Annandale’s revitalization starts with 54-year-old bowling alley’s demise

Annandale’s revitalization begins with the end of one of its long time go-to places.

A joint venture of Southern Management Corp. and Webb Cos. has earned Fairfax County staff OK for Markham Place, a proposed 12-story, 310-unit apartment building with 6,000 square feet of ground floor commercial (likely a single restaurant) that will replace Annandale Lanes. The Centreville-based Webb owns the site.

The 3.44-acre parcel is located within a triangle formed by Markham Street, Annandale Road and Little River Turnpike. It has been home to the 48-lane AMF bowling alley and associated surface parking lot since 1960.

“The proposed rezoning represents the first significant step in the revitalization of the Annandale [Community Business Center],” according to a county staff report issued ahead of an Oct. 30 Planning Commission meeting.

Per staff, the design and layout of Markham Place is “high-quality” and will contribute to the future revitalization of Annandale proper, with the joint venture’s commitments to provide affordable housing, public parking, public art and to construct an initial portion of a future public street grid.

Have a look, in the gallery

The overall goal for the Annandale business center is redevelopment that creates a high-quality, pedestrian-scaled, mixed-use area, one that promotes new residential development and strengthens local businesses. As of 2010, the entire Annandale CBC contained 3.06 million square feet of development, with the potential for 4 million more. The majority of the new, allowable development, 2.6 million square feet, is to be residential.

The bowling alley site was rezoned in 2008 to permit a nine-story, 305,000-square-foot building with a mix of uses — 20 to 35 percent retail, 40 to 60 percent office and 20 to 25 percent residential. That proposal, from Rockville-based Amerikor Properties LLC, limited the amount of residential to 80,000 square feet. It was abandoned “due to a change in market demand and a poor economy,” according to a statement of justification accompanying the Southern/Webb application.

Webb and Southern Management have “carefully designed Markham Place to enhance Annandale’s Community Business Center and stimulate future revitalization efforts,” reads the statement, accepted by the county in January. The structured parking and first floor retail “will add to the area’s walkability and pedestrian focus,” and the project overall will “serve as a model for future revitalization efforts.”

The revised pitch, designed by Bethesda-based Architects Collaborative Inc., calls for a building clad primarily in two shades of brick, with metal and cast stone accents. There will be an adjacent, 560-space, above-ground parking structure — 496 slots for the residential units, 40 for the retail and 30 for public use. The property will contain a linear park with gathering areas and seating along Markham Street, an urban park east of the garage, and a residential amenity area with pool, cabana and grill area.

Annandale Lanes is one of several area bowling alleys that have, or will soon, bitten the dust in favor of residential redevelopment. Next up: In Alexandria, U.S. Bowling at 100 S. Pickett St. will be razed and replaced with 48 townhome-style condominium buildings.

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