Columbia Pike Revitalization is doing its job.
In a recent discussion with Takis Karantanis, Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, it is brought to light that the updates that have already occurred along the Pike have brought an increase to the value of the neighborhood behind the Pike.
If you had driven down Columbia Pike even three years ago, let alone fifteen years ago, a totally different street facade close to Barton Street would probably be what you recall. To take the stroll down the Pike now infront of what is now the new Penrose development gives a whole new face to what the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization hopes to see down the entire 3.2 mile stretch of this great road with so much potential to be a pedestrian friendly, multi-modal community in South Arlington. Interestingly enough, Karantanis suggested that the Penrose neighborhood, that the new development is aptly named for has seen an increase in property values since the completion of the development project. People find the community more approachable and the amenities that the new grocery store and convenience of the vibrant restaurants and soon to be lush park squares give the area a new-found air of superiority to the areas of the Pike which are yet to see the revitalization.
With revitalization, always comes push-back, there are of course, some folks within a few of the fish-boning communities that offshoot from Columbia Pike whom are concerned that if the multi-modal revitalization gets too out of hand, that property taxes will rise and that some people, people who can afford to live in South Arlington now, may not be able to afford to live there later after the revitalization of the area is complete. It is a double edged sword; however, there are over a dozen subsidized low-income multi-family developments along Columbia Pike that are also being developed in a sustainable fashion and are incorporated into the same multi-modal, form-based-code program that the rest of the revitalization projects are conforming to. Is this a double edged sword or a win-win situation?
If areas such as Penrose Square are seeing an increase in the desirability in the neighborhoods behind the newly revitalized Columbia Pike development, what will happen when the rest of the over three miles of proposed roadway is re-vamped to be the same gleaming building style with bits and pieces of the charm, character and charisma that is South Arlington? Can you say multi-modal boomtown?