boutiques like Kiskadee and Purple Goose ensure you’ll always have a unique gift on hand for neighborhood gatherings.
Stop to Metro Center: 11
Stops to Tysons: 15
Neighborhood: National Landing (Coming Soon)
Metro stop: Potomac Yard (Blue/Yellow Line)
Overview: Thanks to new neighbor Amazon, an entirely new neighborhood, National Landing, is expected to rise up out of the ground in the coming years, mostly spearheaded by local development powerhouse JBG Smith. The Potomac Yard Metro, which will sit between Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, is expected to open by 2022, but those wanting to be there from the beginning are already starting to look for real estate.
Good for: The would-be Amazon employee and the investors who love them
Where to live: Condos and townhomes are being snapped up by investors, says Derrick Swaak, treasurer of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors and a managing broker with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “We were surprised by the immediacy of the response within the local market,” he says, referring to the immediate spike in pricing and offers once Amazon confirmed the news. According to JBG Smith, the neighborhood—which consists of Crystal City, the eastern portion of Pentagon City and the northern portion of Potomac Yard—already has nearly 400,000 rental apartments, condos, townhouses and single-family homes within a 5-mile radius, plus 40,000 more in the pipeline. What was once a swath of undeveloped land already got thousands of new residential options in the last few years, including Station 650 and Notch8 luxury apartments, and nearby North Old Town offers townhouse and condos built prior to the recent development rush.
Price range: Studio condos, even with the Amazon prospecting, can still be had in the mid- to high-$200,000 range (which is higher than pre-Amazon prices), while single-family townhouses command those close-to-DC prices that can start in the high $800,000s and go upward.
What’s new: Construction is ramping up as potential buyers await retail and restaurant announcements. Alamo Cinema & Drafthouse was one of the first to announce it will be moving in to National Landing.
Local faves: Chef and high-profile good Samaritan José Andrés has a Jaleo outpost in Crystal City, while the Crystal City Business Improvement District is devoted to upping the neighborhood’s arts and culture cred with a push for an arts district (see the neighborhood’s new outdoor public arts space, The Grounds).
Stops to Metro Center: 10
Stops to Tysons: 13
Neighborhood: Pimmit Hills
Metro stop: West Falls Church (Orange Line)
Overview: What has happened to the older neighborhoods of Arlington and Vienna is starting to take place in Falls Church’s Pimmit Hills. A neighborhood built in the 1950s with homes, typically ramblers, sitting on a quarter of an acre, are transforming with the popular buy-teardown-rebuild cycle. Custom homes are being built with an eclectic mix of craftsman, colonial and modern that are estimated between $800,000 to over $1 million. The location of this neighborhood puts residents directly between Tysons and Falls Church City offering a plethora of dining, shopping and entertainment options as well as easy ins and outs for commuting.
Good for: The commuter and renovation visionary
Where to live: You can still catch a deal on a 1950s home in this neighborhood that lies between Route 7 to the west, Dulles Toll Road to the east, Route 66 to the south and Magarity Road to the north. Or you can upgrade to one of the newer builds being introduced to the neighborhood by area developers as one-off projects, or create your own custom build by purchasing an older home and raising it.
Price range: Starting at mid-$400s for original homes up to $1.5M for new build.
What’s new: Honest Soul Yoga is the new fitness spot in Idylwood Plaza, and a big new development will also bring 150,000 square feet of office space, 700 multi-family units in townhomes and 50,000 square feet of retail. The development is slated for a 24-acre lot currently owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA). This would be in addition to a 10.3-acre parcel that is already being proposed for development by Falls Church City and a 7.5-acre site owned by Virginia Tech that is being looked at for new developments for the school, offices, retail and residential.
Local faves: Idylwood Plaza is the main shopping center in the neighborhood and houses the original Taco Bamba, a tiny spot tucked in the back, but the plaza is also home to faves like Burger7 and Astro Doughnuts, plus Olney Park is in the neighborhood. Downtown Falls Church is just a few miles south on Route 7 and gives easy access to places like Cafe Kindred, Pizzeria Orso, SpaceBar, Sfizi Cafe and more.
Stops to Metro Center: 10
Stops to Tysons: 3
Metro stop: Wiehle-Reston (Silver Line)
Overview: Right now, the Wiehle-Reston stop of the silver line is the finishing point. But it’s a new area that’s beginning to thrive and will only gain in popularity as the Metro extends further out, as is expected by 2020. For now, fun programming at the Reston Station has included pop-up markets and, this summer, look for free outdoor concerts and fitness events. Grab a cup of coffee or a bite for breakfast, before heading out to do some shopping at Reston Town Center.
Good for: Those on the fence about urban or suburban living
Where to live: Luxury living happens right at the Wiehle-Reston station in Aperture and BLVD Residential. Aperture has ground-floor retail and 421 modern units with amenities like a clubroom, pool, pet play area and luxury apartments. BLVD Residential has luxury apartments with culinary-inspired kitchens, community, formal and cyber lounges, outdoor living spaces and a rooftop pool and fitness center.
