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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Proposed Markham Street project could spur redevelopment in Annandale



An illustration of the apartment building proposed for Markham Street.

The proposed 12-story apartment building project on the site of the bowling alley on Markham Street in Annandale will have 310 units—with a mix of efficiencies and one and two-bedroom units—and a ground-floor restaurant and park.

After hearing a presentation from the developers Jan. 14, the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee unanimously endorsed it. “I can’t imagine a better project for Annandale,” said committee chair Greg McGillicuddy.


A bird's eye view of the plaza and park.
 This project will be a “catalyst for future redevelopment in Annandale,” said former long-time committee chair Dan McKinnon. “Ultimately, downtown Annandale will become a place to go to, rather than a place to go through.” A similar mixed-use project was planned for that property several years ago but fell through when the economy tanked.

The $65 million, 355,000-square foot project is being developed by Southern Management, which also operates The Parliaments. The bowling alley property is owned by the Fairfax Investors Limited Partnership, of which the local, family-owned Webb Cos. is a part owner and managing general partner.

The project will be marketed to middle-income households and would be comparable to new apartments going up in Tysons and Merrifield, said David Houston, an attorney with the Falls Church office of Reed Smith LLP, who is representing the developer.  

Houston predicts construction could start in early 2017. A rezoning application was submitted to Fairfax County in mid December but hasn’t been reviewed yet. He said the rezoning process would take five to six months, and the permitting and review process would take another six to eight months.

It would be an L-shaped building with access from Markham Street, said the architect, Faik Tugberk of Architects Collaborative Inc., based in Bethesda. The exterior would have two colors of brick—mostly light orange with a column of dark gray bricks in the corner.

The apartment complex as seen from Little River Turnpike, showing the third-floor plaza and The Parliaments in the background.
Approximately 6,000 square feet would be reserved for a restaurant—with outdoor seating and a front porch facing Markham Street—and possibly additional retail uses.

A parking garage would be partly above ground and partly below. Forty-five parking spaces would be reserved for restaurant patrons. Another 30 spaces would be allocated for future development in the area, Tugberk said.

The roof of the parking garage would have an 8,000-square foot plaza for residents with a swimming pool and landscaping.

At the rear of the property, currently occupied by Annandale AMF Lanes, there would be a small urban park with space for outdoor recreation and barbecuing. The project would also accommodate potential future plans for a larger park facing Annandale Road, Houston said.

Apartment sizes would average about 750 square feet—ranging from 550 square feet for an efficiency to 1,200 square feet for a large two-bedroom apartment—not including balconies.

The county would require a proportion of affordable units reserved for “workforce housing,” and Houston said Southern Management is proposing that those units be at The Parliaments instead of the new building.

He estimates the residents would include 32 to 33 school-age children, with proffers to the county of about $10,000 per student to offset the additional cost to the school system.

The design of the building would incorporate “green building technology,” with the goal of having it designated “LEED Silver” in terms of building sustainability, Houston said. The project also calls for a new bike lane on Markham Street and a shuttle to Metro.

While the bowling alley is a long-time community gathering place, “the building itself is not architecturally or historically significant,” Houston said. Tugberk suggested some elements of the bowling alley might be incorporated into the common areas of the new building.

19 comments:

  1. What will attract people to these units? Tysons and Merrifield both have Metro to attract those "middle income" residents. I fear that this will just be more of the same- including the problems posed - by existing complexes in Annandale.

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    1. I assume it will be cheaper - have you taken a close look at the apts in Mosaic? I have - they are pretty pricey per square foot.

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  2. To what problems with existing "middle income" complexes are you referring?

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  3. Just what we need - a traffic congestion magnet right where the traffic is at its worse. Way to go Planning Committee. Talk about a dumb idea.

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    1. We definitely need more bus service, and bike lanes, to provide some more options.

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  4. I think this is a great idea. Something similar should be in the works at the huge expanse of land now occupied by K-mart, Wendy's and a useless parking lot. A mixed-use residential/commercial development in that area would be a great addition to the community.

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  5. Unless the shopping areas of Annandale are improved as well this will not be a destination similar to Tysons or Merrifield. Seems as though there are grandious ideas of Annandale becoming something that it will never be. Sad at the thought of the bowling alley going away. It is a much needed gathering place especially since it's the last place to have kids/sports teams parties.

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    1. "Seems as though there are grandiose ideas of Annandale becoming something that it will never be."

      Yes, very sad indeed. Annandale is one of a few areas left in NoVA that IS walkable and ISN'T either blighted or gentrified to the point of self-parody : just a simple, livable town, something it seems all the area's planning committees have slated for extinction by 2050 so that the area may house a vast, culture-free open-air amusement park for Beltway elites.

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    2. Central Annandale is not a particularly pleasant place to walk around - its a mess of narrow sidewalks, gas station and shopping center parking lot driveways, and little visual appeal to a pedestrian (apart from a few blocks that have retained pre-1950 development). As for culture free, there's no particular reason that the Korean identity can't be integrated with higher density. And its only for elites (so far) because we haven't caught up to the demand for it.

      And I don't know why you specify beltway. Annandale is adjacent to the beltway. Thats just a geographic fact.

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  6. Dan McKinnon wants Annandale to be "a place to go" ... oh really? Then why tear out its very last meeting place that isn't a coffee shop?

    Flatten the Kmart instead, no one would miss that.

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    1. I am presuming the owners of that property are less eager to develop - its possible the Kmart is more profitable than the bowling alley is. Sometimes what we think people would miss and wouldn't is different than what sales figures reveal.

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  7. The K-Mart Plaza was eyed for development, what, 6-7 years ago -- similar to what is now planned for Landmark Mall. A good idea, that apparently died. What would be nice, as noted by others, is some sort of comprehensive plan that would actually "revitalize" Annandale, and move it away from the chock-a-block mess it is. Not sure this is part of any plan...

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    1. The Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment plan for Annandale in 2010 in the form of an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. It's up to the private sector to invest in the community, however; if developers don't come forward, there isn't much the county can do. And right now developers are focusing on Tysons and other areas.

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  8. I guess I'm missing the part about how this helps us?

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    1. Exactly. Seems like more kids for overcrowded schools, more traffic and more revenue for the county but nothing positive for those of us who live here already.

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    2. Arguably, the project increases the tax base and tax revenue for the county, which could be for upgrading schools and dealing with traffic congestion. School Board or County may not use the money correctly (after all what makes them experts on education or transportation), but there will be more money to alleviate the problems you identify.

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    3. @ Anonymous 2:24 No matter how much money is put into the county that is not going to help our overcrowded schools. There is no plan to help our schools just add more kids into the system.

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  9. First Fudruckers and now the bowling ally. As addressed where else will we gather? The small park designed for barbecuing?

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  10. Help me understand how this will benefit the Annandale community. Adding 310 units (perhaps 500 cars from its residents) will help us how? Stimulate the local business? Maybe if they shop here for more than groceries and essentials. Crowd schools and streets? Without a doubt. Although my most direct route to work, I avoid 236. Centrally located, this will absolutely increase traffic on 236, Gallows and Backlick. Show us stats on how this will help the community to offset the congestion it will add.

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