News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dead Weight: Golds Gym Opening Another Blow to Tall Oaks

Weight lift fail.jpgFrom the sudden closing of midscale chain eatery Chammps to the new ownership of its fitness center, it's been a busy month for signmakers at Plaza America. But Gold's Gym's move to take over operations of the former Fitness First is an apparent blow to one of Reston's older, more stucco-y, town centers.

You see, for more than a year, the rumor was that Gold's was going to move into the anchor spot at Tall Oaks Stucco Wasteland Shopping Center. This was never confirmed, but it was well known that Gold's was planning to expand to Reston. But apparently Tall Oaks' vacant spot, most recently the home of two short-lived international grocery stores selling sexist bread, Didn't Do. Who knows, maybe they were frightened by the lingering spirit of "Susie de los Santos".

It's now been nearly three years since Tall Oaks has had an anchor tenant. Not even 7-11 or Burger King could make a go of things there, and smaller tenants have left in recent years, although the village center is still home to a couple of Reston's finest, non midscale chain eateries.

So what exactly is going on? As RCC began exploring other potential locations for its planned indoor recreation center, Tall Oaks' management company apparently told them they're not interested in selling, according to our BFFs at Reston Now. With master planners possibly making a (long delayed) shift to focus on the existing village centers, they may just be biding their time, waiting to build a more modern midscale model of bollardy goodness. But that hasn't stopped other, more container-intensive stores from opening in spots whose days are already officially numbered.

All we know is three years is a long time for a major eyesore vacancy in a spot soon to be within walking distance of a Metro station, the end.

16 comments:

  1. Even at pennies per square foot that is a lot of rent that was not collected from the major eyesore. Maybe Reston should adopt a "use it or lose it" eminent domain for the betterment of all mankind rules and just reclaim the space. I'm thinking an aquarium ;)

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  2. Eminent domain? Reston is not a government. I'm sure that any attempt for Reston to "foreclose" on that property is going to be met with stiff resistance, especially since the value of that property will soar once Metro opens.

    Quite frankly, I'm also surprised that the owners haven't tried to turn that property into a high rise. Housing will always sell in Reston. Commercial property is a bit more dodgy.

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    1. The only way to fight insanity is with more insanity ;)

      Eminent domain seems like a perfect thing that the fake totalitarian "government" of Reston would do. And in this case out of a thousand insane ones it may be a good thing.

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  3. Just bulldoze the whole shopping center. Maybe if the land is free and green it can attract a few developers to envision and build something?

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    1. Like a park, maybe? Nah. There's no profit in that.

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    2. Oh no, not make it a park. Just leave it flat in mud. Let's not waste money on setting up grass at all. That will probably force the issue as weeds grow and becomes an eyesore.

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  4. My money is on a residential project--town homes, apartments, maybe condos. Who knows? Who really cares?

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  5. Art studio space would be super!

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    1. There's either no profit in it or not enough profit in it. It ain't gonna happen.

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  6. It's interesting that a friend of mine recently tried to rent a smaller vacant space in that centre and was told that the owners were focused on trying to land an "anchor" store! They would not discuss renting the old Burger King space to a ready, willing and able prospect! What the heck is up with that?!

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    1. Commercial suicide?

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  7. Dated, hidden, and out-of-the-way are three strikes affecting Tall Oaks and to a lesser extent, Lake Anne. If there were an economically feasible way to populate the commercial center, it would have happened. Businesses like to make money. If they can't they aren't going to invest in a lease. Can anyone tell me what is appealing about the Tall Oaks shopping center that would attract a retail tenant?

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    1. The best Chinese restaurant in Northern Fairfax Co.?
      A bus stop right infront?
      A reasonable rent?
      Nearby Restonians with disposable income?

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    2. Possible venue for streetwalking and open air drug sales should bring in some foot traffic?

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    3. I got it! The problem is with the stucco... color. It is not in the approved list. ;)

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  8. I agree, it's the stucco. Too baby bland, not robust, like Virginia clay dirt. It disgusts me, actually.

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