Redfin’s Complete Guide to Moving and Working at Amazon Crystal City

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Redfin’s Complete Guide to Moving and Working at Amazon Crystal City

From where to live, to where to go, here’s everything you should know about living and working in and around Amazon Crystal City.

 

Long Island City is out, Crystal City and Nashville are very much in. That’s the plan for the new Amazon HQ2 anyway.

Interested in securing a job and moving to one of these hot new tech hubs? We’re breaking down everything you need to know about each city, where to live, and what life will be like.

Read on for Redfin’s guide to moving to work at Amazon in Crystal City, and click here to discover Nashville.

 

Just outside the heart of our nation’s capital, Crystal City sits at the seat of government and history. It’s minutes from the iconic stretch of the National Mall and landmark monuments, museums and the most recognizable piece of real estate of all–the White House.

Visitors pour in through Crystal City’s doorstep (quite literally, it’s adjacent to Ronald Reagan International Airport) to surround themselves in America’s legacy. But the D.C. area is no mere tourist destination. It’s home to innovation, culture and opportunity, leaving it no wonder why Amazon chose to place a second headquarters here.

If you’re thinking of landing a job in Crystal City, read on for our full breakdown from Arlington-based Redfin agent Brian MacMahon.

Overview to Crystal City

“Because of its proximity to D.C.–just three metro stops away–the vibe in Crystal City is almost a continuation of the capital. Crystal City is very small, but incredibly convenient, with multiple stores, great parks, and lots of retail and restaurants,” he said. “Crystal City used to be filled with government contractors, and was originally built as a “futuristic city,” with most of the original retail underground. But over the past five to 10 years, it has transformed and a lot of business has moved above ground. There’s a lot of development happening to revive older buildings, and to make the area pedestrian-friendly.”

  • Crystal City has a Walk Score® of 84, meaning the area is highly walkable. With a Transit Score of 71 and a Bike Score of 83, most people don’t rely on a car.
  • The median home sale price in January 2019 for Arlington, VA, in which Crystal City is located, was $572,000, according to Redfin’s Data Center.

Quality of life in Crystal City

“Crystal City is high-paced area, with great walkability and ease of access to anything you’ll need. TV’s “Top Chef” Spike Mendelsohn just opened a restaurant here, and there are lots of bars and restaurants on Crystal Drive,” he said. “A lot of money is being put into the local railroad system, Virginia Railway Express, for updates and to add new stops, which will be amazing for commuters in further parts of northern Virginia to come be a part of Amazon.”

Migration and growth in Crystal City

Migration to anywhere in the D.C. metro area is always significant because the lack of homes for sale makes it quite competitive. Because Crystal City is so small, interest is very high in nearby Aurora Highlands, Potomac Yard and Del Ray. A Redfin agent on my team had a duplex that went under contract last month for $20,000 over list price near Aurora Highlands. Potomac Yard has seen the biggest increase in activity since the news of Amazon’s arrival, and Del Ray, which has been a high demand area for home sales in the last few years, does not appear to be slowing down.

Northern Virginia has ample transportation options and amenities to attract people from all over the country. The biggest obstacle is the cost of entry.”

The Crystal City real estate market

If you’re looking to buy in and around Crystal City, come prepared to compete. Most properties receive multiple offers and sell over list price. A one-bedroom condo close to Crystal City will probably start in the high $300,000 range. A single-family home will probably be $600,000 to $700,000, depending on how far out you go in the suburbs. Buyers should work with an agent who knows the market and what it takes to win, outside of just pricing. As we get into the spring market, buyers will likely need to adjust their contingencies and contend with multiple offers.”

