Greg Jones is looking forward to Christmas in his new townhouse in the Ambrose Hills development in Falls Church, Va. So is his family, who will be driving up from North Carolina and down from New York to celebrate together in the home he’ll have just moved into.

Ambrose Hills is the latest Stanley Martin Homes venture in the close-in metro area. The little neighborhood in Fairfax County is less than eight miles west of downtown Washington. It overlooks the busy commercial Columbia Pike corridor and is close to Arlington and Alexandria.

Jones works in the financial world in a Springfield office, “which is pretty close,” he said. “But I’ll be moving to a Falls Church office very soon, and then I’ll be only three minutes from my office. This was the best move ever.”

Four levels of living space: Eight townhouses along Powell Lane at the intersection of Columbia Pike — Phase I — are delivery-ready. Some units in Phase II will be released for sale this winter. A total of 77 will be built over Phases II and III, which are currently a work in progress.

Bulldozers scooped mounds of soil and roving tractors drove deep, wide imprints on the flattened ground on a recent afternoon. Workers in hard hats and lime-green vests moved quickly across the 11.69-acre property trying to get as much construction done as possible before a bitter cold settles over the region.


The main living area has an open-concept kitchen, dining area and living room. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

The four-story townhouses have windows front and back so rooms are bright. The entry level in front opens to a lounge-like room, which can be designed as an office, and in back leads to the garage.

Up the stairs is the main living area with an open-concept kitchen, dining area and living room. The kitchen is L-shaped, which offers space for a rectangular table that comfortably seats six. Double-glass doors open to an outdoor deck running along the townhouse’s width in back. Come springtime, it will be a pleasure to set the table and eat outside.

Another staircase leads to the third-level sleeping area. The master bedroom has two spacious walk-in closets, and the other two bedrooms can be configured for children, guests or as a home office. The washing machine, installed in the hallway behind a closet door, is unobtrusive. A dryer is optional.

On the fourth level is a loft that can be enclosed to create another bedroom. Another glass door opens to a spacious rooftop deck. Homeowners can easily host friends and family for drinks and a meal there.

After signing a contract, buyers are directed to a design studio to pick out finishes and other interior products. Jones said he chose “hardwood floors, recessed lights and thick woodish window blinds throughout the house,” and he matched the color of bathroom floors and vanity counters.


The kitchen is L-shaped, which offers space for a rectangular table that comfortably seats six. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

What’s nearby: Open green spaces dot the wider Falls Church area and offer multiple destinations to take the family or kids for a breath of fresh air. Just down Columbia Pike in Annandale is Mason District Park, with grass, picnic tables and a playground. The 65-acre Barcroft Park in Arlington has ball fields, basketball hoops and batting cages. Alexandria’s Holmes Run Stream Valley Park is a meandering strip of parkland with trees, grass and trees running through residential neighborhoods and boasts play equipment and benches.

Winkler Botanical Preserve, also in Alexandria, offers a 1.4-mile trail and waterfall. Dora Kelly Nature Park, named after an Alexandria resident who loved nature, attracts children with environmental classes and its nature center and animals.

A favorite dog-walking spot, Green Spring Gardens has ponds, woods and a native-plant garden. It also has a horticultural reference library.

Fairfax County Public Library at 12000 Government Center Pkwy. offers Internet and English-conversation classes; hosts adult reading clubs and school-age reading programs; and staffs a genealogy expert and librarian for personalized research help.


Double-glass doors open to an outdoor deck running along the townhouse’s width in back. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Shopping and dining: There’s no shortage of grocery stores, restaurants and commercial retail on Columbia Pike; and Baileys Crossroads, Seven Corners and Leesburg Pike Plaza aren’t far.

In Falls Church proper, there are banking, bike repair, furniture, clothing, shipping and packaging, camera, home security, toy, music, jewelry, flower, liquor, ice cream, pizza and carryout establishments. Ethnic restaurants offer Afghan, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Mexican and Asian cuisine. Full Kee (Chinese) Restaurant on Columbia Pike is a favorite of Wayne Ference, a CPA who lives near Ambrose Hills with his partner. “We’ve been there several times. It tastes good and is authentic,” he said.

Schools: Belvedere Elementary, Glasgow Middle and JEB Stuart High.

Transit: The Pentagon is 6.3 miles away, Tysons Corner is 7.7 miles and Reagan National Airport  is 5.5 miles. Ballston Metro station on the Orange and Silver lines is 3.2 miles away. Arlington Transit (ART) 42 operates weekdays between Ballston and the Pentagon Metro stations and ART 41, called Pike Ride, operates between the Columbia Pike west area and North Arlington.

Ference drives daily to Old Town Alexandria. “It’s pretty quick to get there, just under six miles and you don’t have to get on the highway,” he said.

Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.

Ambrose Hills

3710 Powell Lane, Falls Church, Va.

The townhouses are priced from $659,850 to $680,725. The builder is offering $10,000 toward closing costs if buyers use its lender, First Heritage Mortgage.

Builder: Stanley Martin Homes

Features: All the townhouses come with a two-car rear-loading garage and rec room, rooftop terrace and adjoining loft , and a deck off the kitchen. Energy Star windows, refrigerator and dishwasher are installed, along with a security system with keypad, exterior-door contacts and motion detector. The kitchen includes granite counters and 42-inch birch flat-paneled cabinets. The bathroom fixtures are by Kohler.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3/4

Square-footage: 2,230 to 2,252

Homeowner association fee: $115 per month

View model: 1 to 6 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Sales: Rhonda Shapiro, 571-266-9172 or www.StanleyMartin.com .