White Flint 2020 = Ballston 1990

By Lydia DePillis - Housing Complex
|  Saturday, Jan 29, 2011  |  Updated 10:45 AM EDT
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White Flint 2020 = Ballston 1990

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Is Wisconsin Avenue a "corridor"? Not yet, in the sense of having nodes of walkable residential town centers strung together by fairly continuous commercial development. Few office tenants would think of White Flint, Md., as a viable alternative to Bethesda or Chevy Chase, which are favored by retail, restaurants, proximity to D.C., nice public spaces, and lots of high-quality housing stock.

Delta Associates, the folks who bring you detailed reports every quarter on the area's economic fortunes, think all that will change with the redevelopment of White Flint. The whole point of the town's award-winning sector plan is to create more of a "there" there, but Delta takes a more linear view in a new white paper, forecasting White Flint's future relative to its wealthy neighbors to the south.

As a model, the analysts hold up the development of Arlington County's Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor–or the RBC, to friends–which spread from Rosslyn to Clarendon to Ballston as residential and commercial capacity equalized. It's now seen as a single submarket rather than isolated centers. The report doesn't actually articulate why this is a good thing, beyond the obvious advantage to further out towns of being seen as one with more developed and prestigious locales. It just means we may be speaking of the CCBWFC in 10 years, if all goes according to plan.

White Flint 2020 = Ballston 1990 was originally published by Washington City Paper on Jan 28, 2011

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