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Old 07-08-2018, 05:55 PM
 
15 posts, read 22,964 times
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My husband and I are in our early 30s, no children yet, and looking for a place to live. He'll be mostly working in Woodbridge, but will also have to commute to McClean and Oxon Hill a few times a week. My parents live and friends are largely in Maryland and DC so we don't want to be too far south for easier accessibility. We looked at Kingstowne and Cameron Station communities and like both of them but aren't sure about which one to focus on. We're planning to rent a townhouse/condo for a year or two before buying.Any thoughts on the pros and cons of these communities? We personally liked the seemingly walkable nature of Cameron but the proximity to most of the major needs (movies, grocery stores, restaurants) in Kingstowne. Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 07-08-2018, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,565 posts, read 33,287,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftrdro View Post
My husband and I are in our early 30s, no children yet, and looking for a place to live. He'll be mostly working in Woodbridge, but will also have to commute to McClean and Oxon Hill a few times a week. My parents live and friends are largely in Maryland and DC so we don't want to be too far south for easier accessibility. We looked at Kingstowne and Cameron Station communities and like both of them but aren't sure about which one to focus on. We're planning to rent a townhouse/condo for a year or two before buying.Any thoughts on the pros and cons of these communities? We personally liked the seemingly walkable nature of Cameron but the proximity to most of the major needs (movies, grocery stores, restaurants) in Kingstowne. Thanks for any thoughts!
If you are planning to have kids and need pubic schools, that slides the needle to Kingstowne. I'm a unapologetic financial and otherwise supporter of Alexandria City Public Schools, but just can't deny that ACPS (Cameron Station) is an inferior quality system to Fairfax County PS (Kingstowne.) The elementary school that serves Cameron Station is solid (Samuel Tucker IIRC), it's the middle school situation that is really troublesome in ACPS. Also Cameron Station doesn't have the greatest surrounding area. Landmark and Duke St aren't awful by any stretch but I'd feel a little better in quieter Kingstowne, even though it is slowly becoming as congested as Landmark/Duke St.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:36 AM
 
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As a former resident of Kingstowne, with many friends living in Cameron Station, hands down I would recommend Kingstowne. As would a few of my friends in CS. Schools are a big factor, but if you metro, and need to take a car to the station, Springfield-Franconia metro has much better parking than anything near Cameron Station. As far as the walkability of CS..not sure it better than KT. Miles of wooded trails in KT. If you are referring to urban type walkability, that part of Duke isn't the most scenic. Walking to say Harris Teeter, is going to be as long as walking to any of the shops in Kingstowne. Kingstowne provides excellent access to 395 and 95 and 495, via different roads, while you have to get on Duke and Van Dorn to get to 495 or 395, looks easy, but can really back up at key times. Also getting to Woodbridge from KT is easier. He can take 95 or Rt 1, depending on where and when he is going. From CS he would be limited to 95S and or drive by KT to get to Rt 1, if you get what I mean. I actually love the look of CS, and have been in some nice TH's and one condo there, but found the lack of yards and the layout with garages behind the houses, with your patio facing someones garage to be annoying. Everything you do on your Patio is shared with your neighbors. There are TH's in KT that are very close, but the majority back up to trees or open areas.

(excuse any weird typos..new kitten who likes to walk on keyboard, and sometimes I don't catch them all!)
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:43 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,772 posts, read 10,674,733 times
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Kingstowne is what it is, a planned community (sounds like that is what you lean towards, and I guess looking at a townhouse) with some walking paths, community rec facilities, and a decent enough town center. And beyond what is in Kingstowne itself, close to renovated Springfield Mall (they call it a town center, I think, but the outdoor walkable part is not done yet) and other nearby shops and restaurants.

Cameron Station is quite nice in my opinion. There is only a small bit of walkable retail inside the development itself, though what there is is nice and the development is very walkable (I was there yesterday on a bike ride, and stopped at the coffee shop). But you are very close to Ben Brenman Park which is very nice. Right across Duke Street is the Alexandria central library, which you should go see. Via either the route to the library, or Ben Brenman, you can get to the Holmes Run Trail. Its particularly good for biking (access up through west alexandria, or down to Eisenhower and then on to Old Town) but plenty of people walk there. The old Landmark mall is empty now, and will not be redeveloped in the time that you are leasing, but there are a bunch of other retail outlets nearby - notably a Total Wine big box store, and a bunch of ethnic restaurants on Van Dorn. One of the region's best breweries, Port City is close by. Its not terribly far on Eisenhower to Old Town (though I suppose from Kingstowne its not that far either, but you need to drive on the interstate from there)

There is a bit more walkable style development happening adjacent to Cameron Station, on Pickett, but that is still not an attractive street to walk on now.

Note, for access to the metro, I believe CS has a shuttle to the Van Dorn metro. There are also lots of buses on Duke Street. Though personally I think the best mode of transportation from CS is biking (no I wouldnt bike to Woodbridge from there, and while I just might bike to Tysons, I realize most people won't - I am thinking more to get to the metro, to Old Town, etc)

I can't speak to the schools. Though I would say schools concerns, paradoxically, mean you SHOULD lease in CS. You will likely end up buying in Kingstowne (I would love to see Francis Hammond Middle School be considered desirable to people with choices, but sadly that is not likely to be the case in the next few years, AFAICT) You can easily look for a home in Kingstowne while living in CS. If you lease in Kingstowne now, you will miss that chance to have lived closer in, in a different (somewhat) kind of place.

Last edited by brooklynborndad; 07-09-2018 at 07:57 AM..
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA - Kingstowne Subdivision
390 posts, read 452,765 times
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I work in Kingstowne and live in Kingstowne, and my kids go to Lane Elementary School, so my opinion is biased.

Kingstowne is the clear winner in my opinion.