Price range: Aperture leases start with studios from $1,740 a month to two-bedroom apartments with a den from $3,430 a month. BLVD starts at $1,710 for a studio and starts at $5,945 for a three-bedroom with den.
What’s new: The Promenade at Reston Station was approved in April and is planned to have up to 1.24 million square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail space. Coming online will be new townhomes, Lofts at Reston Station by Pulte and Sunrise Square by Sekas Homes.
Local faves: Founding Farmers is a popular dining experience with an upscale take on American-inspired food. Up the road is longtime favorite Melting Pot, and also Bartaco and Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro. Family fun is found at Lake Fairfax Park with the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole for summer enjoyment and the miles of trails throughout the community. “The trend for buyers is they want brand new,” says Suzanne Parisi with Century 21 Redwood Realty. “Those townhouses are selling. Buyers are paying a premium for the new construction and the location being close to the Metro. Overall, the Reston market has remained strong. We saw the highest increase in prices in some of the older communities that are in 20190 and 20191 about a year before the Wiehle Metro was completed. Years ago, North Reston (20194) was the area where pricing got competitive. The Metro has actually balanced out the pricing in the communities north and south of the Toll Road. But the Metro is bringing a new awareness of Reston from outsiders that years ago thought Reston was too far out.”
Stops to Metro Center: 14
Stops to Tysons: 3
Metro stop: Tysons Corner and Greensboro (Silver Line)
Overview: The Tysons area will be the powerhouse of the future, at least those are the plans that are in place right now. It used to be people came—a lot of people—they worked and then by 9 o’clock it was dead. Not for long. With four Metro stops now open in Tysons, residential development has begun and continues to grow—45 million square feet of new construction and 100,000 square feet of residential space. In 2010, a new comprehensive plan was drafted as the guiding document of how to transform Tysons from a work center to an urban community. Eight neighborhoods have been designated for the area, four of which are on Metro stations: Tysons West will be an arts and entertainment district; Tysons Central 123 will be mixed-use with luxury condos and shopping; Tysons Central 7 will have more of a civic focus with offices, services and restaurants; and Tysons East will hold an urban park surrounded by mixed-use development.
Good for: The new urban dweller
Where to live: The Boro’s Verse luxury condominiums are just off the Greensboro Metro stop and are in the heart of Tysons. Features include chef-caliber, open kitchens, 10-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, spa bathrooms and a one-acre skypark. As the area continues to grow, more of the planned condo buildings will come online, like Lumen, The Monarch and Westpark Plaza. Current options include The Rotonda, a handful of apartments and condominiums at Park Crest, plus more than a dozen apartment buildings.
Price range: Apartments start around $1,500 and new-build luxury condos top out at $2 million for one- or two-bedroom units at Verse in The Boro.
What’s new: It seems like all of Tysons will be new soon. But the Showplace ICON movie theater is expected to be completed by the end of this year. There will also be a Whole Foods and restaurants like Fish Taco, Tasty Kabob, Flower Child, North Italia and more, all of which are planned in The Boro area. At the Galleria, owners are talking with Tiffany & Co., Apple and Balducci’s to move into the luxury mall.
Local faves: Lei’d Poke, Eddie V’s, Roll Play Grill, Tysons Biergarten, Earls, Scott Run (175 acres of public park land, 104 acres of which exist already and 71 acres of which are planned), Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Stops to Metro Center: 10-13
Metro stop: Ballston-MU (Orange/Silver Line)
Overview: In its heyday, Ballston was ahead of the urban planning curve. In 1951, the neighborhood saw a revolutionary-at-the-time suburban retail space open called Parkington. That was followed up with Ballston Common Mall in 1986, an expansive shopping center at the height of the ’80s mall craze. But the mall’s popularity waned and the space sat essentially unattended to for years. But now, the shopping center and the neighborhood is getting a much-anticipated revitalization with Ballston Quarter. The indoor/outdoor retail center is designed with the experience-minded millennial generation in mind (check out “Instagram Alley” where you can ’gram your shopping experience with pop-art backgrounds), and features a mix of popular local and national retail and restaurant brands. Around it, luxury apartments are popping up and young buyers are looking to the neighborhood’s condos for starter homes. In short, Ballston is back.
Good for: The luxury-loving renter or social media maven
Where to live: Luxury apartments abound. Try Origin Apartments, which sits atop Ballston Quarter, if you want to be in the middle of all the new action. The Waycroft at Wilson Boulevard and Glebe Road boasts a rooftop outdoor pool and an on-site Target, while 4040 Wilson offers sweeping DC views and will have NoVA’s first outpost of DC’s sophisticated gym, VIDA. 672 Flats also offers sleek interiors in the coming-up-again neighborhood. If you’re on the hunt to buy, realtors note the condo inventory is tight (especially with Amazon enticing investors to snap up nearby properties) but they’re hopeful spring will bring more listings for buyers ready to pounce.
