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McLean, VA
Tracking housing economix, urban living, urban-suburban revitalization, redevelopment, T-O-D, green real estate and trends in the Nation and Metro Washington D.C.
Recent Activity
This is why elections (and your vote) matter. Whoever you choose to put in the office - especially on the local levels, because it has more impact into your daily life. For example, budget for education, transportation, affordable housing, social services, economic development, library, etc., decided on the state and local levels. The all-majority-newly elected Republican board of Loudoun county decided to put politics (read: ideology) above people's need. "The board has threatened to derail the extension of Metrorail to Dulles airport and beyond because of a requirement that the general contractor for the project negotiate a project labor agreement with local construction unions," Steven Pearstein writes - on something that has already been decided. The board failed to connect many dots, among others is the impact on housing market, via Washington Post. Certainly that has been the experience of local officials and real estate agents. Ryan Davis, for example, the city assessor in Falls Church, estimates the “Metro premium” to be somewhere between 5 percent and 7... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2012 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Arlington County's Department of Environmental Services is hosting a series of free workshops in the Spring to help you make environmentally-friendly choices for home, office and community. Check this out. Download Calendar GreenIt Arlington Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2012 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
There was a time (when I was active) everyone I know seems to know "someone" who is in real estate. Mom, friend, niece, nephew, relative.. all sorts of relationship labels. Just because you know this person via a person close to you, doesn't mean that this agent is good for you. So how can you tell if your agent is right for you? Washington Post Express got it down to a few things important when you're looking for someone to represent you (buying or selling). Patience and personality. Demeanor is a huge part of what makes an agent great (or awful) Good communication skills, an encyclopedic knowledge of the area, self motivation, honesty and tech savvy. Driven Not afraid to tell the truth Not self-serving Personal touch And more here. In this day and age of Internet and social media, "agents use of online tools is more important than certifications they have," says Jon Heithaus, CMO of Metropolitan Regional Information System. What you say? Read more. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2012 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
MEET ROBERT PAXTON Rob doubles up his gig as a Realtor and head of Safe Haven, a non-profit organization based in Falls Church. Rob hangs his real estate hat at Long & Foster's Annandale office. I first met Rob at a volunteer event hosted by a mutual friend of ours, in Reston. In our conversation, he mentioned that he works for this non-profit that serves meals for the poor. It just so coincidence that in my sparetime, I sometimes do volunteer work (outside my political activism) for organizations that serve meals for the poor/homeless. But in that capacity, I had never really seen the faces because most of the time we work behind-the-scene, until... last week. So I decided to pay a visit to his organization last week. On weekdays, Rob is wearing the hat as the Director for Safe Haven, "a non-profit day shelter that provides food and comfort to the hungry and homeless in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County," according to their website. Safe... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
SPONSORED POST Thinking about remodeling your home? In today’s housing environment, whether you are buying or selling, a renovation may be the key to substantially increasing your home’s value. And the difference between this home or that other home – if you’re on the market to buy. You've got the option to fix up the outside of your home, the inside or both. You can also have a small makeover project that can “wow” people like changing fixtures, painting or updating lighting. Or do a large scale project that include complete kitchen or bathroom remodels, the addition of hard wood flooring or the finishing of a basement area. Whatever you decide. Here is the challenge. Renovation planning can be time consuming, confusing and overwhelming, it requires careful planning with a financial and time management budget. Chain stores with limit stock options can lead to long waits and delays in renovation projects. Driving from store to store searching for the perfect price and checking ever changing stock can be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
I was just looking to take pictures of the streets around where I live, when I heard the bees buzzing around these flowers. It's fascinating to see how they work. And these guys work really heard. Check this out. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Shopping for your next second-home property? Here's an idea for you. The Economist's Online Fairs business just annouced that they will host an online event that showcase listings that represents a unique collection of the world's most exclusive properties. You can check these properties out from the comfort of your home. How cool is that? From ski homes, to golf estates to urban luxury living, the Fine Properties Fair offers attendees access to important information about global vacation second-homes in top locations like the Carribean, Florida, Central America, Europe, Australia, Canada, and more. In addition to browsing real estate listings, visitors can also meet online with real estate experts participating in the event. Visitors can join webminars focused on trends on international real estate investment. If you haven't attended virtual event, think of it like going to an exhibition except instead of real booths you have virtual booths, where you can participate in whatever activities they have on there. Realtors can benefit from this kind of luxury properties... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
When you have a camera and wandering around the neighborhood, this is what you get. Pictures of streets in Clarendon. Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
