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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Neighborhood Spotlight: The Parliaments is a diverse community in the heart of Annandale

With 750 units, The Parliaments is the largest apartment complex in Annandale, and its location in the heart of the central business area makes it convenient for shopping. It’s within walking distance of the Safeway and other stores in the Little River Shopping Center, and the shops and bowling alley on Markham Street. Lots of green space, pedestrian-only areas, small parks, and a swimming pool promote a sense of community, and its diverse population reflects a wide range of cultures.

The complex encompasses a 250-unit high rise and 498 garden apartments—with monthly rents ranging from $1,070 for a 742-square foot efficiency in the high rise to $1,865 for a 1,239-square foot garden unit with three bedrooms. Rents include utilities, but there is a $25 additional monthly charge for cats and dogs.

All units have dishwashers, patios or balconies, and 24-hour access to laundry rooms. The garden units include wall-to-wall carpeting, but high rise residents must provide carpeting and padding for the hardwood floors within 60 days after they move in or pay an additional $40 monthly charge for carpeting.

The complex has a low turnover rate, just 30 percent a year compared to the industry standard of 65 percent, says Leasing Manager Monique Vazquez. In fact some residents have been there since the complex was built in 1968, she says, noting, “people here are very loyal to Annandale.” If you’re interested in moving in, it might take a while. Only a couple of units are vacant now, but Vazquez excepts more will be available in mid-September.

The convenient location, with two metro bus stops, means “you don’t feel so isolated,” which was especially important during last February’s giant snow storm, she says. Community activities, including an annual block party in May, pool parties, and movie nights help residents get to know one another, and Vazquez says plans are under way for a gym and club room for residents and new offices.

The Parliaments snapshot

Number of units: approximately 750
Location: Generally bordered by Annandale Road, Markham Street, Lucerne Lane, and Medford Drive.
Fairfax County district: Mason
Schools: Woodburn Elementary, Luther Jackson Middle, Falls Church High School
Rents: $1,070 to $1,865 a month.

Fairfax County provides free lunches for kids at The Parliaments all summer, and Southern Management Corp., which owns and manages the property, gave each student a book bag with school supplies. Southern Management owns 70 apartment complexes with 25,000 units in the Washington-Baltimore area, making it the largest privately owned residential property management company in the mid-Atlantic region.
Laiba, Rakan, Layla, and Ayyan

While most of the online comments about The Parliaments are negative (some are extremely critical of the management), the random residents interviewed for this article had good things to say about the complex.

Farshori, who was watching her children, Laiba and Ayyan, playing at the tot lot, likes The Parliaments because it’s “a safe area” and she can see the playground from her apartment. It’s an easy walk to the Safeway, KFC, and Wendy’s, she added, and it’s convenient for her husband to commute to his job at the Voice of America in D.C. Laiba, getting ready to start the fourth grade at Woodburn Elementary School, said her favorite things about the Parliaments are “the playground, pool parties, free snacks for kids, and free school bags.”

It’s “a really good neighborhood, and everyone here is really friendly,” says Liliana, a cosmetology student who was playing catch with a friend on the lawn. It’s been a bit hard adjusting to a two-bedroom apartment after her family lost their four-bedroom house in Springfield nearly three years ago, but she likes the convenient location.

Tim, who was walking his dog, says he moved to the highrise about a month ago because he wanted to live in a diverse community. “This is a nice place to live. You see people here cleaning up all the time,” he says.
Tim did have some complaints about the management, though. “When I first came, they didn’t have anything to show me and wanted me to sign a lease right away. I took a chance and I do like it,” he says about his studio apartment. He was surprised that he was not asked to pay a security deposit, application fee, or other fees. “It could have been a scam but it turned out to be a good deal,” he says, noting that the rent is reasonable and there is no charge for parking.


  1. I just found your blog and as an Annandale resident, I have found it supremely interesting and useful. Kudos on it!

    I read your Parliaments feature and thought it was quite good, but I was wondering what you had been hearing about Avant Apartments (formerly Patriot apartments, I think). I live in the Parliaments now but I think I and my roommates will be moving to Avant shortly. I've really enjoyed my time here at the Parliaments, but now I must prepare for a new place. If you've heard anything--good or bad--I'd love to hear it when you have a moment. It might help us change our minds! Or convince us we're making the right call. I got a good vibe from Avant when I visited, but as always the negative online comments have made me wonder.

    Thanks again & keep up the great work!

    1. My sister used to live there! It was a nice community! I lived in the Parliaments during Middle School, I loved it and I wouldn't mind living there again. I consider it to be a more convenient location than the Avant as well. I feel the Parliaments are more spacious too. But nothing against Avant at all.