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Boston Properties Says It Is ‘Very Confident’ It Will Prevail in Parking Legal Battles

by Dave Emke March 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm 74 Comments

In a statement sent to media Wednesday afternoon, Boston Properties responded to recent developments in the ongoing saga regarding paid parking at Reston Town Center.

The statement comes after a lawsuit filed by Jackson’s restaurant, an announcement by Reston Merchants Association of continued declining sales, and a statement from the Reston Citizens Association denouncing BXP’s apparent unwillingness to compromise. Released through public relations firm Fallston Group, Boston Properties’ statement claims:

  • There is “variability” in month-to-month performance of RTC merchants. Some have reported increases in sales in the past 90 days, some have reported flat or decreasing sales.
  • Boston Properties continues to work with retailers to provide customer support, parking validations and other assistance regarding the paid parking implementation.
  • Planned enhancements of the system include the addition of change machines to better accommodate cash customers, as well as improvements to payment kiosks.
  • Car counts represent “high adoption rates” of the paid-parking policies. More than 112,000 downloads of the ParkRTC app have been made, including 22,000 in the past week.
  • The $8 million of annual paid-parking revenue estimated by groups including the Reston Citizens Association is “outdated and inaccurate,” and true expectations are “significantly less.”
  • Boston Properties is committed to reinvesting a comparable value to its profit from paid parking back into the Town Center and the Reston community through ongoing maintenance, capital improvements, community events and charitable donations.
  • BXP is “very confident” it will prevail against all legal challenges related to paid parking.

The full text of the statement is below:

Boston Properties is prohibited by the terms of most of its leases from commenting on the specific sales results of its individual tenants. In any given year, Reston Town Center’s retail tenants see fluctuations in sales for a variety of reasons, from weather to seasonality to marketplace conditions. Additionally, monthly sales trends can vary widely among those tenants, depending on their business model, marketplace adaptation and sales tactics.  Based on the information provided to date under the terms of our leases, we have seen variability in the month to month performance of the merchants at Reston Town Center prior to the introduction of paid parking. That trend has continued over the past 90 days, with some tenants reporting sales are up and others reporting flat or decreased sales.

Boston Properties has always been committed to working with its tenants for mutual success. Since paid parking was implemented, we have worked with our retailers to provide customer support, parking validations and other assistance as the Reston Town Center complex adjusts to paid parking. (As a reminder, parking in the garages is free on weekends and select holidays, and parking remains free at all times for retail employees.) Boston Properties continues to monitor paid parking adoption and will consider all appropriate policy and technology amendments as needed to ensure the long-term success of the Town Center. For instance, upcoming planned enhancements include the addition of change machines to better accommodate cash customers and improvements to the payment kiosks.

Additionally, Boston Properties’ car count continues to reflect high adoption rates of the new parking policies by the community. The ParkRTC app has been downloaded more than 112,000 times — with 22,000+ people signing up in the last week alone — and to date, nearly 85,000 individuals have utilized the app to pay for parking. Since paid parking was rolled out in January, garage usage by non-office tenants have steadily increased, week over week.

Regarding the $8 million annual revenue number that has been repeatedly referenced, the estimated figure was from 2011 and was based on very different operating assumptions. It is both outdated and inaccurate. While Boston Properties does not report property-specific performance, revenue expectations are significantly less, as the vast majority of visitors and tenants are either validated or do not pay for parking. Further, Boston Properties is committed to reinvesting a comparable value to its profit from paid parking back into the Town Center and the Reston community through ongoing maintenance, capital improvements, community events and charitable donations.

Finally, regarding recent legal action, Boston Properties is very confident it will prevail against any and all legal challenges related to paid parking.

Much of the information provided in the statement echoes previous statements from Boston Properties regarding the paid-parking initiative.

  • Reston Condo Owner

    Stop the protest and stop the defiance! BXP is putting in change machines! Thank god all is right again!!