If you're going to have kids soon, comparing the public school ratings for the elementary schools that serve the communities would make Kingstowne the clear winner.

Cameron Station
Cameron Elementary School


Kingstowne
Lane Elementary School - the majority of Kingstowne students, attend Lane.
Hayfield Elementary School - there's a sliver of Kingstowne that attends Hayfield Elementary.
Franconia Elementary School - in Kingstowne North, a small percentage of students at Franconia.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:56 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,772 posts, read 10,674,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Walker View Post
I work in Kingstowne and live in Kingstowne, and my kids go to Lane Elementary School, so my opinion is biased.

Kingstowne is the clear winner in my opinion.

If you're going to have kids soon, comparing the public school ratings for the elementary schools that serve the communities would make Kingstowne the clear winner.

Cameron Station
Cameron Elementary School


Kingstowne
Lane Elementary School - the majority of Kingstowne students, attend Lane.
Hayfield Elementary School - there's a sliver of Kingstowne that attends Hayfield Elementary.
Franconia Elementary School - in Kingstowne North, a small percentage of students at Franconia.

Cameron Elementary school is in Fairfax County. Cameron Station is in the City of Alexandria, and feeds Samuel Tucker ES.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA - Kingstowne Subdivision
390 posts, read 452,765 times
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good catch - brooklynborndad

Samuel Tucker has a Great School (GS) rating of 4/10 and School Digger Ranking (SDR) of 592nd of 1,099 Virginia Elementary Schools.

Lane Elementary - GS rating - 6/10 and SDR - 536th of 1,099
Hayfield Elementary - GS rating - 5/10 and SDR - 563st of 1,099
Franconia Elementary - - GS rating - 5/10 - and SDR - 464th of 1,099
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:28 PM
 
15 posts, read 22,964 times
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Thank you everyone. You all brought up some good things to consider; some of which we thought about as well (ie: living close in now vs later, the lack of personal outdoor space and the crowded feel of cameron station, the better look of the area around Kingstowne, etc) and between reading your comments and the more we think about things, the more we lean towards Kingstowne. It will likely provide the best balance of things that we need.

Another spin off question: is there any significant difference between Kingstowne and it's neighboring communities (Manchester lakes, island creek,etc)?

Last edited by ftrdro; 07-09-2018 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA - Kingstowne Subdivision
390 posts, read 452,765 times
Reputation: 348
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftrdro View Post
the more we lean towards Kingstowne. It will likely provide the best balance of things that we need.
Wise decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftrdro View Post
Another spin off question: is there any significant difference between Kingstowne and it's neighboring communities (Manchester lakes, island creek,etc)?
Yes.

Manchester Lakes is a smaller community split by Manchester Blvd and has fewer amenities than Island Creek and Kingstowne. It has a close proximity to the walkable features of Kingstowne (movie theater, dining, grocery store). You'll have a challenge finding a larger townhome in this location.

Manchester Lakes Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $5.3 million - 2018 $2.9 million - 2017 77.76%
Median Sold Price $424,850 - 2018 $429,900 - 2017 1.7%
Avg Days on Market 21 - 2018 13 - 2017 61.54%

If you're interested in the numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Manchester Lake here.

Island Creek - this is like Kingstowne little brother. Most of the townhome and single family homes are similar in design. The condos are a bit nicer in my opinion. This development is within walking distance to LA Fitness and Wegmans (Single Family homes are the closest units to Wegmans in Kingstowne).

Island Creek Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $8.5 million - 2018 $6.1 million - 2017 38.72%
Median Sold Price $498,000 - 2018 $490,000 - 2017 1.63%
Avg Days on Market 37 - 2018 25 - 2017 48.00%

If you're into numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Island Creek here.

Kingstowne Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $51.3 million - 2018 $39.1 million - 2017 31.10%
Median Sold Price $520,500 - 2018 $514,900 - 2017 1.09%
Avg Days on Market 20 - 2018 29 - 2017 -31.03%

If you're interested in the numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Kingstowne here.

Data disclaimer: Data source: MRIS. Statistics calculated June 05, 2018.
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:02 AM
 
15 posts, read 22,964 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Walker View Post
Wise decision.



Yes.

Manchester Lakes is a smaller community split by Manchester Blvd and has fewer amenities than Island Creek and Kingstowne. It has a close proximity to the walkable features of Kingstowne (movie theater, dining, grocery store). You'll have a challenge finding a larger townhome in this location.

Manchester Lakes Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $5.3 million - 2018 $2.9 million - 2017 77.76%
Median Sold Price $424,850 - 2018 $429,900 - 2017 1.7%
Avg Days on Market 21 - 2018 13 - 2017 61.54%

If you're interested in the numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Manchester Lake here.

Island Creek - this is like Kingstowne little brother. Most of the townhome and single family homes are similar in design. The condos are a bit nicer in my opinion. This development is within walking distance to LA Fitness and Wegmans (Single Family homes are the closest units to Wegmans in Kingstowne).

Island Creek Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $8.5 million - 2018 $6.1 million - 2017 38.72%
Median Sold Price $498,000 - 2018 $490,000 - 2017 1.63%
Avg Days on Market 37 - 2018 25 - 2017 48.00%

If you're into numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Island Creek here.

Kingstowne Legal Subdivision Year to Date Numbers - May 2018 (June numbers will be released on the 11th or 12th of July)

Sold Dollar Volume $51.3 million - 2018 $39.1 million - 2017 31.10%
Median Sold Price $520,500 - 2018 $514,900 - 2017 1.09%
Avg Days on Market 20 - 2018 29 - 2017 -31.03%

If you're interested in the numbers, you can view the pdf of the market report provided by the MLS for Kingstowne here.

Data disclaimer: Data source: MRIS. Statistics calculated June 05, 2018.
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