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UPDATED: Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Set to Close This Week in Reston Town Center

by Catherine Douglas Moran January 23, 2019 at 3:15 pm 89 Comments

Updated at 10:25 on Jan. 25 — Both stores closed three days ahead of schedule on Thursday (Jan. 24).

By next week, Reston Town Center will have two big empty retail spaces once filled by Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

Two spokeswomen — one for Pottery Barn and the other for Williams-Sonoma — told Reston Now that both stores are set to close on Sunday (Jan. 27).

The closures will create two vacancies on either side of the Reston Town Center’s pavilion. Pottery Barn (11937 Market Street) is right down the block from Williams-Sonoma (11897 Market Street).

Williams-Sonoma Inc. operates both brands. Other locations nearby include Tysons Galleria in McLean and the Mosaic District in Fairfax.

The two closures are the first large retailers to leave Reston Town Center after several restaurants and small businesses closed their doors in 2018.

This story has been updated

  • But there is still paid parking, right? Please tell me they haven’t shut down the paid parking. I know of 0 people who go there to pay to park and it’s a huge boon to the community as a whole. I mean paid parking, just like in DC, but it’s in Reston!

    • Huh?

      How is paid parking a boon to the community!? The money goes to Boston Properties, not the community. Restaurants and stores are closing because of it. It’s confusing. Many people don’t trust the security of the app. We’ve been Reston residents for years and never shop there any more. It’s a train wreck.

      • EliteinReston

        He’s being sarcastic, something that usually isn’t attempted in the comments section.

        • Huh?

          Thank you – and thanks to the others. (Duh, I will slink away now…)

    • 30yearsinreston

      Sarcasm 🙂

      • EliteinReston

        Sarcasm: What are you going to write about now that Supervisor Hudgins is stepping down?

        • 30yearsinreston

          #1celebrate
          The champagne is on ice
          #2 try and ensure her acolytes follow her

  • Hongbits

    I got away with parking and not paying a few times, then got a parking ticket a few weeks ago. Until parking is free, they won’t see my face there. Are you paying attention, Boston Properties? It doesn’t seem so.

    • timd66md

      Careful. I see a car or two booted weekly.

    • aschoen

      Commercial real estate is in a giant bubble right now. It’s worst in big cities like Manhattan, where entire sections of 5th avenue that used to be bustling with high-end shops are now empty. It’s not that no one wants to shop there, the problem is that landlords like Boston Properties let their business people get a little carried away, and they started trying to charge insane rents that no business could pay and stay in business. But that’s not even their biggest mistake. Everyone in the business decided to pretend that it was just a matter of time until new tenants came in and paid the high rents, so they revalued all their properties under the assumption that the high rents were sustainable. So basically there are blocks and blocks of manhattan that are dead zones, but have extremely high property values because everyone in the commercial real estate business is lying to each other (and themselves). Is this starting to sound familiar at all?
      Well no one believes the lies anymore (Janet Yellen, who doesn’t usually make public proclamations about bubbles, said as much) and its only a matter of time before the other shoe drops. If the crash is just commercial real estate, it wont be nearly as big as the 2008 crash, but it has already begun and will continue for the foreseeable future.
      Boston Properties is in the unfortunate position of owning a bunch of this overvalued commercial real estate in major cities. They have reeeal big problems to worry about, so I think RTC’s problems look pretty unimportant to them right now. There was probably a memo that went around a while ago saying “do whatever you can to generate some revenue, because we’re going to need some positive lines on our balance sheet in the next few years” so they probably won’t back down. They’re quite comfortable raising prices and ignoring the negative consequences, because that’s the industry-wide practice that created the bubble they’re in. They won’t really change their behavior until after the crash. They might not even survive the crash as a company, although I’m sure all the executives who created the problem will find new jobs immediately and none of them will lose a dime.

  • James

    And now BP can attract more lucrative tenants with their bounty of empty retail space.

    • Adrian Havill

      Thank you BP. Always good to hear from you.

      • James

        Don’t forget 1 comment = 1 dollar in the convenient Reston Town Center Parking App

    • aschoen

      Finally they got rid of low-end tenants like Williams Sonoma, and can replace them with more upscale shops like a nail salon.

      • John

        lol

  • restonista

    When I last visited WS before the holidays, after the closing announcement was made, I had mentioned that I just had been to the Mosaic store and the gal said, “oh, they would never close that store; it gets so much business!” Exactly, I drove there first that day to buy something. I only happened to end up at the RTC by freak chance because I refuse to support BP’s paid parking system.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    My condolences to WS and PB.

    • John

      The company is doing strong. Your condolences need to got to RTC. That place is dying.

      • vdiv

        Wonder if this may be intentional, BPX may want to redevelop parts of it, increase the density.

  • John

    Such a shame that a bunch of real estate agents (glorified Mary Kay salespeople) thought they could make a few extra bucks charging to park.

    Maybe once they hit 50% vacancy they’ll re-think that particular get-rich-quick scheme.

    • Big Drop

      I believe Boston Properties uses paid parking as part of their negotiation to lease office space which is a huge multiple of the amount of retail space they offer.

      • John

        I’m pretty sure the per square foot cost for a retail space is much higher than for a commercial space. By a factor of 3.

        Having empty stores and boarded up restaurants isn’t going to be much of a selling point. Office workers don’t want to work in a defunct “town center.”