  • restonresident

    Did Shawn Spicer leave the WH so we could wrote this bull [email protected]#t press relase for Boston Properties?

  • LC

    HAHA yes business has gone up! “You have paid parking? I will go there more often!!” said no one ever. Alternate facts.

    • Meh

      Here’s a fact for you. Paying for the Toll Road sucks. But thousands of people do it every day, because it is convenient. People will shop at RTC despite paid parking, because it is convenient.

      • Dgeorge

        Ha! Not a chance, that train has left the station.

      • JB

        But it’s not convenient. It’s confusing. Some people don’t have or want apps; some merchants cover costs for one garage but not another, the Boston Properties folks aren’t helpful. We walked into a store in Tysons a couple weeks ago and when we mentioned where we lived the sales person said, “Oh, that paid parking mess!”

        • Meh

          Oh that paid parking mess that you spent >$2 in gas and an hour of your time (whatever value you put on that, probably zero, LOL) to avoid.

      • Bobby Love

        Incorrect. And my question to you is – who are you that you are in favor of paid parking? A masochist or a representative for BXP?

        • Meh

          Incorrect? It is inarguably correct that people are taking the Toll Road and shopping at RTC because it is convenient.

          I do not favor or disfavor paid parking. I don’t care either way. Just stating simple facts.

      • Why do you bother?

        Most would NOT use the TR if there were VIABLE alternatives. There is nothing convenient about sitting stock still on the road, making a trip that should take 15 minutes take an hour.

        • Meh

          If you think it is “viable” to drive elsewhere, spending more than $2 on gas and more than 15 mins of your time each way, then go you, you should do that.

          • Why do you bother?

            Hence “viable”…

      • JoeInReston

        It doesn’t have to be an either/or pay for parking vs pay for tolls/gas dichotomy:
        a) You can find substitutes nearby w/o paying toll roads or extra gas, particularly for the eateries.
        b) For those places that require tolls and/or extra gas without a nearby substitute, you can visit these places when you are already in the area for other reasons.

  • Scott

    they may prevail in a lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean they will prevail financially when all of the businesses with a 20% drop in revenue either move or fail.

    • Thomas Day

      And others will move right in.

      • Scott

        As I keep saying, the market will work, one way or another

        • JB

          You’re so smart! Screw business owners that are there now! Forget the community! Let the strongest and most boring survive!

          • Scott

            Not sure where I said that. My contention is that BP doesn’t care about a bunch of people with signs standing on Reston Pkwy. The market will either support the parking policy or will drive a change when it hurts their pocketbook. Follow the money JB. They don’t care about your sign. As I said in a previous comment, each of us making a decision each day to not go to RTC is louder than any protest.

          • Meh

            The community? You mean all the soulless chain stores of RTC that are already utterly boring?

      • Big Drop

        I am hoping that Boston Properties will respond to this post and tell us that a major tenant has signed a lease for the Signature apartments’ ground retail which is under construction. If they cannot announce the name of the tenant then please tell us the approximate date that the announcement will be made.

        With four vacant storefronts including the old Cosi which has been vacant since last September I seriously doubt that people are lined up to move in. If so then why isn’t the vacant space leased?

        I’m not including the old Schwab office or the several popups in this.
        It is also significant that Jackson’s, recently one of the 100 highest grossing restaurants in the United States, has initiated a suit to end paid parking and the app.

        For them a 15 to 20% drop in revenue could be two million dollars or more.

    • Jenny Gibbers

      BXP has so many lawyers on payroll it will be done for free basically. Good for them.

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Well its not really an elite destination anyways because they dont have a cheesecake factory. So long,

    • 30yearsinreston

      It newer was

      • Jenny Gibbers

        Clydes was very OK until they had what appeared to be a terrorist knife attack-still unsolved I believe. Also, Clydes spoke out against parking. Anyways, stay safe.

