Dashed streetcar plans spread uncertainty along Columbia Pike, Crystal City corridors

Zulkuf Gezgic, owner of Attila's Restaurant on Colombia Pike, says he doubts another project is going to come to the area any time soon. (Miles Parks/The Washington Post)

Zulkuf Gezgic, owner of Attila’s Restaurant on Colombia Pike, says he doubts another project is going to come to the area any time soon. (Miles Parks/The Washington Post)

By: Patricia Sullivan and Miles Parks

Arlington County’s abrupt cancellation of two long-planned streetcar projects on Tuesday has upended plans to redevelop the Columbia Pike and Crystal City corridors and poses new uncertainty for those interested in transforming the aging neighborhoods, say business and civic leaders.

Some property owners along the congested Columbia Pike strip are now recalculating prices at which they think they could sell, predicting softer demand from developers who had been intrigued by the creation of a trendy streetcar line. Others, however, said they were relieved to hear that the projects were canceled — because they feared streetcars would bring gentrification that could force them out.

Advocates of revitalization, meanwhile, said county leaders must quickly commit to funding other transportation improvements if they want to preserve the corridor’s potential — a commitment Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette (D) promised to make.

“The risks have risen significantly for those who want to invest,” said Takis Karantonis, executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. “There is no credible transportation proposal in the works. So we find ourselves in limbo.”

Zulkuf Gezgic, owner of Atilla’s Restaurant on Columbia Pike, put his restaurant up for sale more than two years ago for $275,000. He is still waiting to sell and said he’d now take $220,000 if the buyer was willing to pay in cash.

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page B1 of The Washington Post.

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