Barcroft and Columbia Pike

A simple fact about real estate is that its value is dramatically impacted by the condition of the immediate area where the property is located.  This is especially true in the case of the Arlington Passivhaus.  This whole journey started with Eric and I driving around in Arlington neighborhoods looking at properties listed for sale.  We came to this  neighborhood to look at another piece of property a block down. We were not familiar with the neighborhood at all except that it “felt like a nice place”.  We decided to drive around every block hoping to learn a little more about the area.  That’s when I chanced to turn my head and saw a small hand-written sign inside of a dusty window of a house stating, “For Sale.”

That “it felt like a nice place” sensation has a lot to do everything in the neighborhood.  We are not from Arlington and will not pretend to be Barcrofters.  We can’t help but appreciate the beauty of the neighborhood.  8th Street is a relatively wide (for Arlington), tree-lined street with cute, distinct and largely well-maintained historical homes.

Our neighbor and award-winning landscape designer Scott’s home has the most amazing masonry walls and of course one of the most elegant gardens I’ve seen.  I don’t think you can get someone to build walls like that anymore.

Scott's Masonry walls

Scott's Front Yard

Scott's Front Entrance

Half a block down sits the Barcroft Community House, which dates back to 1908, a building designated in the National Register of Historical Places.  I love the Gothic windows!  The Community House is currently undergoing restoration.  I can’t wait to see it when the work is complete.

Barcroft Community House

Here’s a map of the Barcroft Neighborhood

Barcroft Map

Columbia Pike is the main drag in the area.  For the last decade exciting developments have been coming down the Pike.  Other than the glitzy new condo/apartment buildings, there are several high-impact developments in progress.

I think the three most exciting developments are

1. Wakefield High School:

S. George Mason Entry

Rendering of the new building from Arlington Public School website

The $91 Million school broke ground last June.  The building is to be completed in 2014 to boast 403,940 gross sqft on four floors, enough to accommodate 1900 students.  The building will be going after LEED Silver.  Although we are are not huge fans of LEED, we like some of the features being included at the school.

  • Solar hot water
  • Rain gardens
  • Low VOC materials for better indoor air quality
  • Using mechanical waste heat to heat the pool
  • Reforestation

For more information on this project, see

2. The New Arlington Mill Community Center

Rendering from

This $24 Million project broke ground last August.  It is expected to be completed early 2013 to feature a 5-story main building (57,000 sqf), an attached Gym (8,700 sqf), a public plaza and two levels of underground parking.

See here for more information:

3. Pike Transit

Future streetcar scenario

Image from

This is a 5 mile modern street car project to connect Pentagon City, Arlington to Bailey’s Cross Road, Fairfax.  This five mile long corridor was slow to develop because it isn’t metro accessible.  With so much development going on on Columbia Pike, the Pike Transit will transform Columbia Pike from a car based growth to a much more sustainable public transportation based one.

I envy the folks who live in Barcroft, with so many positive things going on just a stone’s throw away.

Here is an Emmy nominated video created by the Columbia Pike Documentary Project ( that captures the diverse heritage of the Pike and the changes happening.



One response to this post.

  1. […] some very serious changes as we speak.  We talked about some of this in a previous post  Changes are already underway, the Columbia Pike Documentary Project […]


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