Couldn't happen to a nicer purveyor of "stressful city-like shopping centers": Restaurant and noted purveyor of cougar nightlife Jackson's Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge has become the first restaurant to sue Boston Properties for the utter clusterf*ck the Reston Town Center paid parking system has become, arguing that their lease bans Boston Properties from creating a system that "unduly impedes" people from getting to their restaurant. While our correspondence school legal degree from an off-brand Trump University affiliate prevents us from dispensing legal advice in 48 states, we think it's safe to say a system that confuses actual astronauts probably fails that particular sniff test.
Give us some hubris-inspiring burn blockquote, BFFs at Reston Now:
"We did not want to have to sue and we tried to work with Boston Properties to address our concerns and our rights under the lease to give our customers free and hassle-free parking, both before and after Boston Properties implemented this parking system," Jon Norton, CEO of Great American Restaurants, said in the statement. "But they were uncompromising and appeared disinterested in working with us to provide our guests a better experience at Reston Town Center.Crisis-management campaign, not PR campaign. And given that even august NPR has now devoted air time to the issue, we think it's time for the elite crisis managers to put on yet another pot of coffee.
"It appears to us that they are focused on maximizing revenue instead of honoring the spirit and terms of our lease, and seem unconcerned with the impact their system has had on the Town Center," he added. "It is disappointing that they have spent so much time bolstering a PR campaign rather than working with us to fulfill their lease obligations."
Here's not one, but three HOT TAKES on all this:
1) If you're a property manager, that's the one drawback to encouraging fancypants chains at the expense of mom-and-pop businesses: they have deeper pockets, smarter attorneys who actually read their leases, and the ability to credibly pursue legal action against a giant corporate propertyholder.
2) Tenants sue over leases all the time. You generally don't get hundreds of people to march around what is essentially a shopping mall (it's more than that, but in deciding to charge for parking, it's clear that's what BP believes it is) in frigid weather unless they're worried about something bigger than paying a couple of bucks to park. BPX really stepped into something that touched a nerve about what our community is about on this one, and their ham-handed "PR campaign" and paid community outreach still shows no signs of recognizing this. (Having said that, we're still waiting for some of that sweeeeeeeeeeet sponsored content cash. Maybe a nice thinkpiece on frivolous lawsuits driving up the totally reasonable cost of paid parking for everyone?)
Update: According to this report, Jacksons is apparently suing for $500,000 in damages, as well as no-cost validation, the elimination of the ParkRTC app, and free ice cream for a year. Okay, so maybe we're making the last part up, but half a million dollars would buy a lot of ice cream -- or roughly 57 years of free parking at our favorite stressful city-like shopping center, the end.