History of Parkfairfax
Parkfairfax is a conversion condominium in northwest Alexandria, Virginia. In 1941, as the Federal Government grew rapidly in response to the Second World War, a housing shortage developed in the Washington area and President Roosevelt asked the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York to develop housing near the Pentagon. The Company purchased 201.7 acres on the western edge of the City of Alexandria, for $282,150. Leonard Schultze and Associates of New York was the architect and Starrett Brothers and Eken, Inc. (builder of the Empire State Building) was the construction company. A total of 286 buildings were built containing 720 one bedroom, 863 two bedroom and 101 three bedroom apartments. The rental office was opened in May 1942 and the first tenants occupied units in October 1942. Metropolitan donated to the City of Alexandria approximately 5 acres and $50,000 for the building of Charles Barrett Elementary School. Among former residents of Parkfairfax are two Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
At the end of 1968 Metropolitan sold the buildings (but not the land) to Arlen Realty and Development Corporation of New York. Arlen remodeled the kitchens, (adding the Harvest gold Refrigerators and stoves), added new kitchen flooring and fluorescent lighting, and installed through-the-wall air conditioners. A swimming pool was constructed on Martha Custis Drive. Later, disappointed by the rejection of their plans to replace sections of Parkfairfax with high rise buildings, Arlen allowed the aging buildings and grounds to deteriorate.
In 1977 Parkfairfax Improvement Associates (PIA), a division of International Developers Inc. (IDI) purchased the land from Metropolitan Life for $24,850,000 and assumed Arlen's $9,800,000 promissory note. PIA's conversion of Parkfairfax included installation of separate electrical metering, garbage disposal equipment, storm windows, replacement of central hot water with electric baseboard heat, refurbishment of inside plumbing, and creation of new four bedroom units which were a combination of two originally one bedroom units, into a four bedroom unit.
The prices of the condominium units in the original offerings ranged from $27,000 to $54,000. Sale began in 1977 and were completed in 1979, without any public advertising. Today, Parfairfax is a self-governing condominium with an elected nine member Board of Directors and an annual budget of more than $3,000,000. As owners, we all share in this very personal corporation.
Parkfairfax buildings currently contain 15 different floor plans. Amenities include 3 swimming pools, 2 volleyball courts, 8 tennis courts, exercise facilities, a library, and rental party rooms. Cable Television is available to all units through Comcast Cablevision.
For those interested in the history of Parkfairfax, the library has much more detailed information as well as newspaper articles covering the entire condominium experience, and pictures and articles on the committees and activities enjoyed by our residents.