Where to live near Crystal City

  1. Crystal City: “Crystal City is so small, and there are very few–I mean single digits–homes for sale within the city limits at any given time. Most of the properties are apartments and office buildings. The neighborhood where people live and play really spills over to the surrounding communities. That’s where you’ll find more of a small-town feel, with lots of trees and local character. If you’re moving to work in Crystal City, look at Pentagon City, Aurora Highlands, Potomac Yard, Del Ray, Old Town, Columbia Pike, and Shirlington.”
    • Walk Score: 84
    • What you can buy in Crystal City: It won’t get closer to work than this: a one-bedroom modern condo on the doorstep of Amazon’s new digs, for $580,000.
    • Where to go in Crystal City:
      • Go to Good Stuff Eatery, which is Spike Mendelsohn’s restaurant. It’s one of the best burger places in the area, and that’s saying something, considering how many there are.”
      • “Crystal City Sports Pub has a dive bar feel, but on a larger scale. It has really good food, a lot of beers, and is a really fun place to go and watch a sports game.”
      • “There’s also the Crystal City Arcade (a variety of shops) and the Long Branch Park.”
  2. Pentagon City: “Pentagon City is at the northern edge of Crystal City and it’s made up of mostly apartments and condo buildings. It’s where part of Amazon’s campus will be. They have a brand new Whole Foods, Costco, and newly redeveloped shopping mall. It also has great outdoor activities, bike trails, parks and the Potomac River, and only one metro stop from Crystal City.”
  3. Aurora Highlands: “Aurora Highlands has many single-family homes. There are lots of trees, parks and it’s a little quieter than the rest of the surrounding areas.”
    • Walk Score: 84
    • What you can buy in Aurora Highlands: Nothing right now! Inventory is too low. Check back soon.
    • Where to go in Aurora Highlands: “There is not much retail in Aurora Highlands, but it borders 23rd Street in Crystal City, which has great options like the Crystal City Sports Bar and Freddie’s, one of the only LGBT bars in Northern Virginia.”
  4. Arlington: “North Arlington–Rosslyn, Courthouse, Virginia Square and Ballston metros, and the surrounding areas–is more developed than the southern half of the county, with a typically higher price point. South Arlington on the other hand, has been a place where first time home buyers go as prices are less expensive than North Arlington. But as it continues to develop, that will change.”
    • Walk Score: 69
    • What you can buy in Arlington: A gorgeous one-bedroom penthouse loft spread over two levels with designer finishes for $529,900.
    • Where to go in Arlington:
      • “The subsection of Arlington known as Courthouse has a great pizza place called Fireworks, as well as Four Courts, an awesome Irish bar; Bayou Bakery, a New Orleans themed restaurant; and Ragtime, which is a great bar where we host Redfin home buying classes.”
      • “Clarendon in Arlington has great restaurants and bars like Pamplona, Texas Jack’s BBQ, Spirit of ’76, and Whitlow’s on Wilson.”
      • “The area of Ballston has a redeveloped town center with a newly opened food hall and is home to the Washington Capitals’ practice facility.”
  5. Potomac Yard:Potomac Yard is a community established in the early 2000s with mostly townhouses, condos, apartments, and a large strip mall retail area. It has the newest inventory in the area, and is in the process of getting its own metro station which will be one stop away from Crystal City.
    • Walk Score: 34
    • What you can buy in Potomac Yard: A modern three-bedroom townhome overlooking a lovely park for $835,000.
    • Where to go in Potomac Yard: “The Potomac Yard retail center is experiencing a ton of turnover right now and being refinished. There’s now a movie theater and great bike trail. The Birchmere is a really cool, intimate music venue with a wide variety of acts.”
  6. Del Ray: “Del Ray is an awesome area with a small-town feel. It is mostly centered on Mount Vernon Avenue, which has tons of greats shops and restaurants. The homes there are older, but almost all have been refinished. There are some small condo communities and rowhouses, but it’s mostly made up of single-family homes.
  7. Columbia Pike: “Columbia Pike is not metro accessible, but is very bus and car-friendly to Crystal City. It’s about a 20 minute drive, and slightly longer on public transit. Housing is made up of a combination of condos, apartments, town homes, and single-family homes. The area saw a lot of development in the early-to-mid 2000s in terms of retail, but most of the housing inventory is older.
    • Walk Score: 60
    • What you can buy in Columbia Pike: A bright three-bedroom townhome with upscale finishes fro $949,000.
    • Where to go in Columbia Pike: “Grab a bite at the Original Bob and Edith’s Diner, which is a classic greasy spoon. Other great spots include The Arlington Drafthouse for performances and movie screenings, and Lost Dog Cafe, a great sandwich, pizza and beer place that supports local humane foundations.
  8. Shirlington: “Shirlington is a little farther away and would be car-dependent, but is a very pedestrian and dog-friendly area. The town center was updated in the 2000s, but the housing inventory goes as far back as the 1940s.
    • Walk Score: 55
    • What you can buy in Shirlington: An updated single-family five-bedroom house for $975,900.
    • Where to go in Shirlington: “Shirlington has a lot of quality restaurants, a theatre and Shirlington Dog Park, which is the local favorite and destination unto itself. For food, try Copperwood Tavern, which sources their food locally from Virginia, or Palette 22, which is a tapas place that supports the local art scene.”
  9. Alexandria: “Old Town Alexandria has a little bit of everything spread between three metro stations. There is a ton of history in this area, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, which is picturesque and steeped in legacy. The entire area is lovely to walk around and filled with quaint details and interesting shops and businesses.”
    • Walk Score: 60
    • What you can buy in Alexandria: A spacious three-bedroom single-family home with a large yard for $615,000.
    • Where to go in Alexandria: “King Street and the waterfront are the standout areas. They have a great feel and are home to tons of great restaurants and shops. I really like Virtue Food and Grain, Blackwall Hitch, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, Theismann’s, Port City Brewing and Rockland BBQ. The Mount Vernon Bike Trail is one of the best in the area.”

 

 

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