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Fill This Space: What Should Open in El Manantial’s Spot?

by Karen Goff — April 3, 2014 at 9:30 am 8 Comments

El Manantial at Tall Oaks/File photoNow that El Manantial is the latest business to announce its departure from Tall Oaks Village Center, it is time to play Fill This Space.

This has been a common game in the last few years as many businesses, including anchor Compare Foods, have left the shopping center. Among them: Curves gym, Dominos Pizza, a hair salon, Total Rehab Chiropractic.

El Manantial in 2011 received Reston Association Design Review approval to build a 40-seat, three-season patio, but never started the project. Owner Humberto Fuentes says he will move his high-end restaurant to Old Town Herndon this summer when his lease expires. He said he chose not to renew his lease partially due to the number of vacancies at the center.

In March, Total Rehab Chiropractic closed and moved to 1760 Town Center Parkway.

What do do about Tall Oaks, where some stores have sat empty for years, has been a hot topic among Restonians. Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills wrote about his ideas in 2013.

The landlord and owner of Tall Oaks did not return calls.

The El Manantial space has empty stores on either side, and is one empty storefront from the 25,000-square-foot empty grocery store space. That means some interested retailer could put together a very large space.

What do you think should open there? Tell us in the comments.

  • Dexter Scott

    At this point I’m not sure why anyone would want to take a spot in The Strip Mall Where Businesses Go To Die.

  • jmsullivan

    Nothing. Tall Oaks is clearly not economically viable as a mall, but the developers weren’t interested in even talking about selling it for a potential community center. Based solely on its value as a shopping center, they should have jumped on that offer and held on for dear life.

    So the only conclusion I can reach is that they figure they can eventually get a better return by letting the silver line drive up housing demand and then putting in another high rise residential complex along the lines of the assisted living building nearby.

    So wholly apart from the fact that it’s a ghost town with no significant traffic or even major street visibility, putting your business in that mall isn’t a good long term play anyway.

  • JP

    Until the owner of the Village Center sells, nothing will ever happen there. That supermarket space would have been perfect for a store like Mom’s Organic in Herndon or the new Mrs. Green’s in Fair Lakes.

  • Eric

    They should turn the whole village center into a Costco. Traffic might be an issue, though.

  • Mike Heffner

    Get the Trader Joe’s to move from its current Reston location – where there’s not enough retail space or parking. It’s a destination store – people will go find it no matter where it is, not dependent on walk-up business – and it’s probably the only type of store that could succeed at Tall Oaks.

    • jwebsmall

      I shop Trader Joe’s regularly. If they moved to Tall Oaks I’d stop going because the location is inconvenient to get into and out of.

  • Rational Reston

    It is painfully apparent that Tall Oaks’ situation is terminal. I’m convinced that a “Free $100 bill store” would fail in this location.

    A great re-imagining of the entire shopping center must take place. New places can not just slide into the existing facilities.

  • jwebsmall

    The mall should be bull dozed and turned into a park or re-zoned residential.

    I’ve met people who have lived nearby for years and never knew it was there.

    I’ve known it was there and never went because it is inconveniently located.

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