In local parlance, the Beltway takes on mythic proportions as an imaginary line beyond which urbanites don’t want to live. But sometimes a development crops up that challenges that assumption.
Metro Row at Vienna Station is a new NVHomes townhouse community along Lee Highway, or Virginia Route 29, slightly outside the Beltway and right off Interstate 66. It’s beckoning residents with roomy homes, a short walk to the Vienna-Fairfax Metro station and an easy drive to urban hot spots across Arlington.
“I’ve chased this property my whole career,” said Stan Settle, vice president of Timber Ridge Homes, the company that bought and developed the 16-acre property in Fairfax County, Va. “It was rezoned back in the ’90s, which made it very desirable, but the owner just sat on it,” he added.
Finally, it became available, and he bought it. Construction started early this year and is in progress now.
On a hot summer morning, bulldozers leveled red soil, and workers in hard hats staked the perimeters of houses. Numbered signs in the soil alerted prospective buyers to available homesites.
In about two years, there will be 141 three-level townhouses in clusters of six, seven or eight. Right now, there are 30, and nine have been sold.
Cristine Gollayan and her husband, Bill Armstrong, live in the nearby Mosaic District development and bought a Metro Row unit under construction. They anticipate moving in November. “What we really, really love is the spacious two-car garage and the house interior, and the rooftop terrace, and that it’s walking distance to shopping and Metro, which is good for work and entertainment,” she said.
“We say the community is close and connected,” said Shay Carson Onorio, with Red Thinking, who’s marketing Metro Row for NVHomes. “The profile of prospective buyers walking in is wide. Young families with a small child, others looking to move up from Mosaic where they’re renting and now want to buy. There’s a progression of people moving from North Arlington westward. It’s a nod to the Metro.”
“They all want to be near transportation and shops, so location is a big drawing point,” said Matt Alion, with DBM, who’s marketing the property in partnership with Onorio.
Rooftop parties: Three floor plans are available. The Merrifield, an end unit, and the Falls Church, an interior unit, have rear double garages and rear entrances. The Rosslyn has a single front-facing garage, front entrance and elevator option. All are 50 feet deep with extra-long driveways. Guest parking spaces are scattered around the property.
Exterior facades are brick — there’s a brick stoop, slightly covered entry and bronze casement windows. Sound-resistant glass will be installed in the windows facing Lee Highway.
The flat roof is a distinctive feature compared with many Colonial-style new builds in the Northern Virginia area, Settle said. “When buyers come, what they see first is important.”
Residents can build expansive decks on the backside of the house, 15 to 17 feet wide and 10 feet deep. “We got the deck option with a sliding door off the kitchen and the roof terrace option,” Gollayan said. “There’s nothing like rooftop parties, viewing the sunset with a glass of wine. And the terrace is across the entire roof. Where we live now, we have only a four-person rooftop.”
Being able to step outside is important. “We did a study with consultants and found that people want outdoor living space,” Onorio said.
Decorative fence: An open living area includes a kitchen, dining area and great room with an optional fireplace. Upstairs, the owner’s bedroom is at one end and two smaller bedrooms, which can be made into one larger one, are opposite, maximizing privacy and separateness. Two bathrooms and laundry appliances are in between.
“The site had a lot of [topography] from one end to the other,” said Settle, describing the varying grade on the property, which sits on a hill, “but through good urban engineering, we were able to develop it.”
For example, he put in gray masonry retaining walls along Lee Highway and topped them with a galvanized silver fence as a decorative element. Together, they meld visually with silver signage at the entrance. “It’s a detail but part of the overall look, which is what people buy into,” Alion said.
Shopping: The Mosaic District is a popular destination because of abundant retail, dining and entertainment venues. Downtown Vienna is also nearby and boasts a Whole Foods, Giant and Harris Teeter. A Fairfax Circle redevelopment with shops, restaurants and housing less than a mile down Lee Highway is in the works.
Schools: Marshall Road Elementary, Luther Jackson Middle, Oakton High.
Transit: The Vienna-Fairfax Metro station on the Orange Line is a half-mile walk. There are 54 bike racks and 68 lockers. The developer is installing a traffic light at the corner of Lee Highway and Metro Row to ensure residents’ safety as they cross Lee Highway. By car, the location is off Interstate 66 at Exit 62. Dulles International Airport is 15 minutes west and Reagan National Airport is 20 to 30 minutes east.
9314 Sweetbay Magnolia Ct., Fairfax, Va.
The 141 three-level townhouses are priced from $799,990 to $879,990.
Features: All units are 50 feet deep. Ceilings are nine feet high on all levels, and windows are single hung. The exterior is composed of brick and James Hardie plank siding. Indoors, there are four phone-cable outlets, a ceiling-fan pre-wire and Nest thermostats. The kitchen has granite counters, hardwood floor and GE stainless-steel appliances. Bathrooms have elongated and comfort height toilets.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 4 / 3 to 4
Square footage: 2,261 to 2,697
Homeowners association fee: $121 per month through 2016 and $111 per month thereafter.
View model: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Sales: Iman Elagazy, 571-748-9528 or metrorownv.com