- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

While not everyone pines for an urban lifestyle, many people see the advantages of living in a place where residents can walk to most destinations, easily access public transportation and enjoy cultural attractions. Perhaps, they can even live car-free.

Walk Score (www.walkscore.com) is a Web site that rates neighborhoods based on their “walkable” features. Since the site was launched in July 27, more than 6 million addresses have been searched.

Walk Score defines a walkable neighborhood as one that has a center (a main street, public square or shopping district); density, which means that local businesses can flourish and public transportation runs frequently; mixed-income and mixed-use developments are part of the community; parks or other public spaces are easily accessible; a pedestrian-centric design with buildings placed near the street for foot traffic, and nearby schools and workplaces.

Most of these elements are found in neighborhoods within city limits, but developers are now creating communities in the suburbs with town centers that mimic urban areas. Many of these suburban town centers include restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, along with office space and a residential component, where residents can find urban-style living outside the city.

The District

At Capitol Quarter, EYA is building 208 town homes within walking distance of the Navy Yard and Capitol South Metro stations, Nationals Park, and shops and restaurants along Eighth Street in Southeast Washington. Plans for the Capitol Riverfront development will add more shops, restaurants and entertainment options to this Capitol Hill neighborhood.

In addition to the infill location along seven city blocks, the community meets “green” criteria since residents can rely less on their cars. The homes at Capitol Quarter will all be EnergyStar and Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, meaning they meet high standards for energy efficiency and the use of green building techniques.

The community includes a mix of market-rate homes, work-force homes and affordable rentals. The market-rate town homes are priced from $635,000 to the $700,000s. The homes have three finished levels with the option of adding a roof terrace and a deck, with hardwood floors on the main level, high ceilings, high-tech wiring, garage parking and ceramic tile baths. Call 202/484-0360 or visit www.eya.com.

Pulte Homes Inc. is building 209 three-story garage town homes at Dakota Crossing, located at 2621 Patricia Roberts Harris Place in the Fort Lincoln area of Northeast Washington. Dakota Crossing is directly in front of the Fort Lincoln Cultural and Community Center, which has a swimming pool and tennis courts.

Residents can enter the community from either New York Avenue or South Dakota Avenue. Downtown Washington and the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations are also accessible from Dakota Crossing.

The homes are base-priced from $429,900, with a quarterly homeowner association fee of $320. Each home has a brick front, a two-car garage and professional landscaping. Standard features in the town homes include tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms, granite counters in the kitchen and bath, and appliances in a choice of three finishes (including stainless steel). The homes range in size from 1,965 to 2,286 finished square feet, with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths. Call 202/635-0199 or visit www.pulte.com.

At Emerson Park in Northeast Washington, K. Hovnanian Homes is building town homes priced from the mid-$300,000s, each with three levels and a one- or two-car garage. Emerson Park, near Emerson and 6th streets, off Ava Circle, offers residents a location within walking distance of the Fort Totten Metro station on the Red Line. Once on the Metro, residents can reach nearly any part of the District within minutes.

The town homes have a low-maintenance exterior of vinyl siding with a sodded lawn, concrete driveways and concrete stoops and front walks. Inside, each has hardwood floors in the foyer and half bath, 9-foot ceilings on the main level, crown and chair-rail moldings in the dining room, crown moldings in the living room and a security system. Some of the homes include a luxury master bath with a soaking tub and separate shower. Call 202/529-1209 or visit www.khov.com.

Virginia

Reston Town Center provides a prime example of urban-style living in a suburban location. The thriving town center in Reston includes offices, a hotel, a central plaza that converts from an outdoor concert venue in summer to an ice-skating rink in winter; dozens of shops, art galleries, a movie theater, and restaurants and bars.

Kettler offers condominiums at Midtown Reston Town Center and Midtown North (each 90 percent sold) in high-rise buildings with city-style amenities. The homes have one to three bedrooms, one to three baths and 847 to nearly 3,000 finished square feet. Base prices begin in the low $300,000s. The homes have high ceilings, hardwood floors, ceramic tile baths, private balconies and kitchens with stainless steel appliances and 42-inch cabinets. Call 703/689-0900 or visit www.MidtownReston.com or www.MidtownRestonNorth.com.

