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Apartment Living

The Gallery's Luxuries Aren't Just for People

The Gallery at Virginia Square
The Gallery at Virginia Square (Sara Gebhardt - The Washington Post)
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By Sara Gebhardt
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dogs are important residents at the Gallery at Virginia Square.

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They roam freely in and out of common areas, including the leasing office. They stop by the front desk for treats any time of the day. There is even a Halloween costume party dedicated to them.

So it is no wonder that dog owners who want a good environment for their pets gravitate to this luxury apartment building in Arlington -- about 40 percent of tenants have dogs. The building accepts large breeds up to 75 pounds or two smaller pets up to 35 pounds each.

"This is really dog's heaven," said Carmen Blau, a resident.

In July, Blau, 45, and her foreign service officer husband, Robert, moved to a two-bedroom unit at the Gallery from Havana. Blau said that when they were overseas, their Portuguese water dog, Ana, was the target of an attempted poisoning.

"Ana had a terrible life in Cuba. She's like our child. She's a survivor," Blau said.

"You have to understand why it's so important for us to live here in this friendly environment. . . . Mainly, we came here because they accepted our dog. They accepted her, and they adopted her. She runs and plays in the house and plays with the other doggies," Blau said.

"All the employees -- they all love dogs, and they have dogs, and they talk to our dogs. They give them treats, and they treat them like they are children. And I am very happy with that."

The Gallery's location is another attraction. The 19-story building, which was built in 2002 and is managed by Archstone-Smith, backs up to the entrance of the Virginia Square Metro station.

"It's really hard to find a place that allows dogs and has such a good location," said Nikki Benevides, who moved from Canada in August to begin graduate school at Marymount University.

"It's near school, close to the Metro, and the staff's friendliness with dogs was a good sign," said Benevides, 23, of her decision to move into a 669-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in the 231-unit building.

With easy access to Interstate 66, Interstate 395 and the District, the building is convenient for those with or without a car.


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