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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Major redevelopment projects proposed for Annandale

Apartment building planned for this site.
After years of inaction, something big is proposed for central Annandale: A large apartment building is in the works for the site of the AMF Annandale Lanes on Markham Street, and a smaller apartment building is planned for Rectory Lane, behind the Heritage shopping center on Heritage Drive.

Both projects are being developed by J. Webb Properties, the Annandale-based company that owns the land at both sites.

For the bowling alley site, “we’re looking at something that would add to the streetscape and be a class A or class B-type multifamily project,” said Jon Farmelo, president of the Webb company. “We know it’s in part of the county looking for growth, so we hope the county will be amenable.”

Plans are sketchy, but he expects the project will have 250 to 300 rental units. It could range anywhere from four stories to a highrise with 10 or 12. “We’re still in the process of trying to figure out what works best on that site,” he said. The Annandale revitalization plan approved in 2010 as an amendment to Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan allows projects with higher density than normally allowed if developers add certain amenities.

The building might include some retail space—possibly a restaurant—on the first floor, “but it wouldn’t be the kind of mixed-use development some people are talking about where the entire first floor would be retail,” Farmelo said. “There is plenty of retail across the street and parking would be limited.” The project would probably include a parking structure, but he is not sure if it would be above ground or below ground.

Farmelo optimistically predicts an 18 to 24-month timetable to get through the planning, rezoning, and permitting processes before construction could start.

Old plans revived

Webb had the bowling alley property under contract a few years ago calling for another developer to build a mixed-use project, but that sale fell through when the real estate market collapsed in 2008. At that time, the property, just under four acres, was rezoned to accommodate a mixed-use development with retail and office use and a small number of residential units. This time, Webb will do the redeveloping itself.

“I think it will be a very attractive building that maybe can kickstart some growth in the Annandale area,” Farmelo said. “That area is due for some improvements and revitalization.”

He expects the building will have a contemporary design, with apartments marketed to the middle and upper-middle-class renter. Units would probably be on the small size—900 to 1,000 square feet—with the majority of them one-bedroom units, although there might some studios and two-bedrooms. He expects the building will attract “people who want to be close to Tysons but don’t want to pay Tysons prices.”

“It would be a step above some of the apartments there now. We think there is a market for that in Annandale,” he said.

The company would like to see the bowling alley continue to operate in that space until construction starts. “We want to keep them there as long as it makes sense,” Farmelo said. It would be up to the bowling alley’s parent company, AMF to decide whether to relocate in Annandale. AMF has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and the company approved a restructuring plan with its creditors in November, so it’s possible the bowling alley will close anyway.

J. Webb Properties is a privately held company founded in 1982 by John Webb and was later operated by his son, Michael Webb. After Mike Webb died in 2011, Farmelo, his son-in-law, was named president.

Webb also owns several other properties in Annandale. The company is the lead partner in a group that owns the Little River Shopping Center with the Safeway, owns the land occupied by the Parliaments housing development, and owns the Heritage shopping center with the H Mart grocery store.

Renovation of the storefronts at the Heritage shopping center is nearly complete. A new apartment building is proposed for the three-and-a-half acre-site at the back of the property on Rectory Lane, which is occupied by a gas station and a 7-11. Currently zoned for community retail, it would have to be rezoned for multifamily housing.

Heritage project proposed

That building would most likely be four stories and would have 200 to 250 units, probably aimed at middle or upper-middle class households, Farmelo said. That project would be residential only, since it’s adjacent to a retail center. “There haven’t been any new apartments in Annandale for 40 or 50 years. We think a new apartment building there, given its location, could do really well,” he said. Both that project and the bowling alley redevelopment would proceed at the same time.

Farmelo hasn’t yet formally presented his plans to the Annandale revitalization committee, Chamber of Commerce, community groups, or county officials, although he did have a discussion on the Heritage project with Braddock Supervisor John Cook. He acknowledged there could be a lengthy community outreach process, and there would likely be lots of discussion about the impact on school overcrowding, traffic congestion, and other issues, but doesn’t foresee any many obstacles.

“We have a very favorable market for multifamily now,” he said. “We have a favorable interest rate environment and positive economic factors we feel can drive this development.” Also, he noted, all it could take is one big new project to spur more reinvestment in central Annandale.

24 comments:

  1. Pennys dream come true in Annandale: illegals piled up 10 stories high with Social Services and a Good Will just down the street. Wow, I love Annandale...

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  2. Doesnt Mason District need some schools? How about something big like that be proposed instead?

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  3. Thousands of future voters ready for their payouts. The Democrats are ruthless, allow the new voters parents in, give them everything, in return they deliver the highest birth rate in the county, don't educate them (Tessie Wilson), and voila, thousands of new Democrats.

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  4. Wonder what kind of person would want to live next to a gas station, multiple lower income housing, and a major road? Nevermind.

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  5. Wonder what kind of person would want to live next to a gas station, multiple lower income housing, and a major road? Nevermind.