At Lansdowne Town Center, Van Metre Homes and Beazer Homes Corp. are building town homes and condominiums in a city-style environment in the heart of this Leesburg-area resort community. Lansdowne Town Center includes shops, restaurants and pocket parks surrounded by two golf courses.

Van Metre’s Berkeley Row town homes, priced from the upper $300,000s, have three to five bedrooms and 2.5 or 3.5 baths. These town homes include courtyards and two-car garages. The Linden Row condominiums, priced from the upper $200,000s, have two bedrooms and two baths. Call 703/554-6932 for Van Metre or visit www.vanmetrehomes.com.

Beazer’s Lansdowne Town Center Towns, priced from the mid-$300,000s, include three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a two-car garage. Call 888/623-2937 for Beazer, or visit www.beazer.com.

In Arlington, the Village of Shirlington features a new Signature Theatre. In addition, the Village includes a library, a movie theater, dozens of restaurants and shops in a pedestrian-friendly arrangement. Near this city-style center, Kettler is building condominiums, cottages and town homes at the West Village of Shirlington. A shuttle bus takes residents to the Pentagon City Metro station.

The West Village development also includes a club with a fitness center, a business center, a library and coffee bar, a sports pub, a billiards room, a great room, a private screening room and a swimming pool.

The condominium homes, priced from the $300,000s, have one to three bedrooms, one or two baths and 851 to 1,363 finished square feet. The homes have hardwood and ceramic tile floors, a balcony or sunroom, recessed lighting and upgraded kitchens with 42-inch cabinets, granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Call 888/483-5978 or visit www.condosatshirlington.com.

Maryland

Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, a new mixed-use development with condominiums built above the retail space, will have about 2.2 million square feet with 700,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of office space, a 100,000-square-foot hotel and nearly 1 million square feet for residential use. Retail stores, including Target Corp. and Whole Foods Market, and restaurants have already opened.

Sturbridge Homes is building 150 condominium homes at GrandView at Annapolis Towne Centre, where residents can enjoy a rooftop swimming pool, hot tub and lounge, a fitness center, a social club and concierge services. The homes have one to three bedrooms with one to three full baths, some with a half bath. Standard features include 10- and 11-foot-high ceilings; ceramic tile floors in the foyer, kitchen and baths; granite counters in the kitchen; and a luxury master bath. Many of the homes have a covered balcony. The homes have about 840 to 3,654 finished square feet, with base prices from the $400,000s to more than $1,000,000. Call 410/268-1798 or visit www.sturbridgehomes.com.

At Arts District Hyattsville, EYA is building town homes, retail shops and live-work buildings designed for business owners who want to “live above the store.” The neighborhood is home to shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of the homes, and residents can also walk to the adjacent Hyattsville Historic District. The community has easy access to the West Hyattsville, College Park and Prince George’s Plaza Metro stations, along with bus lines and a MARC train station.

The homes have three or four levels with brick fronts, decorative metal accents, high ceilings, high-tech wiring and rooftop terraces. The town homes and live-work residences are base-priced from $385,000. Call 301/209-0116 or visit www.eya.com.

At One Independence Plaza, the condominium section of the University Town Center mixed-use development, residents can enjoy a development with on-site entertainment including a movie theater, shops and restaurants.

Developed by University Town Center Corp., One Independence Plaza is off East-West Highway on the Green Line near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station. The community has 24-hour concierge services, a controlled access garage and a club.

The development includes one-bedroom homes priced from $214,900, one-bedroom homes with a den priced from $239,900, and two-bedroom homes priced from $299,900. The homes have high ceilings; a washer and dryer; ceramic tile floors in the kitchen and baths; and a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, maple cabinets and granite counters.

Condominium lofts will be available soon at Plaza Lofts Twenty-Two, another building within the University Town Center complex. For both communities, call 301/779-2290 or visit www.universitytowncenter.net.

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