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Old 12-29-2011, 08:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irvine View Post
Most people that moved into Arlington in the 80s and 90s knew that Metro was about to bring high rise development. It was common knowledge. In fact there were a few high rises built in anticipation of Metro in the 60s. The county sector plan assumed that the old 1920s-50s storefronts in Clarendon would all be demolished. There were no historic preservation guidelines then. So Clarendon becoming a retail center once again and retaining some older low rise architecture was mostly serendipitous.

In response to the issues on design that were brought up, I doubt that Arlington will ever be comfortable with contemporary architectural styles. And the county is generally opposed to anything by architects in the vanguard: Zaha Hadid, Diller & Scofidio, Machado & Silvetti, Morphosis, MAD, 3XN, MVRDV, REX, Preston Scott Cohen, Michael Maltzan, etc.... Forget Gehry, he's old hat. At least we have Harry Weese's famous DC Metro stations.

Here's MAD's Absolute Towers in a Toronto Suburb, Mississauga, Canada. This will never happen here.
MAD architects: absolute towers nearing completion

Even this project for White Flint in Bethesda would never happen in Arlington:
White Flint - Greater Greater Washington
I don't quite understand that. We need Alicia Bradley to return and remind us how some of the folks in the Midwest can be far more imaginative than East Coast-types when it comes to things like food and buildings. Def Leppard is still popular in Mississauga, but they are willing to go for something like the Absolute Towers.

What do you think of the planned new building for Wakefield HS in South Arlington? For a public high school in NoVa, this seemed like an imaginative (and expensive) project:

http://wakefieldalumni.org/E-1Wakefi...evelopment.pdf

Last edited by JD984; 12-29-2011 at 09:12 AM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:11 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Some people in Arlington loved the area pre-Metro. During the period surrounding the Metro construction, there was uncertainty as to what the redevelopment would entail, and over what period of time, which led to some additional vacancies along the commercial corredors and reduced short-term rental rates in areas like Clarendon. You might find this article interesting:

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/08/17/tidbits9.html

Once the redevelopment occurred, commercial activity increased, as did rental rates. On balance, I don't think there's any question that the redevelopment has increased the values of the surrounding SFH communities as well, but that's little consolation to those residents who (1) preferred Arlington when it was less developed and/or (2) would prefer a sleepier and, perhaps, more affordable Arlington. It's not a perfect analogy by any means, but Arlington with less development would probably look more like Silver Spring (which has certainly had a fair amount of redevelopment, but at a pace that has lagged Arlington), and there are definitely some people who prefer Silver Spring to Arlington.
Im not sure that in the absence of the metro that Arlington would have stayed the same. There were hirises built in the inner and middle suburbs before metro (see my uncommented on thread, the future that was Part 2) and IIUC part of the rationale the county had for development in the orange and blue line corridors was to PRESERVE the low density areas from scattered hi rises.

But anyway, what I wonder, is how anyone who moved in once metro was under construction would have been surprised at what happened.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Def Leppard is still popular in Mississauga, but they are willing to go for something like the Absolute Towers.
Oh, like you don't rock out to "Photograph" in the privacy of your automobile when it comes on the radio? Come on, man--fess up...
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
Im not sure that in the absence of the metro that Arlington would have stayed the same. There were hirises built in the inner and middle suburbs before metro (see my uncommented on thread, the future that was Part 2) and IIUC part of the rationale the county had for development in the orange and blue line corridors was to PRESERVE the low density areas from scattered hi rises.

But anyway, what I wonder, is how anyone who moved in once metro was under construction would have been surprised at what happened.
I don't know that, at the time, people would have fully anticipated either the extent of the growth in the DC region or the degree to which people moving to condos and other apartments in Arlington would try to stay there as they got older and purchased single-family homes. As they say, hindsight is 20-20. Maybe it's all laid out in some planning document written in 1966, but how many people really read this stuff?

Part of what I'm inferring from at least one other poster is that he'd be happier if Arlington had stayed the way it was in the 1960s or 1970s with neighborhoods of untouched homes from the 1930s to 1950s and perhaps, slightly better retail. In that era, most people who wanted a bigger house would just move further out, rather than build an addition or a new "McMansion" on North Ivanhoe or some other street in Arlington.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:44 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,739 posts, read 8,953,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
Part of what I'm inferring from at least one other poster is that he'd be happier if Arlington had stayed the way it was in the 1960s or 1970s with neighborhoods of untouched homes from the 1930s to 1950s and perhaps, slightly better retail. In that era, most people who wanted a bigger house would just move further out, rather than build an addition or a new "McMansion" on North Ivanhoe or some other street in Arlington.
Indeed, if it had been up to me, in 1945 Arlington would have slapped a historic restriction on every structure in existence, forbidding the destruction or wanton revision thereof. I know--not realistic, but hey, I love anything built back then and hate just about everything built thereafter, with a few exceptions.

