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Plans for a $65 million hi-rise apartment building in Annandale were unanimously approved by the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee on Tuesday.

A rezoning proposal for a 12-story multi-family residential rental apartment building named ’Markham Place,’ was submitted to Fairfax County in December to redevelop the property that currently hosts the AMF Annandale Lanes bowling alley at 4245 Markham Street.

The proposal, which hopes to rezone the property from a “planned commercial district” to a “planned residential mixed-use district” so the building can be constructed, is still under county review.

But on Tuesday, the project received praise and unanimous approval from Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee members.

The proposal was presented to the committee by Webb Companies and the Southern Management Corporation, who are partners on the project. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an applicant who presented so thoroughly their plans for the property,” said committee chairman Gregory McGillicuddy following the presentation. “I can’t imagine a better project in Annandale to kick off our revitalization.”

The proposed 355,000 square foot building would house up to 310 apartment residences and be accompanied by a 45 foot-long pool, a business center, a club room, a fitness center, a 6,000 square-foot restaurant and a 37,000 square-foot public park adjacent to the building, according to Faik Tugberk, principal architect on the project.

The expected completion time for the building’s construction is currently slated for early 2017.

David Houston, a real estate attorney with the Reed Smith law firm, said that targeted tenants will be of the “middle-income earning” variety, and that the apartment building will generate less traffic than what is currently allowed under the present zoning. Houston also noted that in terms of quality and amenities, the proposed apartment units will be “comparable to Tysons, and higher-end for Annandale.”

“Studio apartments will be about 550 square feet, with one-bedroom apartments somewhere between 600-800 square feet, and two bedrooms somewhere in the range of 1150-1200 square feet. End units will be the largest ones,” added Tugberk.

Bonnie Mattingly, senior vice president of the Fairfax County-based Webb Companies, said during Tuesday’s presentation that both her company and the Southern Management Corporation have long-term community involvement in Annandale.

“We have all lived in, attended school here, worked here and participated in the Annandale community and we are here to build and to cultivate, not to build and to run, and we’re excited about this opportunity,” she said.

The Southern Management Corporation is the long-time owner and operator of the Parliaments Apartments complex, located very near the proposed redevelopment site. “We are thrilled about the prospect of the Markham Place project,” said Parliaments Property Manager Karen M. Geier-Smith, who added that there are no current plans to redevelop the 750-unit apartment complex that was built in 1971.

Houston said the results of a heritage study showed that the AMF Annandale Lanes building currently on the property is “not architecturally historical or significant.”

According to Farmelo, the proposal has not initiated any resistance from Bowlmor AMF, the owners of the longstanding bowling alley who recently took over the facility in June after AMF Bowling Worldwide went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2012.

“I know that bowling alley has been there since the 1960s and that it is a community feature, but we think what we are offering is more attractive and I hope that bowlers can see that, and find other lanes nearby,” he said. Messages left for Bowlmor AMF executives were not immediately returned.

“[This proposal] is the future of Annandale. It’s going to be a cornerstone for Annandale revitalization and that is what everyone’s aiming for with this project,” said Mattingly. “The Annandale community will be invited to comment on design plans during the County review process in the months to come.”

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com