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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Board of Supervisors approves Markham Place project

An illustration of Markham place from the county staff report.

The Markham Place apartment project is going forward. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 2 approved a rezoning application for a 12-story, 310-unit apartment building on Markham Street, Annandale, on a 3.4-acre site currently occupied by Annandale AMF Lanes.

“We are losing the bowling alley,” said Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, “but we will be gaining something really spectacular.”

This would be the first new development in central Annandale since the Annandale revitalization plan was approved in 2010, said Michael Lynskey of the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning at the BoS meeting. “It would serve as a catalyst for future redevelopment.”

The site had already been rezoned for mixed-use development in 2008, but that project fell through when the economy crashed.

Markham Place will include at least 6,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, 30 additional parking places for the public, and a narrow park along Markham Street. The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved the rezoning application Oct. 30. The site would be rezoned from PDC (Planned Development Commercial) to PRM (Planned Residential Mixed Use).

The form-based plan approved for Annandale sets the maximum base height for buildings at this site at eight stories, but allows developers to go up to 12 stories if they provide additional public benefits.

The applicant, Markham Place LLC, a joint venture of Southern Management and the Webb Cos., is proposing two options for affordable housing: (1) committing 20 percent of the units in the building as affordable units as required by Fairfax County, or (2) committing the equivalent of 26 percent of the units as affordable units but locating some of them at the Parliaments, which is owned by Southern Management.

Additional proffers agreed to by the applicant include the right of way to accommodate the future widening of Markham Street, a section of a new local street along the northern border of the property, a traffic study, $10,825 to the school board per expected new student (assuming a ratio of 0.106 students per unit), $1,700 per unit for recreational facilities for residents, a linear park along Markham Street, an interim urban park or other public benefit such as parking facilities at the eastern end of the property, $50,000 to the Fairfax County Park Authority for park or trail improvements in Annandale, and $50,000 for public art.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Gross noted that the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee and Annandale Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly endorsed the project.

She read an excerpt from a letter by the Chamber: “If Annandale is to remain relevant in the future, Markham Place needs to be built so that Annandale can keep and re-attract these vibrant young professionals as part of our permanent residential community. After all, these are our future leaders, volunteers, PTA members, and Little League coaches. To put it mildly, we need them back. Fortunately, Markham Place will be leasable space, recognizing that many young professionals are paying off hefty school loans and will not be entering homeownership for a while. Yet they would like new construction in a very central location. Annandale, the crossroads of Northern Virginia, is that location, and this project will fill the gap in our housing market while kicking off much needed revitalization.”

23 comments:

  1. Why can't they do something more spectacular with the K-Mart and surrounding area? The area around the bowling alley is already very congested. What would really attract young professionals and future leaders is a Town Center (Mosiac like) on the whole block along John Marr Drive. It would also spruce up and modernize the whole area.

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    1. Who is the "they" you refer to in your comment?

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    2. I think the new project is a step in the right direction. I completely agree with the notion that the area around Kmart has seen its day.
      A new mixed use development like Shirlington or mosaic would be perfect there. I guess the "they" can be "us"if enough like minded people get involved.

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    3. I completely agree with you. I especially like your reference to both Shirlington and Mosaic. However, while I would strongly support such development in downtown Annandale, I do not have the assets needed to finance such a development. I do wish though.

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    4. Great IDEA! You should go buy the lot and develop it because "they" are not doing it. It's funny how people make such comments like "too much traffic" and "why don't they just build it over there" when they have no idea about land development or city planning.

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    5. Run a crime police event on fairfax site for annandale and notice all the crime are in the section 8 housings.

      Best way is to match rent for the real estate in the area and then force the property owners to match building codes to new standards.

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  2. Sure! More traffic and congestion around that area! Spectacular! All on the hope that a flock of "young professionals" will take up residence there!

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    1. Unless FFX brings metro to our older urban areas, these buildings will not attract young professionals. FFX you got to come up with a better idea, this is not a plan for success. Although I am happy to see development I am disappointed that transportation is not part of the big picture. Transit brings density, not the other way around. Arbitrary development brings more cars, traffic, and lacks the ingredients for a real neighborhood.

      FFX bring us metro and then watch us thrive.