      • Rhawnhurst

        RTC is the heart, soul and center of Reston. It’s the place where people shop, eat, stroll, gather, and hang out. Similar to the Plaza at Tysons Center and the Mosaic District. People don’t have the same relaxed comfort level paying for parking by the hour. Boston Properties, you came in and stole the heart from from us. Your explanations are insulting. You did to make more $$$$. You did it because you could. Legal, yes —-but hardhearted.

        • LOLwut

          I’ve lived in Reston since before RTC was built and I reject the notion that it is the “heart, soul and center of Reston”. ANY of the other village centers have more heart and soul than RTC.

  • Dabraat

    This is how you build a wall, Mr. Trump.

  • 30yearsinreston

    BP may win the legal battle (of course their lawyers would say so) but they have already lost the customers
    The only existing tenants are collateral damage
    They should be sued by Fairfax County for violating ADA . Wake up Hudgins

  • 30yearsinreston

    Still not paying and never will

  • Kara Gardner Wills

    Boston Properties and Reston Town Center will never see another dime of mine.

    • Generic User

      Dimes are still a thing?

      • Kara Gardner Wills

        They add up 😉

  • Nate_VA

    RTC is dead to me.

  • Donald

    BXP is wandering very close to appearing on the Forbes worst PR blunders in history list.

    Donald

  • Dgeorge

    Name those businesses that are doing so well, that have increased sales. If they are doing so well at $2.00 per hour think how much better they would do if you raised it to $4.00 an hour. Its a goldmine!

    Its a lose, lose for BP. Our family of eight are not coming back. And we were regulars. Bye,Bye.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Win,win all round
      What’s not to like

    • The Constitutionalist

      Just like minimum wage…

      • Scott

        Nailed it!!!! If a $15 min wage improves the economy, then let’s make it $100!!! Why stop there- $200/hr. Think of the economic growth!!!

        • Guest

          Minimum wage keeping pace with inflation adjusted purchasing power? How can that be?!!

          • Scott

            Don’t think you understand economics and the relationship between min wage, inflation and purchasing power.

          • Guest

            Please parade an inflation spiral theory. I beg you. Pretend that anyone on minwage has the disposable income to speed it up.

  • Reston long time

    BXP is really not getting it. When we think about going to RTC now we just say forget it. We use to go just for the fun of it.

  • Pam Koski

    Truly the management of Boston Properties is delusional! Hard to believe that this management company is so intransigent that they are unwilling to in anyway listen to customers both merchants and consumers. Very unfortunate for everyone involved.

  • BJ

    And I will prevail in not paying parking fees. Now or ever.

  • Big Drop

    The former Cosi space has been vacant since September. Three other stores (including Bebe) have CBRE signs in their windows with space available. I wonder how retail leasing is going in the new Signature which is under construction? Have they signed an anchor restaurant or tenant yet?

    There are thousands and thousands of negative posts on social media along with seemingly daily articles on blogs and newspapers as well as television features on almost all of the D. C. stations and now apparently the start of national publicity. With, I am guessing, more than seven million square feet of office, retail, housing and parking worth perhaps much more than $500 million dollars today this seems like a lot to risk. I don’t believe it is about the current 97% occupancy rate-it is about the occupancy rate when leases run out.

    It almost seems that it has become less about Reston Town Center and more about Boston Properties.

    • Generic User

      Balducci’s signed a lease in Signature.

      • restonista

        You bring up a good point. I like Balducci’s but would never pay to park to shop there!

      • Big Drop

        Interesting. I wonder if they signed their lease after the paid parking and app were introduced? Balducci’s would be a “signature” addiion to Town Center, were it not for the situation.

        I must also note that Balducci’s stores in McLean and Wildwood in Bethesda have free parking.

  • Donald

    May I suggest a planned VISIBLE protest at the sponsored kickoff party for the Greater Reston Arts Center Festival, Friday evening, May 19.

    http://restonarts.org/fineartsfestival2017/festival-party/

    All the corporate sponsors will be there, with the less caring dignitaries, including Boston Properties representatives. I recognize the Festival itself is about the artists, kids, family, etc, but, the kickoff party is the corporate event.

