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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Urban planners to study Annandale revitalization strategies


Columbia Pike in Annandale.

The Mini-Technical Assistance Panel of the Washington area chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected Annandale as one of its study sites. The group will recommend strategies for revitalization, including such issues as how to improve the streetscape and business vitality.

The panelists consists of working professionals in urban design, planning, and real estate from all over the D.C. region. They will focus on the Annandale Commercial Revitalization District, particularly on Columbia Pike between Little River Turnpike and Evergreen Lane. Their report is expected to be completed in May.

“The project should generate some great ideas,” says Laura Baker, a planner with the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization, which is assisting with the study.

A description of the study objectives from the ULI calls Annandale “a unique community with a multicultural population, many long-time residents in the surrounding neighborhoods, strong community spirit exemplified by year-round community events, and a well-known Korean restaurant scene.”

Despite a comprehensive plan for Annandale approved in 2010 that set a framework for major redevelopment, little has changed, the ULI  states. “Most new development remains by-right, parcel by parcel activity, and the area’s appearance suffers from building deterioration and code compliance violations.”

The panel is expected to address these questions:

  • How can Annandale be further revitalized and enhanced as a place through design?
  • What mix of businesses would enhance the economic vitality of Annandale?
  • Are there existing assets to build on, unmet demand to satisfy, or big catalytic concepts to pursue?
  • Are there temporary/pop-up businesses that would be appropriate?
  • What promotional or educational strategies (such as events, educational campaigns, or branding programs) could help assist with the revitalization of Annandale?
  • How will revitalizing Annandale benefit the overall metropolitan Washington region?

57 comments:

  1. The retail shopping experience in Annandale consists of K Mart and even that's eventually supposed to close. Without more retail, there's not much incentive to visit Annandale. If we have it, so does mostly every other place.

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  2. Is a volunteer thing or is FXCO paying for this?

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  3. Pat Sawhney3/9/16, 7:52 PM

    Another study. I hope something comes of this one. Get off the drawing board and on to real changes; that's what needs to be done going forward.

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    1. Nobody stopping you Pat from starting a business or buying one of the underutilized parcels in Annandale and proposing a major redevelopment - I'm told Penny "Two Cents" Gross is for sale by many of the commenters on this blog site.

      Get off the drawing board and your keyboard Pat and get on to real changes!

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    2. Pat, what are your thoughts on the Annandale business district? Has the ACofC talked to Penny?

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  4. lets have a huge study, get a lot of community input, have a lot of meetings and then have Penny ignore it all. o wait, lets not waste our time as we all know the end result. #pennyshouldresign

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    1. Most Ignorant Commenter Ever - Great Job!

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    2. 8:43 is just telling how it has been for years here. Penny does not help our community at all. Penny is selfish and if it does not help her she could care less.

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    3. i agree with #pennyshouldresign

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    4. I agree with 8:43. Annandale has one of the best locations in all of the DC region and yet nothing to show for it! #newbloodplease

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  5. Well, I could have saved you all a lot of money and time. Annandale needs a hub store to go into the old Bloom location...try Trader Joe's. Annandale is about equidistant from all other TJ's and if there was a hub store with that much draw, the smaller businesses would get more notice than they do currently. Annandale has many ethnic restaurants, but other than the Silver Diner and the Silverado's there aren't any mainstream restaurants that draw young people and also suit family gatherings. You need to have something that will bring repeat business into the community for it to help develop businesses with steady income.

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    1. Add Dice Burger to the list.

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    2. Why would TJ come if Bloom wasn't successful? What formula has changed to make that a smart business decision for any grocery shop?

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    3. Do you mean the Juke Box Diner rather than Silver Diner?

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    4. I understand Honey Pig is popular with young people. My son loves going there.

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    5. There are lots of restaurants that attract young people in Annandale, but that's not to say it's in sore need for more. It'd be nice to have outdoor seating at a couple more places.

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    6. Adam--if I recall correctly, Bloom's departure was less related to our particular location than to a change in corporate priorities, with Food Lion abandoning its foray into smaller locations under the separate Bloom brand. I think the Blog covered it...maybe about 2012?

      I'd love to see a TJs there. I recognize its 10-15 minutes from their Bailey's, Springfield, and Pickett Road locations--but all three of those are busy enough that I think they could easily support another location.

