An appealing urban enclave just off Columbia Pike in Arlington
By Audrey Hoffer April 6
Roughly five miles from the White House and one block from Columbia Pike at the intersection of 11th Street and South Walter Reed Drive in Arlington, Va., a little corner has emerged as a new residential enclave.
Columbia Place condominiums ascend as a low-rise, four-story, red-brick building atop yellow-brick, street-level retail storefronts. It’s a wholly urban setting with plenty of pedestrians, cars, buses, bikers, shops, commercial services, apartment buildings, townhouses and older single-family houses.
Judi and David Specht were attracted to the community in part because of its 94 Walk Score, a ranking from 0 to 100 (with 100 as tops) that refers to the walkability to nearby shops and eateries and commuting distance by car, bus or bike. “I liked the idea that it’s a boutique condo and not a giant building,” said Judi Specht. “I can run errands on foot, and we can easily walk to restaurants and bars.”
Big for the price: Columbia Place comprises 14 condo units, each with a parking spot inside or out on a first-come basis. Eight are sold, and six are for sale. The first occupants moved in in early April.
“We have interest from a mix of people,” said Eric Tomlinson, sales manager with McWilliams Ballard, the company handling marketing and sales for Evergreene Homes, the builder. “Both young professionals and downsizers have visited and bought units. People like the new construction, and there’s not a lot in the area.”
Tanise Iqbal moved there from a rental in Alexandria. It’s her first home purchase. “I liked the newness of the building. It was appealing and affordable, and there’s a lot there to work with and make my own,” she said. She extended the hardwood flooring from the entry hall, kitchen and living room into the two bedrooms.
Noah Flaks moved into a top-floor unit from a Clarendon rental. “I saw pictures of the model online and liked them and went to take a look,” he said. He also added hardwood floors throughout the unit but not much else.
“It already included all sorts of extras, so I only had to put up window treatments,” he said. Arya, his cat, also likes the new space, he added. “There are a lot of windows, so she roams from window to window on the ledge.”
The Spechts plan to move in early May from their rental in Pentagon City. They’re new to the Washington region, having moved from Cincinnati about six months ago. During that time, they drove around to get an idea of places to live and properties to buy, “but we kept coming back to this one,” she said. “We loved the size. In D.C., we didn’t find anything this big for this price.”
Their unit is also on the fourth floor. “It’s high up. We can see the Army Navy Country Club and lots of treetops,” she added.
Before they settle in, “someone will come in to do lighting and window coverings. We had to insert some personality,” she said.
At 1,126 square feet, the smallest model is spacious and light-filled even on the second floor. The windows are large, and the building’s corner location offers unobstructed views and light flow. There are plenty of closets, and a full-size washer and dryer are behind a door off the kitchen. The kitchens and bathrooms have a contemporary look with brushed nickel fixtures and designer faucets. The kitchen bar is raised higher than the counter “so it’s nice and comfortable to sit at,” Tomlinson said.
What’s nearby: Winkler Botanical Preserve offers a 1.5-mile loop trail for hiking and biking. Barcroft Park comprises 65 acres of grass and ball courts for sports and ball games. Douglas Park is just five acres but has a picnic shelter, gazebo, nature trails and stream running through it. The 95.5-acre Glen Carlyn Park connects to Four Mile Run and the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) trail and boasts an amphitheater, dog park and the Long Branch Nature Center. There’s golf at the Army Navy Country Club, which is also a venue for weddings and other big affairs.
Penrose Square Giant is on Columbia Pike, a heavily commercial corridor chock full of stores for grocery shopping. There’s also Ballston Common Mall, Baileys Crossroads and Pentagon City for fashion, furnishings and dining.
Movie theaters include Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse, AMC Loews Shirlington and Regal Ballston Common 12, and plays are performed at the Signature Theatre.
Three libraries offer a good selection of books and workspace for students after school: Columbia Pike Branch, Plaza Branch and Arlington Public Library.
Schools: Patrick Henry Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle, Wakefield High.
Transit: Columbia Place is a few blocks from Arlington Boulevard and a short drive from George Washington Memorial Parkway.
It’s about a 15-minute drive to downtown Washington along Virginia Route 120/Glebe Road and Interstate 395.
Iqbal drives to work at City Center because she drops off Cosita at a dog day care in Shirlington. Flaks works in Old Town Alexandria, and that’s “a really easy, short drive,” he said. Judi Specht will catch an express bus to her office and her husband, David, will drive to work in Manassas.
1107 S. Walter Reed Dr., Arlington, Va.
The condominiums are priced from $539,900 to $589,900. The builder is offering an incentive: No condo fees are required until February 2017.
Builder: Evergreene Homes
Features: There’s on-site parking, a secured bike storage area, rear-and-street entrance to lobby and elevator in the lobby. Ceilings are nine feet high; oak hardwood floors run through foyer, kitchen and living room; smoke detectors and compact fluorescent energy efficient bulbs are installed. Silestone counters are standard in kitchen and bathrooms. Cabinets are maple/cherry, and appliances are Whirlpool.
Square footage: 1,126 to 1,325
Homeowners association fee: $479 per month.
View model: By appointment.
Sales: Eric Tomlinson, 813-205-3951 or MyColumbiaPlace.com.