By: Jeff Leighton Here's your opportunity! The most recent renovation done by Fine Metro Homes is a massive 3 level almost 3000 square foot Wardman style row house that is priced under $500k. And a 2011 BMW 328i 2 year lease is included for an acceptable contract. The house has undergone substantial renovations to make the interior space more open as well as installing a new kitchen and bathrooms. The living room alone is large enough to test drive your new BMW and the basement was even finished to provide another living area with a full bathroom and walkout. This property is located within a mile of 2 metro stops from Brookland-CUA and Rhode Island Ave- Brentwood. It also includes a parking space in the back of the house as well as street parking. Walk score: 69. Listing information MRIS: DC7614426 17 Evarts St. NE, Washington DC Price: $459,000 5BR, 3.5Ba, 3 levels See the full gallery on Posterous You can find more details on the property, here.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Construction and demolition debris makes up over half of our nation's solid waste. That's the problem that Community Forklift trying to solve with their business. They are not a forklift store, rather it is a thrift store that sells surplus, salvaged and new green building materials - with a social mission. Think of it as a combination of Home Depot and Goodwill thrift store wrap in one package. So the other week I talked to Ruthie Mundell, Outreach and Education Director with Community Forklift, to get an insight from her about their business. Reduce, reuse, reclaimed is embedded into their business to provide green options that are affordable. If you look at their goals, these are what they are aimed for: to lift up communities by making repairs and renovation more affordable; reduce construction industry waste, reuse materials; promote environmentally-friendly building materials and method; and develop career opportunities for communities around. Part of our inventory comes from deconstruction, in which a building is carefully taken apart by skilled... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
When you watch this short documentary, you'd think that this looks like in Denmark. The truth is, it's not. It's the city of Portland, Oregon. If they can do it, other cities can do it, too. What do you think? Transportation planners in Portland, Oregon are taking their famous bicycle boulevards to the next level. By adding more routes and stepping up the traffic calming treatments, the city is not only making these streets more attractive and usable for cyclists, but also for pedestrians, runners, children, and anyone else who gets around under their own power. These next-generation facilities have been christened “Neighborhood Greenways,” and by 2015, over 80 percent of all Portlanders will live within half a mile of one. The city is counting on these re-engineered streets to reach its goal of increasing bicycle mode share from eight percent to 25 percent by 2030. via Streetfilms Posted via email from urbantrekker's streaming Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
via Who knew? All these years, we heard the success of Toyota. But Subaru we hardly hear anything about their success and how they embrace sustainability. In a nutshell, Subaru has zero layoffs (despite recession), zero paycuts and zero waste. Sustainability must be good for business. Posted via email from EcoTwist's Streaming Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Harry W. Gray was born into slavery in 1852 at Arlington House, an estate overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria. His house is a designated Arlington County landmark. A little bit of history of the house The Harry W. Gray House, located at 1005 South Quinn Street in Arlington, Virginia was constructed in 1881 in the Italianate style. The masonry dwelling, constructed of five-course American-bond brick, presents a rectangular footprint and freestanding rowhouse form typical of urban settings. Standing two stories in height, the three-bay-wide dwelling, which faces north, sits on a solid brick foundation. Capped by a standing-seam metal shallow-pitched shed roof, the dwelling also features 212 wood windows, two interior-end brick chimneys with corbeled caps, and a full-width one-story porch, which stretches across the faqade. A highly decorative Italianate-style entablature caps the facade. A small wood-frame porch on the southeast comer of the L-shaped dwelling was enclosed circa 1960. The dwelling is located in Gray's Subdivision of the Arlington View neighborhood, a middle-class community with an... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
"Kuleana." A Hawaiian word for 'the responsibility of taking care of resources not only for the present, but for the next seven generations,' read at Greenversations story on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Hawaiian culture is based upon the concept of resource management. Posted via email from EcoTwist's Streaming Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2011 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
President Obama announced that tomorrow, November 19, 2010, is as National's Entrepreneurs' Day in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week. Each November, GEW connects people everywhere in the world through activities to help them unleashed their idea by exploring their potential as self-starters and innovators. I've been kicking around with the idea of hosting an educational radio show on business and sustainability for a while. So today is the day. The kick-off of my show, Ecotwist. My first guest is Andy Shallal, an Iraqi American, who is an activist, artist and restauranter. Andy is a successful entrepreneur. His flagship restaurant, Busboys and Poets, has been a success from the opening. He is someone who is recipient of multiple awards on sustainability, activism and business. I met Andy a while back in the summer through a networking group, Net Impact. NI hosted their event at his restaurant. So after the event, I approached Andy to be on my show, then still in the thinking process. Busboys and Poets is a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
by: Guest blogger Let’s start with some facts: On average, incorporating green building practices into a new building will increase upfront costs by 2%. Green building practices are shown conservatively to yield savings 10x the amount of the initial investment assuming a 20 year building lifecycle. See 134 page report The Cost and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings. Now for some math: If you build a $300,000 home, you could make it green for an initial investment of $6,000. $6,000 x 10 = $60,000 over 20 years. $60,000/20 = $3,000 in the first year. That’s 1/2 the initial investment. Some notes about the above numbers: Those figures do not include other proven correlated effects such as comfort, health, and productivity benefits. Some of you financial whizzes out there may also say “What about the discount rate? What is the Net Present Value of that $60,000?” Unlike future cash flows you might see in an annuity, these figures are based on monthly savings on water, energy, waste, etc. I... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Don't know if you have seen this aerial view of Google campus yet. You see solar panels all over the rooftops. Pretty amazing. Posted via email from urbantrekker's streaming Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