Additions don't bother me so long as they're reasonable and don't take up half of the backyard or tower over the neighboring houses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
Im not sure that in the absence of the metro that Arlington would have stayed the same. There were hirises built in the inner and middle suburbs before metro (see my uncommented on thread, the future that was Part 2) and IIUC part of the rationale the county had for development in the orange and blue line corridors was to PRESERVE the low density areas from scattered hi rises.
If that's what the County told people then, I'd bet they were lying through their teeth. Because much of the low density housing within a quarter-mile of any Metro stop along the R-B corridor has turned high-density.

North of Ballston used to be large old farmhouses on double lots; now it's townhouses and fairly tall condo buildings. At EFC, on Washington Blvd., it used to be several little ramblers; now it's townhouses except for the one last rambler (owned by the folks who had a farm stand on the site years ago). Just west of Ballston on Carlin Springs, there were two beautiful old houses on large lots overlooking the junction with N. George Mason Drive. I was stunned and kind of heartbroken when they tore these down earlier this year; they were actually large, and one (a grand two-story colonial made of field stone) had a two-car garage. And of course, there's the County-subsidized housing they just built on top of the Baptist Church in Clarendon.

So the arrival of the Metro has not preserved the low-density housing that was there before.

In addition: I realize there are low- and mid-rise apartment buildings that predate the Metro, built somewhat near low-density areas--e.g., Buckingham and a few 1930s buildings visible on the north side of Lee Highway, north of Lyon Village. But I don't believe there was ever a risk that these would be built WITHIN low-density areas; the zoning prevents that, and the neighborhood outcry would be too much if they tried to change the zoning (as the County now loves to do).

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 12-29-2011 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,777 posts, read 10,687,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
If that's what the County told people then, I'd bet they were lying through their teeth. Because much of the low density housing within a quarter-mile of any Metro stop along the R-B corridor has turned high-density.

er the low density areas in OTHER parts of the county was what I meant. Sorry for being unclear. I meant they were trying to CONCENTRATE the hi rises near the metro, to avoid the scattering of hi rises elsewhere - the way there are hi rises down the 395 corridor, and hi rises in annandale and on rte 50 and so forth. And the way Arlington was already developing then, with hi rises along Four Mile Run.

Heck, there are hi rises on Columbia Pike from the old days.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I don't quite understand that. We need Alicia Bradley to return and remind us how some of the folks in the Midwest can be far more imaginative than East Coast-types when it comes to things like food and buildings. Def Leppard is still popular in Mississauga, but they are willing to go for something like the Absolute Towers.

What do you think of the planned new building for Wakefield HS in South Arlington? For a public high school in NoVa, this seemed like an imaginative (and expensive) project:

http://wakefieldalumni.org/E-1Wakefi...evelopment.pdf
The new Wakefield HS might be the best of the three new buildings. We'll see when it's built. Right now, the Yorktown HS building is my favorite. Perkins & Eastman is the designer. The new W-L building is above average for the area, but nothing exceptional in terms of design and program. The architects did do a good job breaking up the large megablock however, with pathways and a new driveway that crosses the site. The one downside to Wakefield is that most students are bused to the school, because it's at the edge of the county and near major multi-lane roads. So it will never be a very walkable school.

The best architecture firms for public schools in my opinion are Perkins & Will, Perkins & Eastman, Allied Works in Portland, and the SOM school design studio. Morphosis and Coop Himmelblau also have some interesting projects. With the exception of Perkins and Eastman these firm's don't have work in Arlington, but they do in DC and Baltimore.

Public hs by Allied Works
Booker T. Washington High School, Dallas, Texas, Allied Works Architecture | Architectural Record | Schools of the 21st Century | Features
Public elem school by SOM
www.SOM.com | Burr Street Elementary School (http://www.som.com/content.cfm/burr_street_elementary_school - broken link)
Public hs in Pomona by Morphosis
Diamond Ranch High School | Morphopedia | Morphosis Architects

I always thought Def Leppard was cool, but I was too young to really appreciate the their music, so I can't knock em. Fugazi was the band every kid in DC was obsessed with in the 90s.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:50 PM
 
2,673 posts, read 4,526,496 times
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Carlingtonian, thanks for your response too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post

So it sounds like you're saying, basically: "Arlington's kid population boomed in the last 20 years just as the school buildings really began to fall apart, so we had to goose up the school budget. That money had to come from somewhere, so thank goodness we have all the condos and office buildings and not just the same type of low-rise development that was there before the Metro."

