Brighter days and greater opportunities for Annandale

By:  Scott Pearson, Pearson Realty
January 2019, ENDEAVOR  News Magazine

VA Tech Campus at Potomac Yards (conceptual rendering from VA Tech)As everyone has heard, Amazon will move about 50% of its second headquarters operation to Crystal City.  The average salary of those Amazon employees is reported to be $150,000 per year, with the first 400 folks starting next year.

The estimated number of jobs created directly by Amazon is 25,000 with a total estimate of direct and indirect jobs created at 62,000.  Those are eye-popping numbers, but what do they mean for Annandale and its residents?

Although I’m certain that the highest paid employees at Amazon will likely opt for houses in Arlington or D.C., there are a high number of employees that will not pay the price tag necessary to locate that close to the new headquarters.  So what is the next, most logical spot for those people?

Well, they could choose the tony atmosphere of Old Town Alexandria, but given the cost of that housing it will still require a hefty salary or an inheritance from Aunt Mildred.  So, if you cross over 395 you wind up in Annandale Country and that is where I expect plenty of Amazon employees to land in the next five years.

Now note that I said five years.  Not next year or even the year after, but over the next five years the impact of Amazon’s locating to Crystal City will be known.  Annandale will see its local businesses ringing the cash register for new residents, many of which may choose to rent, thus driving rents higher along with home values.  So, if you are a renter you may pay a premium over today’s rates, but if you are a homeowner you may see a modest bump in the value of your home.

That five-year timetable has a very interesting footnote to it that is worth considering.  During that same period it is expected that the Hughes Corporation will finally begin the redevelopment of Landmark Mall into a mixed-use development.  Therefore, at the same time that Amazon’s actions will affect the Annandale market, the Landmark redevelopment will go from rumor to reality.

The remaining question is what is to become of the K-Mart property?  Now, if I was a deep-pocketed developer, I would be giving that parcel a hard look.  And I would be considering the very positive side effects of the Amazon and Landmark deals.  There is little doubt that both will have an impact on the Annandale market.  Not now, but in five years.

There is no question that much of the Annandale business district should be redeveloped and improved by replacing some buildings that are over 70 years old with businesses and structures that enhance our community and entice new business.  There are, of course, obvious challenges like no Metro stop and challenges to assemblages of property for such development.

But I see some writing on the wall with the Amazon and Landmark deals.  And though I can’t say that my record with tea leaves is perfect, I see brighter days and greater opportunities for Annandale.

NB: Many local residents have expressed interest in having a gourmet grocer, such as Wegman’s, open in Annandale.  According to Wegmans, the old K-Mart property is more than large enough for one of their stores.  The questions to ask: Are they interested in Annandale and who is SELLING Annandale to desired retailers?       

More on Annandale Real Estate

Median Sales Price of Annandale Homes

2010     $507,800
2015     $539,900
2019     $615,533
2021     $667,500

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