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  6. Hilarious comments

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  7. So when you have Cook in one pocket and Gross in the other, overcrowded schools, traffic congestion and other quality of life issues are not obstacles???

    Over and again Gross has whined that the reason we can't get a true revitalization project in Annandale is because all the properties are owned by separate individuals.

    The TRUTH is that between the AMF Property and Safeway center there are 15 Contiguous Acres owned by one entity that could be developed into a town center.

    WHY IS THIS CONCEPT NOT BEING PROMOTED?

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  8. Amen to the comment above. Why is the mixed use not being demanded by the Annandale Revitalization and Chamber of Commerce? If you build two ugly and probably cheap apartment buildings, not to mention how small they are, Annandale is getting nothing. Build some type of mixed use so that people will want to come to Annandale. Whoever said there is already enough shopping across the street in the Shopping Center is crazy--a grocery store, Radio Shack, come on! Annandale residents need to rise up and demand more of developers/owners. You are not going to get any leadership from Supervisor Gross, it's up to you. Developers/owners can go backrupt and still come back to build whatever they want to just make money, with no vision for the future and little regard to the residents.

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  9. Our schools are already overcrowded and now there is plans to add TWO new apartment buildings in Annandale 1- Bowling Lane 2- Off Heritage. This is ridiculous. This is not revitalization.

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  10. Wow. Not the plans I was hoping for to revitalize Annandale. I do not think we need more apartments, it's already very congested. I'm very disappointed in this plan. I would actually prefer to keep the bowling alley.

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  11. What else would you expect from a third world county? Probably not a planner, architect, economist or anyone with any smarts is leading the charge on this arbitrary land grab bag that appears to have no basis in planning. Hope we are all wrong and that good sense prevails!

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  12. Obviously the developer is just doing what is in his best interest: catering to the Third World mentality that Annandale has become. What would you do to maximize profits if you were him? Look around at Mason and you will see that this fits in well with what Mason has become. But what the heck, lets all show up at the meetings and protest only to watch this project shoved down our throats by Penny and Co. That's how it works.

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  13. Are you kidding! Losing yet another family oriented establishment in Annandale -- the other notable loss being the Fuddruckers which will be replaced by a Walgreens (??? there is a CVS directly across the street and Kmart nearby). Annandale needs family friendly destinations and quality commercial retail not more condos/apartments in a location which will add to the already frustrating and inconvenient congestion in that area and to the already overcrowded schools.

    This "revitalization" of Annandale needs some CPR because it is, sadly, DOA.

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  14. I would rather have the bowling alley.

    And do they seriously think it will be upper middle class families living there? Nothing wrong with the neighborhood, but if I were upper middle class I'd certainly want to live somewhere nicer.

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  15. Great- it will add to the area, and provide housing for singles and young couples. This is what we need to revive the area.

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  16. Regarding the comment: I do not think we need more apartments, it's already very congested.

    We are too congested to be a successful suburb, and not dense enough to be an urban area. When we get denser, we will require more transport - esp transit, improved sidewalks, and bike lanes.

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  17. Folks, people bring money. Money brings redevelopment. What makes you think these new apartments will be priced so the illegals can rent them? I agree with the "handout mentality" we've fostered mentioned above but basically this thing is now a huge waste of underutilized space. Give this builder a chance, he's upgrading this vastly underutilised space. You could land an airplane in that parking lot. C'mon, this is SOME progress and the "pie in the sky" redevelopment board is just that - they can only suugest things and have no funds to buy anything. Let's give this a chance.

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    1. Our schools are very overcrowded and our kids are in trailers. Putting in additional apartments is the last thing we need for Annandale. We can not support the people that are currently here we can not add anymore kids/ people to our system.

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    2. Yeah yeah yeah, and the world will be overpopulated like they said in the 1960s and we'll all die of starvation. The absolute reverse happened, abortion and zero if not negative growth rates are now the problem. Let people have more kids, they are our future - this is not a kid problem and has nothing to do with that.

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    3. There is a difference between space for living and finite space in a school.

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    4. If people move into the county with kids because they bulid dwellings that did not exist - whoever owns that property will pay the high cost of the FX Co real estate tax that goes almost entirely to FX Co school system just like you and I do. How the school system wastes this income is up to them, but that's how the system is set up to pay for new students and the tax should cover it. If they can't manage their finances - don't blame the people who want to move here. If you have a problem with tax dollars going to fund illegals, say so, I resect that. Don't blame too many kids - they are inncocent.

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  18. It is hard to have a quality apartment that faces a back alley, a gas station, a paint place, and lower income apartments. People with money have options, and doubt many would want to live there.

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  19. I agree that we do not need more apartments. That location is busy. But I think if he was offering condos that would be better. Rentals are not needed.

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  20. Our schools are very overcrowded and our kids are in trailers. Putting in additional apartments is the last thing we need for Annandale. We can not support the people that are currently here we can not add anymore kids/ people to our system.

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