Correction: An earlier version of this article said that the King Street Metro station is a 15- to 20-minute walk from Cameron Station. The neighborhood is a 15- to 20-minute walk to the Van Dorn Street Metro station.

David Balloff had grown disillusioned with city living in the late 1990s when he stumbled upon a suburban enclave that he describes as “the nicest neighborhood in Alexandria.”

Balloff was living in a small apartment in the District’s Capitol Hill neighborhood when a lack of parking and growing concerns over safety caused him to visit a new planned community in the west end of Alexandria called Cameron Station. He said he immediately felt at home.

“This neighborhood is a really safe and diverse community where houses hold real estate value,” said Balloff, who moved 15 years ago to a three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse on Murtha Street.

Tim Hill, 43, has lived for two years in a two-bedroom, two-bath condominium on Somerville Street in Cameron Station and said he loves the fact that the neighborhood “is positioned as a central hub with quick access to highways and public transportation.”

Built on the site of a former Army installation, Cameron Station is a 101-acre planned community of about 1,800 condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes, said Irina Babb, an agent with Re/Max Allegiance.


The community has an abundance of parks, with ample space for walking, biking and jogging as well as tennis courts, Babb said. There’s also a dog park and a duck pond.

Another major selling point for potential buyers is Cameron Station’s wide range of shops, including restaurants, a coffee bar, a day-care center and a dry cleaner, all within walking distance.

“People are really drawn to Cameron Station because it is such a beautifully built community with a great reputation,” said Babb, who’s been a homeowner in the community since 2004. “If you’re moving to Northern Virginia, chances are someone is going to mention Cameron Station to you.”


The park is the back yard:
Judy Coleman, 34, said she “fell in love” with Cameron Station after checking out the parks that are steps from her three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse on Kilburn Street.

“Being so close to the park makes up for not having a back yard,” said Coleman, a lawyer with the federal government, who regularly walks her hound mix.

Michael Johnson, president of the Cameron Station Community Association, said that while Alexandria is known for being a transient area, Cameron Station is “definitely beating that average.”

“We find that residents will upgrade internally by moving from one home to another home within Cameron Station and we’re pretty proud of that. Many people like to stay,” said Johnson, who lives in a three-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse on Brawner Place.

On an unseasonably warm recent Saturday, Dayan Worku’s coffee shop, Cameron Cafe, was packed with residents enjoying the weather. As Worku, 43, filled orders for iced coffees and pastries, he reflected on his five years serving the community.

“The people are really invested in the neighborhood,” he said. “They know me by name. It’s my job to know my customers, but I feel so much love from the community in return.”

Alvin Washington, a 61-year-old custodian with the Alexandria School Board who moved to Cameron Station eight years ago from the west side of Alexandria, said he’s often amazed how developers transformed the former Army installation into a thriving community.

“The way they’ve fixed things up is just incredible,” said Washington, who lives in a one-bedroom, three-bathroom condo on Somerville Street.

“I like to walk to the park and just watch the ducks and turtles,” he said. “I get the best of both worlds. A little fresh air and nature.”


Laurie and Mark Mallory pass over the bridge on the Backlick Run, a one-mile trail that runs along the back side of the Cameron Station community. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)


Living there:
Cameron Station is bordered by Duke Street to the north, Ben Brenman Park to the east, Backlick Run to the south and Armistead Boothe Park to the west.

In the past 12 months, 147 properties have sold in Cameron Station, at prices ranging from $300,000 for a condominium to $1 million for a single-family house, said Babb, the agent with Re/Max Allegiance.

There are 24 current listings, with prices ranging from $312,000 for a condominium to $999,999 for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom single-family house, according to Babb.

Twenty-two properties are under contract.


Schools:
Samuel W. Tucker Elementary, Francis C. Hammond Middle and T.C. Williams High.


Transit:
The community offers residents a shuttle bus to the Van Dorn Street Metro station, which is about 1.5 miles away. The King Street Metro station is about 3.3 miles.


Crime:
Since January, there have been 17 assaults, 16 robberies and 17 burglaries in the police area covering Cameron Station, according to the Alexandria police.


Zabrin Nawal Zaihan looks at her father while playing at the playground at Ben Brenman Park adjacent to the Cameron Station community. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)