The insurance industry is aware of the costs of climate change. After all, they're in the business of insuring potential climate related damages. Under the scenario of German Institute for Economic Research, depending on when effective climate related policies are implemented, the damages could be worth up to $20 trillion by year 2100 if nothing is being implemented. Okay 2100 seems like a long time. You and I might probably not going to be around anymore, however, our kids, grandkids, and great-great grandkids - gonna be around - to witness the long-term implications of climate change, if we do nothing. Now. The potential damages will be close to home, when it's related to health and food security. So, take a look at the few images below, how it's going to costs us, if we do nothing. Potential climate change impacts with temperature change Falling rice productions Potential health impacts of climate change [via Allianz Group] For more details, Posted via email from EcoTwist's Streaming Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Sometime last week I was invited to attend the celebration for the completion of the third largest scale of green roof in the district with 27,750 sq. ft - which is the largest "non-government" green roof installation in the city!, according to DDOE official - sitting atop the roof of World Wildlife Foundation headquarters in Northwest DC. The roof holds 11 types of sedum - 53,568 plugs - all sourced locally from Knoll Farms in Street, Maryland. The project took 2 years from consideration to completion. The new roof reduces stress in the city sewer infrastructure and reduces combined sewer overflows into the Potomac, Anacostia and Rock Creek. WWF's green roof is partially funded by American Recovery & Reinvestment Act via Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership that help funded 20% of the construction. EPA have awarded the District Department of Environment (DDOE) and DC Water more than $40 million in Recovery Act fund, for rebuilding portions of the District's drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure and controlling stormwater run-off. The... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Sorry about that. UPDATE: LINK is below. Apparently, the link doesn't work.;col1
Dear blog readers, This blog has been nominated as one of "People's Choice Best Real Estate Blog Award" sponsored by Zillow. Voting ends at noon (PDT) August 25, 2010. It would be an honor for me to have your vote. (Please vote on #3> metrodchomes, Thank you. - Dewita Posted via email from urbantrekker's streaming Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
David Gottfried, the founder of U.S. Green Building Council, that developed LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for green building and green home certifications, shows off his sustainable home. The home is LEED Platinum certified. And it is super-insulated. What's more - the rain barrel capture 50% of rain water that is then used for toilets. There's more to the story. So check it out. Apparently, the embed code don't work. So head off to their site here. Posted via email from urbantrekker's streaming Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
Clarendon is one of Arlington county's urban villages. There are 12 neighborhoods in Arlington designated as urban villages. These villages are unique in itself with some located close to metro stations within the orange line system, and a few away from the stops but still offer easy access to transportation. What's unique about Clarendon the neighborhood have its neighborhood association, Clarendon Alliance. Not an HOA (home owners association) but the kind of organization that pulls together business owners and residents. It is a public-private partnership to market the community. There are two citizen associations in addition to the Alliance: one is Lyon Park Citizen Association and the other is Lyon Village Citizen Association. Walkable to Metro: Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse, Rosslyn, Crystal City, and Pentagon City, Away from the metro - but still easy to catch mass transit: Shirlington, Lee Highway, Columbia Pike, Westover, We're going to look at the four things that make up a walkable neighborhood: getting in and out of the neighborhood via transit... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
There's a lot of things to do in DC, really.. if you just have the time. You can visit the Library and Smithsonian Museums for Free. I'm ashamed to admit that I've been living in the area for 20 years, but only got to see the Library of Congress maybe not more than twice in my living here. Last week's visit was my second. I promise to go back to the Library and just dive in exploring all or most of the exhibitions sometime soon. There's so many exhibitions going on at the Library. There's "Hope (Bob Hope) for America, the Red Book of Carl I. Jung, As the Old Sing so is the Young Twitter, etc." One of the exhibitions I checked out, was Exploring the Early Americas. This exhibition featuring 3,000 rare maps, documents, paintings, prints and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak's collection. It provides insight into indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native Americans and European explorers and settlers, and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r
There are tunnels on Capitol Hill that connect the Capitol with Library of Congress, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives buildings. Sometime in the past, regular folks like us can use tunnel that connects one of the House of Representative buildings to Capitol. However, post 9/11one that is no longer the case. Now you have to be accompanied by Congressional staffs. Time has changed. At the Capitol you can only go to certain areas yourself. Some areas are restricted only for members and their staffs. You have to leave your camera, gadget, cell phones - things electronic, you name it.. behind - at the security desk. The inside is beautiful, but some areas are off limits. The feeling that I have probably is different than most people who work there. For members of Congress as well as their staffs. I don't go there everyday so everything that I see there is like once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity and I was there to enjoy "the moment." Tunnels are... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2010 at U r b a n T r e k k e r