When I visited Santa Monica in January it struck me how much it reminded me of…Arlington. Arlington is now essentially a part of Northwest, at least Arlington above Route 50 or so. Arlington and Santa Monica have never been more alike, or less distinctive.Parts of east Falls Church will meld into Arlington, and south Arlington will become more like north Arlington. Real estate prices east/north of a particular line are rising and west of that line are falling. Fairfax is definitely west of that line.The Tysons Corner remake will fail, Vienna is not the new Clarendon, and the Silver Line and the monstrously wide Rt.7 will form a new dividing line between parts of Virginia which resemble Santa Monica and parts which do not.Incumbents aside, no one lives in Fairfax any more to commute into D.C. Why would you? The alternatives are getting better and Metro parking became too difficult some time ago. Fairfax is not being transformed, although some parts are morphing into “the new Shirlington.” Most of it will stay dumpy on the retail side. Annandale will stay with Fairfax, whether it likes it or not.For ten years now I have been predicting various Fairfax restaurants will close — casualties of too-high rents — and mostly I have been wrong. The good Annandale restaurants are running strong too. Annandale won’t look much better anytime soon, thank goodness for that.“Northern Virginia” is becoming two different places, albeit slowly.
January 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM EST