As Boston Properties announces a mix of new commercial tenants, the Reston Merchants Association continues to decry paid parking at Reston Town Center roughly eight months after ParkRTC scaled back its parking structure.
Seven businesses reported a downslide in revenue over the last year, losses that owners said were caused by paid parking.
Others worry that parking will drive out small businesses and cause RTC to lose its appeal and accelerate its transformation into a downtown similar to other town centers. Tenants also say customers often express gripes over paid parking.
Last June, Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, changed its paid parking structure, which originally charged for weekday parking, following major outcry from tenants and customers. Parking is free for one hour during the day and after 5 p.m. Street parking is $3 for one hour and $6 for two hours, with no charges on Sundays.
The narrative by merchants upset over paid parking stands in stark contrast to official statements from Boston Properties, which currently owns more than 4.6 million square feet in RTC. The company has successfully inked long-term leases with major tenants.
Although the company did not respond immediately to a request for comment, the company indicated RTC is a “top experiential” development in the country.
New commercial tenants have recently signed long-term leases with the company, including Balducci’s Food Lovers Market, &Pizza, Muse PaintBar and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls.
“We have listened to the community and are thrilled to announce a combination of new national, regional, and local retailers that will continue to enhance the shopping experience. Developing best in class retailers that strengthen Reston’s connection to the Town Center is our priority,” wrote Stephanie Friedman, director of leasing at Boston Properties, in a statement announced new developments in RTC.
Aaron Gordon, owner of Red Velvet Cupcakery, said that despite changes to the structure, requiring customers to pay for parking was the “worst decision” made by RTC. He reported a 37 percent drop in income over the last two quarters of last year, as compared to 2016.
“What took decades to make us the true center of Reston has been undone by one shortsighted, money-grabbing decision. Reston Town Center is more a ghost town than town center,” Gordon said.
Ray Pugsley, owner of Potomac River Running, said business between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. is “terrible.”
“Even when doctors refer people to use, they tell us that their patients refuse to patronize Reston Town Center,” he said.
In the statement, other businesses reported the following:
- Big Bowl reported a 15 percent drop in sales compared to 2016. A major portion of the drop happened during lunch hours, when parking is not free.
- Ben and Jerry’s estimated a 10 percent decrease in sales.
- Pitango reports an 11 percent drop in sales last year, as compared to 2016.
- Edibles Incredible Desserts reported $135,000 in losses last year compared to the previous year.
- PR Partners says its new quest business is down an average of between 25 and 30 percent “as a result of paid parking.”
The former private venue will be preserved as part of the overall infill residential proposal (via JR Catering/Facebook) A nearly 9-acre property near Lake Fairfax Park in Reston could be…
The Fairfax County Government Center building (staff photo by David Taube) Local officials are already preparing for “one of the most challenging” budget talks in years due to inflation, the…
PayMore plans to open a location in Reston within two to three weeks (via PayMore) An electronics trading store is slated to open in Reston’s Home Depot by the end…
Wolftrap Creek in fall (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Route 7 Lane Shift in Reston Starts Today — “On or about Tuesday, Nov. 29, the right-turn lane from eastbound Route…
The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.
The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.