01 Apr Featured Neighborhood: An In-Depth Look at Kingstowne, VA
As we continue with our in-depth look at some of the best neighborhoods near the Pentagon, the next stop on the tour is Kingstowne, VA, a planned community located in Alexandria just outside Washington, D.C., and less than 15 miles from the Pentagon.
As you begin to plan your relocation, talk with other military families and explore where you and your family will live. You will undoubtedly find that many military and government families choose the tight-knit community of Kingstowne, VA, because of its proximity to the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, and Washington, D.C. If you are looking for nice, well-kept neighborhoods with the typical suburban conveniences—such as easy access to grocery shopping—and a short commute to work, Kingstowne may be a perfect fit.
Where is Kingstowne?
Located in Virginia’s thriving Fairfax County, Kingstowne is bordered by Franconia to the north and west and Fort Belvoir to the south. It is a mere 13 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Technically located in western Alexandria, Kingstowne has its own ZIP code (22315). The neighborhood was first developed in the 1980s and is the second largest planned community in the county (Reston being the biggest). Its location makes getting on the Capitol Beltway quick and easy (traffic notwithstanding), and the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street Metro stations are nearby.
As mentioned in an earlier post, on-base housing at the Pentagon is not an option, which is one of the reasons why Kingstowne attracts military and government families. With so many of its residents having ties to the military, Kingstowne has the close, supportive community that typically develops among the families living on-base.
The cost of living in the D.C. metro area is high and will definitely be a factor when it comes to deciding where to live. However, Kingstowne is one of the more affordable areas to live in terms of the amount of square footage you can get within your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The median home price for this area is around $450,600 (which represents a 6% increase over the same period in 2016), and rentals range between $2,000 and $3,000 a month.
For many families, the quality of the local school system is a key factor in their decision on where to live. In Virginia, parents have the ability to choose educational options that fit their individual family’s needs. Online public schooling, attending private schools, or choosing charter schools outside your designated district are all options for families living here.
Kids who live in Kingstowne attend schools in the highly rated Fairfax County Public School System (FCPS). With more than 186,000 students enrolled, it’s the largest public school system in Virginia and the 10th largest in the US. Elementary schools in the county tend to be small and are located within the neighborhoods, but the middle and high schools are larger and require students to be bussed daily. Interestingly enough, the FCPS bus fleet is one of the largest private bus fleets in the U.S., transporting more than 130,000 students on more than 1,600 buses each day.
According to FCPS, “nearly 93 percent of FCPS students graduate on time (after four years of high school), and more than 93 percent plan to pursue post-secondary education. FCPS students can take Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes in high school; the division offers the IB middle years program and the IB primary years program in select schools. The class of 2016 had 237 National Merit semifinalists. Fairfax County high schools are recognized annually by the Washington Post as being among the most challenging high schools in the U.S.” The county is pretty good about keeping their website updated regularly with more in-depth information about their student academic performance and offer a school finder to help you find info about schools in a specific neighborhood.
For Kingstowne residents, students who live on the north side attend Twain Middle and Edison High School, and south side residents attend Hayfield Secondary School, which has both middle and high schools. Elementary schools include Lane, Island Creek, Franconia, and Hayfield.
According to Movoto, the crime rate in Kingstowne is 70 percent lower than the national average. Considering that it’s a family-friendly neighborhood with many government and military ties, it may be one of the safest communities in the area. The Fairfax County Police Department website has some great information about the safety of Kingstowne and about the county overall.
When developer Warren Hale bought property to develop in 1985, he envisioned a planned community with a mix of residential and commercial real estate. The community, now known as Kingstowne, blossomed into a flourishing mix of apartments, condos, townhomes, and single-family houses alongside all the amenities a planned community could offer. It has all the big-name stores and retailers one would expect, but it also has some specialty stores that create a real sense of place and whose employees will get to know their local clientele.
Kingstowne is known for a strong sense of community. It’s a place where neighbors know one another and regularly get together for planned social events and activities. Monthly get-togethers—such as comedy nights, cultural events, and philanthropic fundraisers—are just the tip of the iceberg. And, in an effort to connect residents who share common interests, the community association approves all sorts of free resident clubs and interest groups. From cooking, chess, and bridge to photography and music, there is a club for just about any interest. And from May through October, you will see fellow neighbors stopping by the lovely Farmer’s Market in the Kingstowne Towne Center to pick up local produce, meats, and flowers.
Another wonderful benefit of living here is access to 1,200 acres of green space. And because it’s a planned community, the grounds are taken care of by the association. In addition to the abundance of open space, there are neighborhood playgrounds, four community centers, swimming pools, and two state-of-the-art fitness centers.
With its tight-knit community, loads of amenities, and it’s close proximity to D.C. and the Pentagon, Kingstowne should definitely be on your short list of neighborhoods to consider as you begin to narrow down what areas will work for you and your family. When you are ready to see what Kingstowne has to offer for yourself, give us a call. We’ll be happy to take you around to see how special this community can be.