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Thread: Landbay K at Potomac Yards trail (Potomac Avenue and Main Line Boulevard)

  1. #11
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    But the optimist can say that all the new development is why there is now a Potomac Ave., a large park, a bike path along Potomac Ave. and the new trail along Main Line Blvd. to Braddock Rd. That area used to be terrible for cycling, and running, 5 years ago. Much nicer today. (However, the best time was when Potomac Ave. was finished but not yet open to car traffic. It was a 40-ft wide bike path for a few weeks.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingfool View Post
    The cynic in me says that it's only going to be available to residents, and the on-site bike shop will be, at best, the equivalent of the Phoenix Bikes vending machine and work stand by the Crystal City Connector.

    As for all the other fru-fru $H!T that's going into this apartment building, if you ever wonder why infill development, TOD, redevelopment/gentrification sometimes meet so much hostility, this is a large part of why. How much more stereotypical can it get than "private pet spa- connect with boutique-style personal service". Personally, I'd like to see some regular apartments be built sometime... anywhere in Alex/Arl, especially near metro. I'm OK with contractor grade everything if my rent doesn't have be $2000 a month for a "pet spa" I'll never use. Ugh... guess I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.
    The reality is that the incremental cost of building and operating amenities is low compared to the incremental rent they can get - and incremental rent for shared space can be well worth it for someone in a relatively small unit, for whom the apt is a substitute for a house that would have had room for exercise equipment (vs a fitness center) room to entertain (vs a clubroom) an outdoor space (vs pool/patio/firepit/grill) etc. In fact many older buildings are adding/renovating shared space amenities (as well as adding other in unit improvements.)

    More on topic - its nice that many new buildings are becoming more bike friendly - improved bike parking, and yeah, repair stations since most people don't want to repair their bike in their apartment.

    I really can't speak to the uses of a pet spa though

    Its also nice that the newer buildings are in

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclingfool View Post
    As for all the other fru-fru $H!T that's going into this apartment building, if you ever wonder why infill development, TOD, redevelopment/gentrification sometimes meet so much hostility, this is a large part of why. How much more stereotypical can it get than "private pet spa- connect with boutique-style personal service". Personally, I'd like to see some regular apartments be built sometime... anywhere in Alex/Arl, especially near metro. I'm OK with contractor grade everything if my rent doesn't have be $2000 a month for a "pet spa" I'll never use. Ugh... guess I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.
    Until the market for luxury apartments is sated, no sane businessperson is going to build non-luxury apartments. Every luxury apartment built is one more toward sating that demand. I doubt we'll get to a point in the DC area where "workforce housing" is built, but if the new construction can successfully sate the luxury apartment demand it should make it difficult for existing older apartment buildings to renovate themselves up into the luxury market because they won't be able to successfully compete against all of those newer luxury apartments.

  4. #14
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    WeWork and Vornado are building the glorified dorm in Crystal City. The micro units will be tiny, more like dorm rooms than traditional apts. A micro unit building is also being added in Georgetown.

    EDIT - 223 23rd St. is a different building on the same block. That building is also scheduled for a complete overhaul, but it will be a complete demolition and construction. The WeWork building is an interior demolition project, but it appears that the exterior and the main structure are being retained.
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 09-25-2014 at 02:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    Until the market for luxury apartments is sated, no sane businessperson is going to build non-luxury apartments. Every luxury apartment built is one more toward sating that demand. I doubt we'll get to a point in the DC area where "workforce housing" is built, but if the new construction can successfully sate the luxury apartment demand it should make it difficult for existing older apartment buildings to renovate themselves up into the luxury market because they won't be able to successfully compete against all of those newer luxury apartments.
    I guess I'm just constantly surprised, given the rent asked for in these luxury buildings, that there are enough people making enough $$$ in this area to keep filling those apartments and all the overpriced homes and condos for that matter. And since there are, where the hell did I get on such a wrong track in life so as not to be among them???

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    WeWork and Vornado are building the glorified dorm at 223 23rd St. in Crystal City.
    An interesting project indeed. Vornado was going to just shut the building down, but instead is converting it from an office building to these micro-units with shared kitchen & lounge spaces. Targeted more at contract workers in town for a short-term assignment than actual long-term employees. They haven't announced the rent yet either. I'll be interested to see where it shakes out.

