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Arlington's suit to force impact studies allowed to proceed

A lawsuit aimed at slowing the HOT lanes project planned for Interstates 95 and 395 in Northern Virginia has received an early vote of confidence.

A U.S. District Court ruled that a lawsuit filed by the Arlington County Board against the Virginia, the U.S. departments of transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration can proceed. The suit alleges that the agencies should have performed environmental and health studies, as well as traffic analysis, before moving forward with planed HOT lanes on Interstates 95 and 395.

Local homeowners will benefit from a swift resolution to the suit. Traffic congestion is an ongoing problem in Arlington, making it less desirable to commuters shopping for new homes.

Northrop Grumman just weeks away from choosing location for new headquarters

Officials say that Northrop Grumman is just weeks away from deciding where to establish its new headquarters. Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are all under consideration. The company plans to open the new 300-person facility in about a year.

Fairfax and Arlington Counties are both in the running to be the defense contractor's new home town. Landing Northrup Grumman would be a significant economic boost for either county - to the benefit of local homeowners, who could see a bump in property values along with the creation of highly paid jobs.

Read more in the Richmond Times-Dispatch....

Appraisers unfamiliar with improvements may hinder ROI on green retrofits

Improving the energy efficiency of one’s home is beneficial for a variety of reasons but one may not include improving the home’s value.  Most agree that energy retrofits are good for the environment and save homeowners on utility bills but a recent article by CNNMoney indicates that some appraisers are not well versed in valuing these features.

Hampton eliminates 78 positions to balance budget

The city of Hampton will eliminate 78 permanent full-time positions to make up for its $19 million budget shortfall.

About 55 of those positions are currently filled. City officials will try to move employees in those jobs to current openings. "We do have plans to try to place as many of those people as possible. We have over 106 positions that are vacant and open to try to place those folks into," said City Manager Mary Bunting.

Read more at the Daily Press....

Challenge to Arlington County affordable housing project dismissed

An affordable housing project built above a church sanctuary in Arlington County is nearing completion. The project has been contentious from the start, with residents of nearby neighborhoods objecting for six years to its placement atop a Baptist Church.

The latest attempt to halt the project was stymied on Monday, when Judge Claude M. Hilton said Peter Glassman failed to prove that the county, by partnering with the Church, is advancing religion or enriching the church.

Glassman, who lives a block from the church, plans to appeal the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. "We are confident that once the dealings between the county and the church see the light of day, the entanglement and preference will be apparent, he said.

Fitch Ratings reaffirms Loudoun County's AAA rating

Loudoun CountyFitch Ratings announced yesterday its award of AAA rating to Loudoun County for $102.1 million in general obligation refunding bonds that are expected to be sold April 8. The rating agency also gave the AAA rating on approximately $880 million outstanding general obligation bonds.

Arlington, Fairfax among three finalists for new Northrop Grumman headquarters

Northrop GrummanNorthrop Grumman will move its West Coast headquarters to the Washington area, and has narrowed its choices to Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia, and Montgomery County in Maryland, according to sources in government and real estate. The company is expected to announce its decision by the end of April.

The entrance of a large number of highly paid workers into the area would likely invigorate the local housing market.

New gas pipeline to increase capacity in Churchland area

Columbia Gas of Virginia is building almost five miles of new pipeline through Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Suffolk to increase capacity in and around the Churchland area. The company expects to to spend almost $8 million and complete the project in June.

The increased capacity will support development in the area, spurring growth that will benefit the real estate market.

Read more in The Virginian-Pilot....

Governors call for a rail corridor along I-81

Bob Riley, Haley Barbour, Ed Rendell, Phil Bredesen, and Bob McDonnell -- governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia, respectively -- call on the federal government to help fund the Crescent Corridor, a 2,500-mile rail route stretching across 13 states from New Jersey to Tennessee and Louisiana. Besides relieving traffic congestion, the governors cite projections that say the Crescent Corridor project will create 47,000 jobs by 2020 and 73,000 by 2030.

Virginia Real Estate Board elects Chair and Vice Chair

At its meeting this week, the members of the Virginia Real Estate Board elected a new Chair and Vice Chair. The results...

  • Chair: Byrl Taylor, GRI, from Long & Foster in White Stone
  • Vice Chair: Scott Gaeser, CCIM, from Eagle Realty of Virginia in Glen Allen