Price range: Condos typically start at about $340,000 for a one-bedroom and into the mid- to high-$400,000s range for two-bedrooms, with high-end luxury condos reaching up to the million-dollar mark.
What’s new: What’s not? The lineup continues to expand on a rolling basis. Outposts of Drybar, DC Lash Bar, Scout & Molly’s and Potomac River Running Co. are just a few in the mix, while Punch Bowl Social, Whino, a revamped Regal Cinema and boxing studio Bash offer experiential options. Plus, two dozen restaurants are moving in, including Ted’s Bulletin, Slapfish, Sloppy Mama’s BBQ and Ice Cream Jubilee.
Local faves: One of the first to open in the reimagined Ballston Quarter, Punch Bowl Social is already becoming a go-to for locals, while the usual must-haves in a millennial-friendly neighborhood like Buzz, Rustico and Shake Shack, plus boutique fitness concepts Solidcore and Orangetheory Fitness, are also nearby and signal the walkable neighborhood is appealing to on-the-go 20- and 30-somethings.
Stops to Metro Center: 8
Stops to Tysons: 3
Next Stop, Silver
As the Metro continues its stretch out west in Loudoun County, development is taking off near the future home of the next phase of the Silver Line. Six more stops are expected to open by late 2020. Here, we take a look at the planned development spurred by the Silver Line’s anticipated arrival.
Reston Town Center
The already residentially dense Reston Town Center will get even more options in Reston Gateway. The development is slated to be a 4.8 million-square-foot mixed-use community with high-rise offices, more than 2,000 residences, two hotels, shops and restaurants.
Thirty percent of the project will be open space with 7.23 acres of parks, plus athletic fields, or, in lieu of a field, space for a performing arts center is still on the table. Also look for Reston Crescent, which is currently creating buzz because it will be home to the area’s first Wegmans. In total, Reston Crescent will take up eight blocks with offices, residential, a hotel and more than 8 acres of green space.
Major development is planned at this station with Innovation Center Station South, a 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use development that will house more than 1,000 multifamily units, more than 1 million square feet of office space, a hotel and retail. Innovation Center Station North will bring two major communities to the Metro stop. DWC Holdings’ The Hub will feature 1,265 multifamily units, 400,000 square feet of retail, 350 hotels rooms and 3.5 million square feet of office space. The Waterside will include 2,595 residential units, 350 hotel rooms and 500,000 square feet of retail.
The Pomeroy Cos. is also laying some ground space near the metro stop with two mixed-use developments: Aurora Station at Dulles (1,031 residences made up of multifamily, townhomes and single family homes, recreation spaces, retail and commercial spaces) and 1 Sunrise Valley (1,113 residences, elementary school and commercial space). Both projects will take up 80 acres.
Herndon residents can look forward to Woodland Park East, a development that will feature a mix of townhomes and apartments—plus 200,000 square feet of retail, a 6.1-acre public park and nearly 3 acres of private open space. The town is also in talks to bring an arts center and other opportunities aimed at revitalizing the downtown area. Plans for the art center, along with residential and retail, from Comstock Herndon Venture LC were withdrawn in June 2018, but the firm is still in talks to work on the revitalization.
When the Dulles Airport station finally opens, travelers will be able to skip the parking lot in favor of public transport. The station will be located in front of daily garage No. 1. Airport travelers will be able to access the existing underground moving walkways from the station to the terminal by escalator.
A massive mixed-use development was proposed to go near the Loudoun Gateway Station but 280 acres of it were sold last year for a data center. Noise restrictions are also making it difficult for housing to be built. “As the airport authority, we are big proponents of not building residential properties in the flight pattern noises,” says Marcia McAllister, representative for the Dulles Metro Rail Project. “Development around [the station] was always looked at as being low-rise commercial development.”
Public meetings were held about the noise in the area and new studies were done. A final report by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority was expected in February.
Ashburn is already a major player in the Northern Virginia real estate scene, but with the addition of a Metro stop, the community continues to grow. Comstock Herndon Ventures LC is already moving forward on Phase 2 of Loudoun Station, which was approved for 1,159 residential units, 166,145 square feet of retail and garage parking for 3,741 spaces, 1,500 of which will be for Metro.
The 24-acre Gramercy District, which sits north of the station, will be home to a 2.8 million-square-foot development of 2,105 residential units and more and is being touted as a “smart city” that will be fully connected. Gramercy also has plans for hotel, office and business center space, 150,000 square feet of retail and two parking garages. Moorefield rounds out the major development happening around Ashburn Station and this one has been on the books for quite a while. The 592-acre development is owned by Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and will house up to 6,000 homes and 10 million square feet of commercial and retail space.
Lynn Norusis, Realtor, is a longtime writer who has covered the local real estate market since 2006 and is a real estate agent with the FOCUS on NoVA Real Estate team of Century 21 Redwood Realty.