    A little show and tell might be appropriate.

    Donald

  • Tom H

    Had a business dinner last night. I purposely selected a location outside of RTC b/c of this whole fiasco, but also my colleagues were from out of town and if I burdened them with trying to figure out the process, I would have been bully whipped for the rest of my career. On a wednesday evening Red’s Table was absolutely packed. The positive in all of this is that it is an economic stimulus for the local, family owned restaurants and merchants outside of the RTC.

    • Donald

      I believe stories like this should be shared continuously. Help the word spread.

      Reston’s Village Centers do offer wonderful bars, restaurants and shops — wonderful alternatives to the RTC. I can say, for 2017, I’ve frequented South Lakes and Lake Anne more than RTC.

      The only restaurant I still take in at RTC is Il Fornaio, as parking in their building is free. Unfortunately, I believe the restaurant has lost a lot of clout with Boston Properties as a result.

      Donald

      • JoeInReston

        “The only restaurant I still take in at RTC is Il Fornaio, as parking in their building is free”

        This is a scoop. There is a parking garage at the RTC open to the public with free parking?

    • Eric Carr

      The one upside for this is that paid parking at RTC has been an absolute
      boon for the shops and restaurants in our village centers!

  • Adrian Havill

    BXP is a bigger liar than DJT.

    • Ben

      Agree they’re full of bull, but can anyone be a bigger liar than the little donald and spicey?

      • Conservative Senior

        Let’s leave politics out of it. Stick to the issue………..BP parking!!!!

        • Guest

          Any comment that returns attention to the continuous blatant lies of the current administration is worthwhile. They’re trying to gaslight everyone and it isn’t working. Just like Boston Properties!

    • Flippy Hambone

      You sound like a axxhole

  • KimGr

    Um, “Car Count” is not the same as downloading an app. A good lawyer would just ask how many cars have actually showed up in the garage, how many of those same cars returned, how many apps have actually been used? I downloaded the thing just to see what everyone was talking about and have yet to park.

    Hope the merchants just band together and take control. It’s about time the landlords and developers start realizing that the merchants are their customers and they should treat them as such.

    • Kara Gardner Wills

      I suggest you delete the app ASAP. It has access to your contacts, your credit card and your location even when you are not at RTC 🙁

  • Generic User

    Apparently BP is winning so much, they are getting sick of winning.

  • RC

    Boston Properties: ever heard of a Pyrrhic victory? Look it up.

    • Generic User

      You just had to bring up the Battle of Asculum, didn’t you? I am still trying to get over that. 279 BC was a rough year.

  • Judith V

    BP has already lost. Are they really this stupid?

    • Generic User

      Apparently.

  • Paul Misencik

    WTOP reported that RTC business have decreased 30% since paid parking was introduced. I quit going.

  • Chkitout1

    I’ll continue to boycott RTC.

  • John Pinkman

    Arrogance to the extreme. You may prevail in court but that’s not your challenge. We the people are the ultimate judge and jury!

  • BP has plans to totally convert the RTC with the coming of the Metro. Are they right we will see.

  • Seriously Though

    All I have to say is, thanks! I’ve discovered a world of excellent restaurants and shops as a result of the paid parking.
    I don’t and won’t trust BXP, ever. They are literally killing the golden goose.
    I’m sure they are simply waiting for us all to become complacent with the app so they can monetize the data – no thanks- going anywhere else, they’ll be happy to have my business.

  • Kara Gardner Wills

    My frame of reference is that I live ~2.5 miles north of RTC. Within that radius, I can dine and shop in numerous locations in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls. Add the $2 per hour for parking and it easily pays for my gas to get to Sterling or even Leesburg…One Loudoun is very nice. Thanks to Boston Properties for challenging me to broaden my horizons 😉

  • Flippy Hambone

    I wonder if the genius at Boston Properties who came up with this parking idea has been fired yet?

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