Lyon Village: Developing An Air of Exclusivity?

by Amanda Abrams

Lyon Village: Developing An Air of Exclusivity?: Figure 1
Original craftsman in Lyon Village

Its cute houses and immediate access to Clarendon’s many offerings have made Lyon Village one of the more attractive Arlington neighborhoods in which to live over the last few years.

But little by little, the community’s character—as well as a number of its smaller houses—could be fading away, as well-heeled new residents tear down existing structures to build homes more to their liking. Though Lyon Village still feels like a friendly, tight-knit neighborhood, it may be developing an air of exclusivity.

Quiet, Walkable, But Close to the Buzz

Lyon Village lies inside a curve of I-66, bordered by Lee Highway to the north, Kirkwood Road to the west, Wilson Boulevard to the south, and North Veitch Street to the east.

While Lyon Village is an entirely residential neighborhood, most sections are within a few minutes walk of the Whole Foods, Apple Store, funky independent boutiques, and burgeoning restaurant scene of Clarendon’s commercial district. That means evening and weekend outings can occur wholly on foot. For those who work in downtown DC or want to hang out in the city, the trip is about eight minutes via Metro’s Orange Line, and two stations, Clarendon and Courthouse, anchor the neighborhood. For drivers, the area is also close to some of northern Virginia’s most convenient highways, including I-66 and Route 50.

But the crowning point of Lyon Village’s location is that it’s not bisected by a single busy road or commercial area, and as a result, is quiet, cozy, and very pedestrian friendly.

“It feels suburban, but within the context of Arlington’s urban villages,” explained Scott Brodbeck, editor of ARLnow.com. “It’s probably one of the most desirable places to live in Arlington.”

Lyon Village: Developing An Air of Exclusivity?: Figure 2
Home in Lyon Village

Big Houses, Small Lots, High Prices

Mac, a 59 year-old media producer, described himself as having “totally lucked out” more than thirty years ago, when he bought his Lyon Village home for less than $50,000; its current value is more than ten times that. He said that a neighbor recently put her house on the market with an asking price of $800,000, thinking she’d have to eventually lower the price. Rather, there was a bidding war, and the home ended up selling for more than $1 million.

Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz, an agent with Keller Williams Realty, provided statistics that back up these anecdotes. She told UrbanTurf that the average home has three or four bedrooms and costs around $1 million. Prices for smaller houses tend to start at around $600,000, but that the area’s largest properties can sell for upwards of $2 million.

The houses west of North Highland Street tend to be fairly large with spacious yards, but the eastern side of Lyon Village is dotted with fairly simple bungalows and Cape Cods, which sit on smallish plots of land. However, the neighborhood has seen an increasing number of cases in which buyers knock down the existing home that they have purchased and construct an entirely new one in its place. It’s not a very common phenomenon—Schwartz estimated that out of the neighborhood’s 600-some homes, only 30 or 40 are brand new—but it’s enough to be noticeable. Mac pointed out three new homes on his block alone.

However, most of these properties are not your typical McMansions, but rather well-built craftsman-style homes that fit into the existing fabric of the community fairly well. They may be towering over tiny lots, but often, viewing the houses from the side is the only way to see how large they really are.

Lyon Village: Developing An Air of Exclusivity?: Figure 3
A new 6,000 square-foot home being built

George Ruppert, a 40-year resident who was watering the flowers within a traffic circle recently, pointed to the house being constructed next door to his; he’d heard it would be more than 6,000 square feet. But he didn’t seem to mind living next door to a behemoth, noting that “a lot of people have put on additions [to their homes],” including himself.

Million-Dollar Condos, Too

There are a number of condo and apartment buildings just off of Wilson Boulevard that are relatively affordable and technically within the neighborhood’s borders, but they’re largely viewed as an extension of Clarendon. The only multi-unit building considered part of Lyon Village is the Residences at Lyon Hill; another complex, Lyon Pointe, is currently under construction. Both are high-end, luxury condo buildings with units starting at $600,000 and going up to $1 million.

Lyon Village: Developing An Air of Exclusivity?: Figure 4
Children playing in Lyon Village Park

Becoming Exclusive

Mac divided current residents of Lyon Village into two categories: long-timers who arrived several decades ago, back when much of the neighborhood had a seedy flavor and homes were relatively cheap; and newcomers largely consisting of two-income households who are able to afford a house in the neighborhood through family money or a windfall earned during the real estate boom.

For newcomers, Lyon Village offers many pros and few cons. The Arlington County’s schools are some of the best in the region. Crime is almost non-existent and the community is watched over by an active citizens’ association. The neighborhood is home to several parks, including Lyon Village Park, which boasts a range of jungle gyms and climbing structures, plus a water feature that’s a hit with children. The Lyon Village community also collectively owns a building, the Lyon Village Community House, that hosts classes and events. And, as noted above, it does not have a commercial strip, but is very close to one.

However, all these advantages can have a downside. According to Brodbeck, the editor of ARLnow.com, there have been complaints from neighbors that Lyon Village is becoming overly exclusive, and he noted the distinct possibility that the area’s population is becoming more upscale.

Evidence of this can be seen in a parking and traffic issue that arose in April. The county has discussed the possibility of ending zone parking on one side of the street for some roads in the neighborhood to allow emergency vehicles to operate more safely. But Lyon Village residents have responded with indignation, and many have agitated for more zone parking and better traffic calming devices in order to keep outsiders out.

The Bottom Line

Lyon Village seems like a storybook small town — a place where neighbors are friendly, services are within walking distance, and crime is a distant concern. All of that is true, but these days it comes with a price tag. Like so many DC-area neighborhoods, the community is shifting from a low-key neighborhood of engaged professionals to one that’s distinctly higher end and off limits to those without serious means.

Amanda Abrams is a Washington, DC-based journalist who has written feature stories for The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington City Paper.


See other articles related to: lyon village, hoods, arlington

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/lyon_village_developing_an_air_of_exclusivity/3632


  1. Graham Pruitt said at 2:00 pm on Thursday June 16, 2011:
    I live on the Hill and it reminds of the convenience of having just about everything you need around you. Amidst the chaos of the Metro area it's good to have neighborhoods like this one. Unfortunately it's becoming exclusive but that's what happens when you find a gem like this area, people are willing to pay a premium.
  1. Daniel said at 2:18 pm on Thursday June 16, 2011:
    Unless the boundaries are drawn incorrectly, Lyon Village is nowhere near the Blue Line...
  1. Mark Wellborn said at 2:29 pm on Thursday June 16, 2011:
    Daniel, Thanks. The Blue Line was incorrectly included along with the Orange Line when the Clarendon and Courthouse stops were mentioned. We have updated the article. Mark Wellborn Editor
  1. John said at 5:27 am on Tuesday July 12, 2011:
    Lyon Village never became "seedy." In the 80s, a few streets closer to Lee Hwy and Courthouse had a few older, smaller homes that had seen better days, but Lyon village was always one of Arlington's more upscale neighborhoods, especially west of Highland St, and it closely resembles some neighborhoods in upper NW that were built around the same time. Lyon Village was always upper-middle class and had larger homes than nearby neighborhoods of the same period like Ashton Hts and Lyon Park; but now, as the article states, it is becoming "overly exclusive." And a correction: Taylor Elementary is the neighborhood school for the western half of Lyon Village, not Key. Boundary maps are on the Arlington Public School's website. Enjoyed the article!
  1. Dave said at 4:15 am on Friday September 16, 2011:
    Here is a video tour of Lyon Village http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsP91hXc3do&feature=youtu.be.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »