Mark and Amanda Starbuck found a new life when they married and moved from the Court House Metro area in Arlington, Va., where they rented, to the Long Branch Creek neighborhood where they bought their first home.
“In an apartment you go out into the city, you go out and experience things. In Long Branch Creek we’re building a home,” said Mark, 32. “We know our neighbors. It just feels 100 percent different.”
A mostly residential section of south Arlington, Long Branch Creek is a diverse community where almost 75 percent of residents are renters. In addition, there are condominium buildings, townhouses, duplexes and one single-family home.
Situated not far from the Pentagon and Pentagon City, Long Branch Creek is adjacent to Four Mile Run and South Glebe Road and South Four Mile Run Drive and Interstate 395 as well as South Arlington Ridge Road. Bicycling is popular. Many residents bike to work as well as for recreation.
As you walk along the interior streets of Long Branch Creek on a Friday morning in late February, the only sound is birds chirping. “It’s quiet,” Mark said. There’s no airplane noise here, as there was in their previous neighborhood. “We just really wanted to have homeownership, something we could improve,” he said. They also wanted to stay close to the District.
Mark Starbuck drives to his job as a manager with a technology company in Tysons Corner while Amanda, also 32, bikes to work in Dupont Circle, where she works as researcher with a nonprofit.
Movies in the park: Generally, the neighborhood has a low profile. But since the Long Branch Creek Neighborhood Conservation Plan of February 2016 was drafted by the Long Branch Creek Civic Association, the area has gained attention from Arlington County. “We’re super-aware that people don’t know we’re here,” said Mark, president of the association and previously its treasurer for two years.
The Arlington County Board accepted the Long Branch Creek Neighborhood Conservation Plan in June 2016. The neighborhood goal has been to become a “walkable urban village.”
With its core of neighborhood retailers and a shopping center that includes a Giant Food store, a Starbucks, a veterinarian and a Gold’s Gym, it is on its way. Signs displaying the Long Branch Creek name have been posted during the past six months to increase awareness of the neighborhood. Activities within the community have taken shape as well. For example, “Movies in the Park” at Troy Park, and a community potluck dinner, draw neighbors. “We get really good participation,” Mark said. An animated movie for families and children attracted “everyone else,” too. “We try to stay connected,” he said.
Mark was drawn to the civic association and became treasurer as soon as he and his wife moved into the neighborhood. “Neighbors saw us and invited us to come to an association meeting,” he said. His only reservation is they don’t live closer to a Metro station.
The Starbucks enjoy walking the Four Mile Run Trail with their dog, Boomer, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, to a dog park at the Village at Shirlington, a mile away. They and other neighbors sometimes walk there for festivals as well. Long Branch Creek has three parks as well — Gunston Park, Troy Park and Fraser Park.
Mix of ages: The duplexes date to the late 1930s and 1940s. The apartments and condominiums were built later and, in some cases, replaced other original brick duplexes. Affordable housing at the Berkeley is slated to undergo renovation.
The neighborhood of approximately 4,000 people is a mix in terms of age and professions. Almost 40 percent of the residents are ages 25 to 34, yet there are younger and older residents, including empty-nesters and couples with children.
Rose and John Breyault moved to Long Branch Creek in 2007 from a nearby neighborhood when they were expecting their second child. “We wanted more space and outdoor space,” said Rose, 41.
They enjoy the two neighborhood schools. “It’s a huge plus to us,” she said. Their daughters, now 10 and 13, can walk with their friends to Oakridge Elementary and Gunston Middle schools.
Rose either drives or rides an Arlington Transit bus to the Metro to her paralegal job in the Court House area. John, 40, rides the ART bus and Metro to his work as a consumer advocate in the District.
Living there: Long Branch Creek is roughly bounded by 28th Street South and 24th Street South to the north, South Arlington Ridge Road and South Lang Street to the east, South Four Mile Run Drive and South Glebe Road (Route 120) to the south and 27th Road South and Army Navy Drive to the west.
According to Tricia Hines, an agent with American Realty Group, in the past year, 19 properties sold, ranging from a one-bedroom, one-bath condominium for $285,000 to a three-bedroom, two-bath duplex for $545,000.
There are six condominiums on the market, ranging from a one-bedroom, one-bath unit listing for $295,000 to a two-bedroom, two-bath unit listing for $399,000. “There isn’t a lot of turnover,” she said.
Schools: Oakridge Elementary, Gunston Middle, Wakefield High.
Transit: Metro buses and Arlington Transit buses serve the neighborhood, connecting to the Pentagon and Pentagon City Metro stations on the Blue and Yellow lines. There are two Capital Bikeshare stations in the neighborhood as well as quick access to Interstate 395.
Crime: According to the LexisNexis Community Crime Map, in the past year there were three aggravated assaults, three burglaries and one robbery in the neighborhood.