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    2. There are areas without metro that have gained young professionals - eg Shirlington. But that has better bus service and is closer in. Not sure if this will work. OTOH it could be attractive to Korean Young Professionals who want to stay close to the Korean commercial district. IIUC a building like that has worked in Flushing NY, but not sure if it will work here.

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  3. the whole zoning and development regime is corrupt and idiotic, it's disgusting. and then idiots complain about the cost of housing, the sprawl, the traffic, etc. sigh...

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  4. I just... 0.1 students per unit... that's completely unbelievable.

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  5. So, 0.106 x 310 units = 32.86 expected students for a 310-unit complex. That seems pretty low. Then figure that 60+ units will be subsidized housing, and that REALLY seems low to me.

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  6. $15 ice cream shops incoming

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  7. I don't see anything about that project that will attract young professionals. It looks like any number of apartment buildings on Leesburg Pike or 236 near Landmark that can't compete with buildings in areas like Arlington or Mosaic because they aren't near Metro stations or many yuppie-oriented amenities. I hope I'm wrong, but I just see these apartments generating traffic, filling up with illegal immigrants, and breeding crime.

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  8. The lack of transportation in the area is a real problem. The bus service is pitiful and getting worse and of course Metro is far, far away. AND there is no place to park if you want to come to the area and walk among your shopping destinations (risk of towing is high).

    Oh, and can we have some restaurants that are not chain restaurants (redevelopment seems to mean getting only chain stores and restaurants) and not Korean (nothing against Korean food, but I can't eat it every time I go out!).

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    1. Why don't you open the restaurant you want so much?

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  9. I grew up in North Springfield and graduated from Annandale High School in the last decade, but I've now lived in Arlington and Alexandria and I don't see myself (or others like myself) coming back.

    The area just feels dated and stale. The 1950s housing stock in the various neighborhoods is starting to show its age, and the retail in Annandale is largely drying up. I notice that the old Jerry's Subs has been replaced by a car title loan shop. Really classy establishment.

    To the older residents of Annandale, I pose this to you:

    The clock is not turning back to 1985. Ribsters and Tom Weston's is not coming back, Annandale football is done winning state titles, and you're not going to be referred to as a "choice" or "prestigious" suburb anymore. I don't say that out of spite or anger, but just the truth.

    Annandale's greatest asset is that it's not terribly far from DC, but not expensive like Arlington or Alexandria. Going down its present path, I expect Annandale to be increasingly like Bailey's X-roads. Local projects have proven that allowing more dense development attracts investment, young adults, and vibrancy.

    It's up to the community to decide what they want to be: A community made up of increasingly aging and childless homeowners (who acquired their properties in the 70s, 80s, and 90s) and low-income immigrant renters.

    Or a community which includes young condo owners who value better entertainment, dining and retail options, but don't want to shell out for a house with grass around it.

    Understand all, that density brings in better retail. More customers in a close-in area. It's low density tract housing which forces Annandale to rely on K-Mart for its main retail.

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    1. All painfully true. A more contemporary housing model is needed for our working professional youth. If good connecting transit like they have in Shirlington was provided to these large mixed use developments, these have a chance at being successful.

      Density is needed in the right locations and enough density will support more local business. I think the fear of these units being rented to the poor are misguided. The traffic concerns however are a reality without attractive transit options.

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    2. Annandale is just down the new HOT lanes to Tysons Corner. Maybe FFX Connector can charter a high-frequency route which runs along the express lanes. Commuters to Tysons could live in the (cheaper) downtown Anandale.

      That's similar to what Shirlington is...an "urban village" which is an easy bus commute to DC, which has frequent near-round-the-clock service to DC (the 7A/F/Y route).

      Annandale needs fresh ideas, like this one, to stay relevant.

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  10. Will there be a bocce ball court?

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    1. Yeah once we get our pawn shop and tattoo parlor.

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  11. Can't wait to retire and move. Sorry, lived here for 25 years, but things are not going in the right direction. Sure, it will still be in "Fairfax County, one of the best (fill in the blank) in the country." But how many car title places does it take to suck everyone down the rabbit hole?

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  12. I'm a young professional. I say, to start, clean up the streets of day laborers first to make the place more attractive!

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