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    I asked recently and was told by Alexandria TE&S folk that the trail dragging because Dominion has to move some underground utility lines. It should be connected down to Braddock by the end of 2014.

    As for the luxury condos, the sad fact is that housing in a walkable neighborhood near Metro is so desirable and in limited enough supply that developers can build such housing for rich people only and sell it all. I read somewhere that about half of US citizens would like to live where they can walk to shops and restaurants, but only about 20 percent actually do. As a result, walkable=luxury=can afford to keep a car around even if it isn't used much.

    Of course it remains to be seen how walkable Potomac Yard will be. It may turn out to be so mono-culturally boring that the residents would rather scratch their eyes out (or have their servants do it for them) than walk around and look at the neighborhood. OTOH, the new trail and "linear park" does have some nice playground equipment and families have been coming out to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    I asked recently and was told by Alexandria TE&S folk that the trail dragging because Dominion has to move some underground utility lines. It should be connected down to Braddock by the end of 2014.

    As for the luxury condos, the sad fact is that housing in a walkable neighborhood near Metro is so desirable and in limited enough supply that developers can build such housing for rich people only and sell it all. I read somewhere that about half of US citizens would like to live where they can walk to shops and restaurants, but only about 20 percent actually do. As a result, walkable=luxury=can afford to keep a car around even if it isn't used much.

    Of course it remains to be seen how walkable Potomac Yard will be. It may turn out to be so mono-culturally boring that the residents would rather scratch their eyes out (or have their servants do it for them) than walk around and look at the neighborhood. OTOH, the new trail and "linear park" does have some nice playground equipment and families have been coming out to use it.
    We walked around the area, and found the townhouse blocks kind of cute. The ALRIC architecture did not wow us (nor did the name.) We walked past 650Station and discussed bikes. Between the location (you can walk to Del Ray, and hardy walkers like us can walk to Crystal City or to Old Town - plus of course its easily bikeable to all those places) and the park/trail, we could definitely see the appeal - though if we had the money for a TH there we would probably pick Del Ray instead.

  9. #19
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    The park and trails at Potomac Yard are open to the general public, so they benefit more than just the nearby residents. I ride or run through that area frequently. (Well, at least I did, until I injured my quads this summer, but not at Potomac Yard.) And I don't even live in Alexandria, let alone Potomac Yard. I'm not sure what the affordable housing policy is in Alexandria, but I do know that many (most?) of the new Arlington developments have a set number of "affordable" units. (What is considered "affordable housing" is a matter of debate, and one that changes from project to project, I think.)

    Even for those who don't bike, the new transit improvements should help make the area more accessible. The Metroway bus rapid transit line opens up the park and trails to many more people, for residents from Braddock Rd. to Crystal City and eventually Pentagon City.

    With Potomac Yard in particular, the new development isn't crowding anyone out, so "gentrification" is not really an issue here. Potomac Yard started out as an industrial site, and then an abandoned wasteland until the redevelopment started. I'm not sure why the new projects are seen as a bad thing. The developments I've seen so far don't appear to be cookie-cutter in design. There seems to be an effort to have a diverse set of building facades in the townhouse sections. The larger buildings might be more drab and blocky in design, but they aren't the worst things I've ever seen. (Better than the awful Eisenhower Memorial designs from Frank Gehry, at least in my opinion.) I do wonder about the wood construction though. The apartments and condos won't be cheap. Is there going to be a problem with sound from residents above and below in those buildings?

    I'm not sure why some think that all of the new residents are going to be billionaires there. You can see the rent amounts on some of the websites. At the Bell Del Ray building, there are 1-bedroom apartments available for $1669 a month plus $100 deposit. While not cheap, it's not outrageous, especially for the DC/NoVa area. These people certainly aren't going to have live-in servants.
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 09-29-2014 at 02:22 PM.

  10. #20
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    As for the utility work, I hope it proceeds more quickly than it did at Long Bridge Drive (Old Jefferson Davis Highway). That road was supposed to open at the same time as the park. But utility work (from Verizon and the power company) delayed the road work for a long time. I think it was two years, wasn't it?

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