The problem I see is that from what I've read, the Arlington kid population didn't really start to boom again until very recently. Whereas the County budget started these major increases when--10 years ago at least?

The other issue is: ARE we paying our teachers and cops more than other jurisdictions? Something tells me all that money is probably going to consultants (which the County government seems to LOVE to hire) and administrators.

And finally: The Baby Boom of post-WWII hit Arlington (and most of America) like a tsunami, and they didn't build huge condos then. They did build a lot, but as we all know, it was mostly houses and two-story apartment buildings. Yet somehow they had enough tax revenue to keep the County going.
No, I wouldn't agree with how you are characterizing my position. I didn't present any #s about any boom in the past 20 years in the # of kids in Arl. schools. I have no data to suggest that there has been a boom and that that is the reason why school spending has gone up so much. Maybe there has been a huge increase. I'm aware there has been about a 20% uptick in the past five years, but that alone can't account for a 60% increase in budget over 10 years. I instead raised questions, but didn't have the answers, about WHY there has been a huge increase, and tried to address your question by offering POSSIBLE reasons why Arl. school's could have been so good in the past without so much spending, and whether Arl. should change its policies in the future.

My #s showed that there has been a HUGE increase in the absolute $ spent on Arl. schools in the past 9-10 years, and that there has been a huge increase in the slice of the overall budget pie devoted to schools during this time.

My main point was that anyone who is concerned that Arl. isn't devoting enough $ to schools should look into how this money has been spent and how it will be spent going forward, rather than try to squeeze out the parts of the budget that may have actually declined in real terms in order to allow Arl. to devote more to schools, which may be desired by other Arl. residents, or which MAY produce good bang for the buck -- I don't have the evidence to know that. My second point is that unless that development brought in more families with kids than it did businesses, non-parent households, or other new residents who pay more in tax than they get in Co. services, including schools, then parents of school age kids should not be so quick to criticize the development, as their kids are direct beneficiaries of this.

If you are now raising a new question about why all the development now, given that SFHs were built for past generations, put yourself in the shoes of the county leaders over time. Just as with any other thriving metro area, as more and more people demand housing in close-in suburbs (that are otherwise desirable), what happens to the highest and best use of the land? The County can do much much more, and/or keep property taxes much lower, if it allows some developers to put up 10 story luxury condos and apartments and gets the huge increase in tax revenue each year from residents, on the same land where two small SFHs could be built. As an extreme example, no one would expect to find a 1500 square foot SFH with a yard in Manhattan. We're not as far on that continuum as Manhattan, but it's the same principle.

And Arlington absolutely HAS restricted some development. About 5 years ago it compromised with neighborhood leaders, developers, and others to restrict building relative to lot size. Some residents thought they should have gone farther; others thought they went too far, restricting owners' rights to add on, too much. There are many zoning laws in place in the past and today to preserve SFH neighborhoods. Arl. Co. has orderly processes for getting residents' inputs on new development, though I know at least one neighborhood leader who believes the County does not listen nearly well enough to residents' objections. I would also point out the example of the successful neighborhood opposition to the baseball stadium here, as showing that Arl. does not simply do whatever the big money wants in every case.

Have you actually compared real taxes from those generations of long ago, versus today? Are you sure in real terms they paid so much less? And, have you compared the taxes you are paying compared to the taxes you would pay for a comparable house in New Jersey - or even in most midwestern cities, assuming you match quality of school systems and other services to Arlington's (and I consider them a B/B+, not an A)? For example, the house we used to own in one of those midwestern cities is bigger and nicer than the one we have here, but comparably located in terms of neighborhood and school quality (with worse police and none of many other services Arl. offers). It now has a value of about 60% of our Arl. house's value. But the taxes the current owner of that house pays are slightly less than double what we now pay in Arlington--and there was a city income tax. That neighborhood had few apartments and condos, and few businesses, and lots of the residents had kids in schools. It is clear that Arl. kids, and their parents benefit from and are hugely subsidized, from the mix here.

Last edited by ACWhite; 12-29-2011 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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Sorry to all -- I seemed to have participated in hijacking a thread about Loudoun, so I won't comment further about Arl. on this thread.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
Sorry to all -- I seemed to have participated in hijacking a thread about Loudoun, so I won't comment further about Arl. on this thread.
Yes, while the discussion about Arlington and the Orange Line has been respectful and serves as a good history lesson, let's return to the original topic of Loudoun County and the impact of the Silver Line's arrival/termination.
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