The neighborhood was very different when we bought our townhouse eleven years ago. Actually we bought a piece or red dirt and the promise that they would build a townhouse. Ours was the first new development of its kind in our immediate area. At that time it was a kind of pass over zone. There were nice neighborhoods all around, but we had some gas stations, warehouses and fast food outlets. It was a low rise neighborhood. But it had two big assets. There was the Dunn Loring Metro stop. We bought because the Metro was only a seven minute walk from our front door. It was also a central place on the way to Tyson Corner.
The Metro was the real key.
The Dunn Loring Metro opened in 1986, but for the first ten years of its life was almost exclusively a park and ride. Our town house complex was one of the first walking distance developments. When we bought, there were big plans to in-fill the place and increase the density to encourage transit oriented development. We had to take that on faith, but it did start to happen. Since we bought, a big town house complex developed across from the Metro. There are also high rise condos near the Metro and down Gallows Road and we have a Marriott Courtyard Hotel. But the immediate area, the one we saw outside our door, didn’t change much. It was the ugly mix of cheap warehouses and metal buildings. Now the big changes are on the way.
Most of the buildings across the street are torn down and the others soon will be. I don’t mourn the loss, except I miss the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The plans are to build something like fifteen stories high. Condos and hotels will be on the top floors with retail on the ground floors. The plan is sound. I hope it works out. Our neighborhood will be a lot better. Our town house complex will go from one of the densest developments to one of the least dense. Don’t know how many more years we will be here. The irony will probably be that we will move away just about the time the neighborhood gets walkable and nice, but after we retire and no longer have the daily need for the metro, the high value property will be less attractive. When we chose to live near the Metro, we paid more for a smaller space in order to get the better commute. That logic will probably change.
Above are the old buildings being torn down. It takes only a day or so. The buildings int he background were built a couple years ago. Ones like that will go up. They are not so pretty, but they have retail etc. And they are better than what they replace.