Arlington, Va. Condo Complex Taking Years to Finish

Six years after the building permit was issued for the Bromptons at Cherrydale, a 22-unit, mixed-used development at 3800 Lee Highway in Arlington, Va., the unoccupied complex has reached a milestone. But neighbors aren't rolling out the welcome mat to newcomers quite yet.

In April, Arlington County announced that the "first phase" of corrective action on the complex is complete. This means the property which has been sitting half-built since 2006 -- when the county issued a stop-work order over concerns about its structural integrity -- now has a complete brick facade, new exterior windows, pavers and sidewalks.

Gone is the ripped Tyvek that flapped in the wind for years and the weathered-gray balcony platforms that appealed to few but the pigeons. That's a relief to the locals who have been worried about their property values.

But the complex still isn't ready for inhabitants.
Developer R15 LLC and its contractors are performing a second phase of corrective action, which includes finishing interior spaces and installing balconies, trees and street lights outside. They must finish the work by mid-October under an agreement with Arlington County.

For the neighbors who have lived for years with this eyesore, the changes are welcome.

"This has been a huge bummer," neighborhood activist Maureen Ross told HousingWatch. "First, let's talk sidewalk. We barely had one for the past four years.... Then I do wonder what it did for property values. It didn't help retail and it slowed down the undergrounding process [for utilities] on Lee Highway. This has been a blight."

The trouble with the Bromptons coincided with bust of the housing bubble, but its problems weren't financial, at least at first.

In March 2006, county building inspectors ordered work to cease on the building when inspectors noticed signs of structural deficiencies. The original brick veneer was improperly anchored and leaned away from the building, the concrete foundation needed additional support and the upper floors weren't level.

Arlington developer Ed Peete, who has built several condominium complexes in the county, applied for a demolition permit in 2007, deciding that fixing the problems would be too expensive. He also filed suit against engineering firms responsible for the design and later inspections. Progress ground to a halt as Ed Peete and Co. became mired in lawsuits and financial problems.

In 2009, Arlington County and Ed Peete finally reached an agreement that the building be finished or demolished. The Ed Peete Company is now called R15 LLC.

The Bromptons were marketed as a complete community of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and retail space. The single-family homes and townhouses were built and sold. The condos quickly sold out in 2004, but all contracts were canceled after the stop-work order was issued.

The units are not yet being marketed and there's no word on their asking prices. Condominiums are rare in this neighborhood, which is a 20-minute walk to the Virginia Square Metro Station and is serviced by Metro Bus.

But the Bromptons won't be the only game in Cherrydale for long: the Christopher Company is planning a 69-unit condominium complex just a block away, at 3365 Lee Highway.

See homes for sale in Arlington, Va. at AOL Real Estate.
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