|Loan Max took over the old Trophy Mart building on Little River Turnpike.|
We’re gotten a few new businesses in central Annandale (Buenos Grill; Joseph’s Coat; Parilla’s, a Bolivian/Argentian steakhouse on Annandale Road; IMM, a Thai restaurant on Columbia Pike; and Try, a part of a chain of underwear shops based in Korea, which moved into the old Something Special spot between Petco and Safeway). A few more are slated to open in 2013 (Walgreen’s, Paisano’s Pizza, and Goodwill.) Also, a couple of long-time businesses, AnnSandra and the Party Co., are expanding.
There haven’t been any major redevelopment projects, though, and many of the new businesses, like high-interest loan companies and thrift stores, are not that great for Annandale’s image. Meanwhile, the traffic seems to be getting worse. With all that in mind, we asked a bunch of random people who live or work here this question: “Is Annandale getting better or worse?” The results were mixed.
|Parilla's, a new restaurant offers Bolivian and Argentinian specialties.|
Among those who said the community is getting better is longtime Annandale resident Helen Winter, who chairs the beautification efforts of the Annandale Commercial Business District Planning Committee. She cited improvements like less litter and fewer illegal signs.
Annandale resident Gerry Yun said “better,” because Annandale has gotten more dynamic, there are more services here, and lots of people are involved in community events. George Kresslein Jr., an accountant with an office in Annandale, said “better,” because the Asian community is putting more money into the community.
Bradley Rothermal, a employee benefits specialist who works in the Annandale office of Danaher-Skewes & Associates, said pedestrian and infrastructure improvements have made Annandale better.
Susan Hilaski, the manager of the newly opened Pro Maxx Fitness on Columbia Pike, said “better” because more people are attending community events, like the recent tree lighting ceremony and the National Night Out celebration at the Annandale Shopping Center in August. Hilaski, who is also a volunteer firefighter, noted that the Annandale Fire Station was recognized for having the best open house in October.
|Commercial trucks line Daniels Avenue.|
A downward spiral
Michael Pyne, owner of a home remodeling company, said Annandale is getting worse because “too many rinky-dink businesses are coming in,” there hasn’t been any major commercial development, and there’s no mass transit. “Annandale is a forgotten suburb,” he said, with all the redevelopment investments going to other places like Merrifield and Tysons.
Carol Turner, who works at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College, said Annandale is “totally worse,” citing “all the title and loan places taking over every vacant building.” She said: “There’s no reason to go to Annandale for anything, except maybe a drug store. It’s ridiculous. It’s falling apart.”
Mike Magill said he’s a little disappointed in what’s been going on in Annandale, although business “is better than ever” at his restaurant, Magill’s Famous Pizza & Buffet on Little River Turnpike. The increasing numbers of commercial trucks parked in front of Pep Boys and all over central Annandale make it “seem like a city in decline,” he said.
Pat Sawhney, an Annandale realtor with Re/Max, said some things in Annandale are worse, such as too many car loan stores, like the new Loan Max in the old Trophy Mart building on Little River Turnpike. Some things are better though, she said: There are more pedestrians, fewer day laborers, and people are friendlier.
Peggy Barr, who works at Danaher-Skewes & Associates in Annandale, said new crosswalks, new dining spots, and the diversity in Annandale have made the community better, but it’s been sad to see businesses close, like Bloom and Fuddrucker’s.
So readers, what do you think? Is Annandale getting better or worse?