      Parking is so bad at some of the current TJs locations that I have begun to understand Yogi Berra's famous "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" line. Maybe not "nobody"--but I don't go as often as I would otherwise.

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    7. It was closed due to underperformance.

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    8. Actually Andrew is correct Adam, the entire Bloom model was eliminated nation wide. It was unable to compete in that delivery line of merchandise. This location would be perfect for TJ, the Baileys' store is a mad house and the old Bloom store would provide more shelf space. However, TJ at Baileys may be locked into a lease. It would be a great anchor for Annandale.

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    9. Gee, why doesn't someone call TJ's and inform them of the tremendous business opportunity just sitting waiting for them, only them.

      What? Your waiting for Penny "Two Cents" Gross to do it because she is responsible for everything that happens in Mason District and if she doesn't do it no one will.

      Right.

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    10. So you're saying to closed because it couldn't compete...or in other words...underperforming?

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    11. As I recall, Bloom spent more time making that property over than they did operating the store itself. What a waste!

      I have no objection to a Trader Joe's, but I'd also love to see a Wegman's go in there--Consumer Reports rated them even higher than TJ for many things.

      That spot has been home to grocery stores for decades, and I hope a good new one will put down some deep, healthy roots there...sooner rather than later.

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    12. Im saying the entire subsidiary was dismantled and had nothing to do with being in Annandale. However, one could assume it was underperforming otherwise Food Lion would have not shutdown that division.

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    13. Wegmans only likes big box, that is their formula. TJ, likes small stores, they thrive on the hustle and bustle, that is their formula. Clearly the landlord must be an idiot because that site has remained vacant for I think about 3 years.

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  6. Finally we get some professionals on board. I just hope that they do not have degrees from Dumpster University. The only problem is that the County may not listen to anyone with credentials other than from that University.

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  7. What Silver Diner?

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  8. If only it were a Silver Diner.

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  9. A Wegmans would be HUGE at the old blooms and would be a big draw into the community. If I was the supervisor, I would be working with the land owner and wegmans to see if a deal like that could happen, as that would really be a boost.

    Its unlikely because generally Wegmans are bigger than the bloom store size, but Id still try.

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  10. What about an Aldi's?

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  11. It's surprising to me that ANY volume traffic store would be permitted in that site with the parking as limited as it is

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  12. BTW, TJ at Bailey's is expanding into the music store space as soon as they move out. Music store has given notice.

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  13. We have three grocery stores, I'm not sure an additional one is really needed at the Bloom location. A schnitzel house/beer hall on the other hand would be grand!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with EL. I could go for some good German food.

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  14. How about just putting some simple crosswalks on the corner of evergreen and columbia pike??

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  15. Annandale was revitalized several years ago when we had the brick paver sidewalks and cross walks installed. That really improved the walkability of Annandale.

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    1. I'm not sure I'd count installing nice sidewalks as "revitalization". It is a part of revitalization, but it isn't revitalization, and to be clear, Annandale is far from being revitalized. Tysons is revitalized. Reston is revitalized. Clarendon is revitalized. Ballston is being revitalized again. Baileys, Annandale, et all, do not look or feel anything like those places. In some ways thats a good thing (I chose to not live in those places for a reason), but in many others, it's a bad thing (we need the business interest and we need to start reducing blight).

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    2. Annandale is not important or glamorous enough for Penny or Sharon to engage.

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    3. "Annandale was revitalized several years ago when we had the brick paver sidewalks and cross walks installed. That really improved the walkability of Annandale." you mean like this one in the middle of
      Annandale: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2a8tyo0ldm3mhis/Annandale%20not%20brick%20walk%20.jpg?dl=0 They're imitation brick.

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    4. Yea, and its falling apart. That is what I would call first class urban renewal gone bad.

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  16. Has anyone gone on the Annandale Chamber of Commerce site? Go on and click on "Our Community" Read The Commercial Revitalization of Annandale,along with the other reports. Our little town needs alot of help.

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    Replies
    1. You get what you voted for:
      little/no help.

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    2. The Chamber and the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee etc. all work for Penny. No change means no change.

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  17. Sadly nothing will become of Annandale until since we have little to no office space. The office lunch crowd keeps restaurants going during the day. We will not get good retail until the social economic issues are resolved, Annandale / Baileys has one of the lowest per house hold income in the area. First thing that major retail looks for is income levels and education. Since we are low income, this area is not the top pick for major retail, be it a Whole Foods, Macy's, Wegmans.

