Alexandria's new Beauregard Manor cluster, where townhouses start at $149,600, has a "very convenient location," says the sales brochure for the 34-unit project.
To make sure prospective buyers get the point, the flyer contains a big map of the surrounding area. Snaking down Columbia Pike and Seminary Road is a dotted line indicating a "planned" Metro line with a station on Rte. 236 just a short walk away.
Rubber-stamped on the map are the words "Locations for planned and future Metro stations are not assured." According to Metro and Northern Virginia officials, the route not only is not assured, it is dead.
Metro spokesman Cody Pfanstiehl said yesterday that Northern Virginia officials 12 years ago cast aside the Columbia Pike route in favor of two other ones. "Holding out to the public the possibility that Metrorail will be going by the development," he said, "is like trying to sell swampland in Florida."
Pfanstiel also took issue with develper-builder Maurice DeGroff's assertion that his brochure's map and a similar one in the project sales office were based on a map he received from Metro "late last year."
"There has been no dotted line down that corridor since 1968," Pfanstiel said.
DeGroff, who has been building houses in Northern Virginia for 16 years, defended his maps."We're just doing what any business would do," he said, "using Metro as a tool."
Pointing out that he ordered a caveat to be rubber-stamped on the brochure, he said: "I don't know what else we can do, except throw away 5,000 brochures, and I don't think a $10,000-$12,000 item should be thrown out."
DeGroff said it wasn't until four months ago that he learned from a salesman that the route wasn't likely to be built. He allowed, however, that he hadn't been paying much attention to the transit system's plans anyway. "If I believed everything I heard about Metro, I'd go crazy."
He dismissed the fact that Metro decided years ago to build a rail system that would not include the Columbia Pike corridor -- and has never reconsidered the route. "Metro turns on and off every day about what they're going to do," DeGroff said. "They've reinstated other lines. We can't judge intentions.Metro has misled a lot of people about its intentions."
V. W. Bowden, one of the two buyers in Beauregard Manor, which is still under construction, said yesterday he was surprised to learn that there will be no subway station by his house. "They put words in my mouth" about the possibility of a route, he said.
Bowden said he was "anticipating Metro would enhance my property." He also called DeGroff "one of the finest builders in Northern Virginia. . . He's been good to me. He's been doing everything in the world."
Beauregard Manor is one of a number of small-scale developments that have been built on miscellaneous parcels in Alexandria and Arlington in recent years. The locations, especially those near existing subway stations or ones under construction, have been extremely popular with buyers looking for quick, cheap and convenient transportation to Washington.
While no Metrorail will be going by Beauregard Manor, it is located near the Landmark Shopping Center and it is only a few minutes from Shirley Highway.