Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Malaise

The most unsettling part about the news that my building will eventually be bought and leveled is that I thought I had found an actual home rather than just a place to rent. One of the residents has been living in this building for over 20 years and while I didn't suspect I would stay that long, I did believe I would be living here until the "next significant phase" in my life began. With that plan now going up in smoke I have to reassess. Obviously I have to move, but to where?

The only way to really protect myself from getting kicked out of yet another property ripe for redevelopment is to buy which, shockingly, my parents insist is the sensible thing for me to do. Great. I'd love to buy. Does anyone have an extra $1k lying around each month that they'd like to get rid of? Because it is going to cost an arm and a leg to buy anything either in Arlington or the District. And if I do buy I'm sorry, but I'm going to buy a place where I want to live. I grew up in Herndon and yeah I could probably find something affordable out that way in western Fairfax or parts of Loudoun but I don't want to. I refuse to retreat back to exurbia. So, since buying is a non-option my living choices have narrowed:

Find another place in Courthouse
I really think this is the best neighborhood in North Arlington in which to live. It's walkable, it's a metro stop, 50, 66, 395, 110, and the GW are all immediately accessible, it's (relatively) quiet, and it's close enough to walk to Clarendon but far enough to avoid the chaos down there. Unfortunately everyone else has figured this out and that's why developers are tripping over themselves to snatch up every available piece of real estate. There are buildings in the neighborhood similar to mine into which I could move but they have to be just as vulnerable, if not more, to high-rise aspirations. If I moved and got kicked out again I might just have to kill myself.

Move back up the road to Ballston or Clarendon
Clarendon is so tough to live in right now. With all of the condos and towncenter-type communities shooting up in that little area there are very few affordable properties left and the people living in them are not about to leave anytime soon. Ballston is almost as bad in terms of availability but it is much less livable than Clarendon or Courthouse. With the new Westin Hotel and the office parks being built around the mall Ballston is starting to look more and more like Rosslyn every day. There are still some strong single-family home neighborhoods but each of those homes is being flipped into a McMansion (a fact of which I am keenly aware).

Take the leap across the river
It has been suggested on several occasions that I move into the District and I must admit that it is an idea I have entertained for a long time. I really would like to become a DC resident but there are two major prohibitive factors keeping me out. First, I work all the way out in Ashburn. While I hope to be amending that problem soon, my commute from Arlington is long enough as it is and I live near 66. Moving deep into Northwest or down around the Hill/Eastern Market would add at least 20 to 30 minutes to the drive. This commute, plus various social obligations in Virginia and Maryland, make my extremely car dependent and I don't relish the idea of cruising around for a parking spot every night when I get home. Secondly, any 1BR place I could afford is going to be tiny. Already at my current residence, which I find to be plenty roomy, I have forsaken any sort of kitchen/dining table in order to have a place to store various guitars and amplifiers. Moving into the city, I wouldn't want to now have to give up a couch or bed in order to accomplish the same feat. But even with all of that I may still give the city a whirl...

Pull up stakes
I don't want to leave the area. My family is here, my friends are here, my band is here, my career has a lot of mobility here, and it is home to me. But the difficulties of finding a stable place to live in a "fun" neighborhood are getting tiresome. If I am going to continue to put up with headaches like this I might as well do so with a change of scenery. San Diego? A friend is moving back from there but has held on to the house he owns there. I could definitely get a good job out there, potentially rent his place, and ease my way into his circle of friends he left behind. If this Arlington (or DC) thing doesn't work out, I just may have to pull the cord.

5 Comments:

At 7/18/2006 10:11 AM, Blogger DCVita said...

Don't lose faith! I am sure you will find another great place in Arlington. I know what you mean about those developers though. Honestly, I don't think we need any more luxury condos or new townhouses. I don't even recognize the area anymore. They all take the charm out of the towns, and make it look so freakin' commercial, like we are on Monopoly or something. UGh!

 
At 7/18/2006 3:17 PM, Blogger Dara said...

Man, this sounds familiar! Good luck figuring it all out!

 
At 7/18/2006 3:44 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I'm sure something will work out.

I do like the Monopoly analogy. It's not like I'm looking for Park Place, just trying to avoid Baltic or Oriental Avenue. Something a little Marvin Gardens would be nice...

 
At 7/18/2006 5:17 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

There have to be some really run down joints out there. With your aptitude swinging a hammer and a little help from some friends.... Four walls and a door becomes what you want to make it.

 
At 7/19/2006 7:52 AM, Blogger Jason said...

There certainly are and I have considered looking for a "unique fixer-upper opportunity" in Southie somehwere's. Expect a call when it's time to break out the fascia board and chop-saw. Can I borrow your laser level?

 

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