    Without some type of mass transit other than bus, not much will happen. You will continue to see growth along the silver line and I see Springfield recovering now that the mall is back. Springfield has metro, office space, retail, and restaurants. Now parts may be a run down but overall it is not as bad.
    Other than some Korean places to eat, no real reason to shop in Annandale, nothing here that is not already somewhere else.

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    1. What the know-nothings here do not know is that those Korean places are quite a draw for out of district residents, and not just Korean ones. Honey Pig, Kogiya, Karaoke, other Korean restaurants places...when I was not a Mason District resident, I was in Annandale more than you'd think, and no, I'm not Korean.

      Where can I support the Korean business owners of Annandale?

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    2. I am not a know-nothing.. I stated "other than some Korean places to eat" , meaning Korean places are the main draw to Annandale. What else have we got? Nothing special that is in every other town, gas stations, kfc, mc d's. We have no town center with shops or newer class 1 type office space. People are not coming to Annandale to get title loans, those people already live here.

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  18. Thankfully Annandale has the Korean business community, but its not enough. Annandale needs to be connected to the grid, via metro and economic development. The Korean restaurants and associated businesses are a good launching pad but without strategic planning Annandale will continue to be third rate to the adjacent communities such as Merrifield. Political and economic development leadership is desperately needed. That vacant Bloom store would be leased if Annandale was a desirable economic hub, which unfortunately it is not.

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    1. We are not getting metro. Ever. If we did, it wouldn't be for a very, very long time. WMATA et al. would rather cater to commuters in Leesburg and other far-flung corners of the region. So, we need to come up with a plan b.

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    2. Make it a resort town for the North Korean leader. That is essentially what you got left as an option without some means of connectivity to a major economic zone: Tysons and/or DC.

      Perhaps a loop circulator like an elevated mono rail that would take all of us in this deadland that have been forgotten to major metro satellite stations via this new form of transit.

      We don't have metro or any form of good mass transit, and your probably right and that is because the County leadership has no will, ingenuity or vision, they are too stuck in spreadsheet land counting pennies and not figuring out how to bring in lots of new tax revenue dollars; the public of know nothings have their heads in the sand tearing down every idea, and WMATA wants nothing to do with the Dump.

      I say build a monorail and they will come.

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    3. Monorail...monorail...monorail.
      Miss Hoover:
      I hear those things are awfully loud.
      Lyle Lanley:
      It glides as softly as a cloud.

      Apu:
      Is there a chance the track could bend?

      Lyle Lanley:
      Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

      Barney Gumble:
      What about us brain-dead slobs?

      Lyle Lanley:
      You'll be given cushy jobs.

      Grampa Simpson:
      Were you sent here by the devil?

      Lyle Lanley:
      No, good sir, I'm on the level.

      Chief Wiggum:
      The ring came off my pudding can.

      Lyle Lanley;
      Take my pen knife, my good man.
      MONORAIL!
      I swear, it's Annandale's only choice! Throw up your hands and raise your voice!

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    4. And they call us know-nothings!

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    5. Great minds created great cities, small minds created small towns, no minds created Annandale.

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  19. > The group will recommend strategies for revitalization

    > “The project should generate some great ideas,” says Laura Baker, a planner with the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization

    Incoming changes:

    All local cafes close, replaced with Cosis, Zoe's, Starbucks, et al.

    Thrift stores and locally-owned botiques close, replaced with stores selling gourmet dog biscuits, $100 yoga pants, and imported artisinal toast.

    Kmart stays put for another half-century, utterly impervious to all change, like some alien obelisk of bargain-basement commerce.

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    1. We already have gourmet dog biscuits in Mason District at Chico's Pet Depot. I bought some the other night.

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    2. what u got against toast bro

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    3. I did not know we had a Chico's Pet Depot so I googled it and now I may have to check them out. How were the gourmet dog biscuits?

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    4. The dog enjoyed them.

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  20. We should tap into the minds of students at TJHSST. Also, maybe we could advertise as a small pet friendly place with "yappy hour" at places w outdoor seating. We have great places to walk dogs (Mason District Park, Greenspring, a dog park, several animal clinics, including a 24-hr one, a PetSmart, a walkable downtown. Perhaps we could attract a pet spa & promote animal training, grooming & pet care/dog walking services. Not ideal, but it's something we have now that might give us some cachet.

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