Revitalization Efforts

By:  Scott Pearson, Pearson Realty
October 2016, ENDEAVOR  News Magazine

Markham Place Rendering by Architects Collaborative

Northern Virginia has one of the strongest residential real estate markets in the United States.  The recovery from the recession was painful but relatively rapid compared with nearly every part of the Country.  Home values are back to where they were in 2006 and remain steady.

However, even as home owners have benefitted from the strength of the local housing market, commercial real estate has not been as fortunate.  There are too many vacancies throughout the County and the effects of sequestration are still being felt, particularly in the commercial office space arena.

Here in Annandale the attempts at revitalization of the Business District are legend.  Ten years ago there were two plans to create town center-type developments, one on the bowling alley land and adjacent parcels; and the other on the K-Mart/Juke-Box diner parcel.  Neither came to fruition as capital markets collapsed during the recession and hopes for revitalization dwindled.

Recently a new plan involving the bowling alley land was put forth that included the construction of high end leasable apartments with a restaurant on the ground floor, and adjacent parks.  The building was designed to bring back to the community, young professional, flush with school loans still to pay-off and not ready for a mortgage.  The hope was that the often seen bridging effect would occur encouraging adjacent properties to see the benefits of revitalizing the core of Annandale.  Unfortunately, the County extracted unrealistic & extraordinary proffer demands that added an unbalanced financial burden to the project.  The status of the project is unknown at this time.

So what are Annandale’s chances of revitalization?  The County has worked hard on getting a deal done to revitalize the Southeast corner at Bailey’s Crossroads and given the level of effort, a deal is going to get done one way or the other.  Meanwhile, Seven Corners has gone through the process to amend the Comprehensive Plan to breathe life into that tired area and encourage development.  Citizen input is always welcome, but the final draft of all Comprehensive Plans will be written by County Staff who remove emotion from the process while adding practical and accomplishable goals.  Since Comp Plans are only written every 10 years,  mid decimal revisions are not uncommon, especially when the best laid plans have not worked out.  

Now, JBG Cos. has amended its plan to develop 48 acres along Beauregard Road for building a town center, with 577 multifamily units and 109,000 square feet of retail space.  That effort is part of a larger plan to revitalize and rebuild all along Beauregard that has seen some push back from affordable housing advocates.

Surrounding Annandale you can witness efforts of revitalization, including Columbia Pike in Arlington, Fairfax City, and Falls Church.  How is it that significant, commercial development has not occurred in Annandale?  I don’t have a specific answer.  But I have a thought.

I believe that Annandale would benefit from the long overdue redevelopment of the Landmark Mall.  Talks of a town center on that parcel have gone on for over a decade as the mall has gone down in stature to the point that much of it looks like a ghost town.

Although there are new federal regulations regarding Collateralized Mortgage Backed Securities that may impact the availability of capital for such a project, conversely there is a marked increase in international capital becoming available.  As the Beauregard corridor is redeveloped enticing higher median household incomes, such changes may act as an indirect incentive to Landmark’s owners to finally redevelop.

Our commercial real estate leasing and sales efforts require that we keep track of local commercial trends.  However, despite our best guesses and the trove of facts gathered, we cannot say when Annandale will see true revitalization.  At this point, we are just pleased that Aldi’s will move into the Annandale Shopping Center.

More on Annandale Real Estate

Median Sales Price of Annandale Homes

2010     $507,800
2015     $615,533


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