        A variety of lunch choices, after work happy hours and shops and services is a much greater selling point than “paid parking.” Especially since almost every commercial building in Reston has ample free parking.

    • aschoen

      Sadly, as bad as this is for RTC, I’m not sure it’s actually hurting BXPs bottom line. Their revenue from parking, residential tenants, residential parking, and office space might be increasing enough to offset the retail losses. I’m just guessing though. Killing off RTC retail might not even be that bad for them.

      • John

        There’s no way that parking revenue is going to offset the loss in revenue from retail leases. Retail square footage is the highest cost out of all commercial real estate prices.

  • Big Drop

    There will be twelve retail vacancies.

  • Big Drop

    How are the prices of condos at Town Center holding up since paid parking and the app started?

    • 40yearsinreston

      Ithink they have tanked
      Lots of empty apartments

    • aschoen

      I think the bigger issue with housing is that they’re adding a TON of new units. Signature and EXO just opened and more are being constructed south of the toll road. It’s unclear who is going to fill all these new units.

  • Pamela G

    I’m a Restonite, myself, and I certainly don’t like paid parking. But I also can’t help thinking how spoiled the residents of Reston have become. The fact is, Reston is about the only bustling locale that doesn’t have meters or some form of paid parking. Bethesda, Rockville, DC, Arlington, Ballston, etc. all have paid parking. Yes, I hate paying to park, and we can blame BP all we want, but the reality is that if you want your town to thrive, your houses to continue to increase in value, people to have jobs so our economy continues to grow, then it’s time we just get over it, patronize the businesses that are still here, and just deal. These businesses are going out of business because we RESTONITES are basically striking against BP. Well that striking is what’s affecting the businesses. That’s on us. We are hurting the businesses directly, BP is hurting them indirectly. Please think about it.

    • John

      I live in McLean. My home value has been increasing. I don’t pay to park at any business I patronize in Mclean, and not even in Tyson’s Corner. Two major shopping malls with absolutely free parking. Tyson’s Corner Center practically connects to the Silver Line via a pedestrian sky bridge, and they don’t feel the need to charge for parking. It’s better for business to let a few people “take advantage” of the free parking to ride Metro, in exchange for not alienating the hundreds of thousands who park to spend money at the mall.

      There are plenty of options for retailers to lease storefronts where there is ample free parking all over Reston. Blaming “we Restonites” for “boycotting” the stores is wrong. It’s not a boycott, people are simply choosing to shop and eat at places that don’t charge for parking. That’s on BP.

      • PGG

        Reston Town Center is not a mall. No mall charges parking. Businesses aren’t closing everywhere else there is paid parking. Only in Reston. So yes, it is basically a boycott that isn’t affecting BP, it’s affecting the retailers.

        • 40yearsinreston

          So every time a retailer leaves with their rent, it doesnt affect the landlord?
          Empty store fronts dont affect rentals ?
          Your arguments are bogus

          • PGG

            6 new businesses signed leases going into Town Center. Peets Coffee is one of them. A nail salon, another. A wine and paint shop, another.

          • Big Drop

            Are you aware of the resale value of condos in Town Center and they have held up over the past couple of years?

          • aschoen

            I’m going to make two claims that are probably closer to the truth than what you just said
            1. one, maybe two of these businesses has actually signed an actual lease document.
            2. three or fewer will ever sign a lease or make a payment to BPX

          • John

            Peet’s has a history of opening up a store and mysteriously closing it within 6 months, too.

        • aschoen

          Au contraire, RTC IS a mall and malls can’t charge for parking. That’s really the heart of the issue, and the reason business are dropping by the dozen.

          • PGG

            It’s not a mall. It’s not enclosed. Nor is the entire town center blocked off from cars entering, which would create a type of “promenade”, so to speak.

          • John

            You’re still stuck on this notion that it can’t be a mall unless it is enclosed.

            Some of the oldest shopping malls in the Chicago area are outdoor malls

            Here, from Wikipedia:

            A shopping mall is a modern, chiefly North American, term for a form of shopping precinct or shopping center (also spelled shopping centre), in which one or more buildings form a complex of shops representing merchandisers with interconnecting walkways that enable customers to walk from unit to unit. A shopping arcade is a specific type of shopping precinct which is usually distinguished in English for mall shopping by the fact that connecting walkways are not owned by a single proprietor and are in open air. Shopping malls in 2017 accounted for 8% of retailing space in the United States.

            And from Dictionary dot com:

            mall[mawl; British also mal]
            noun
            Also called shopping mall. a large retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building. Compare shopping center.
            a large area, usually lined with shade trees and shrubbery, used as a public walk or promenade.
            Chiefly Upstate New York . a strip of land, usually planted or paved, separating lanes of opposite traffic on highways, boulevards, etc.
            the game of pall-mall.
            the mallet used in the game of pall-mall.
            the place or alley where pall-mall was played.

          • aschoen

            Ok fine. It’s a mixed-use shopping center, not a mall.
            Comparable shopping centers like Fairfax Corner, Mosaic, Monroe Place, and Tyson’s Corner Mall (which has plenty of outdoor storefronts, despite the name) do not charge for parking. So I’m not sure why the precise wording is so important.

      • Ali

        John I don’t disagree with you but note that Tyson’s Mall (not Galleria) added gates and ticket dispensing machines to their garages a few years ago. They aren’t in use now but may be in the future. They probably figure that if commuter parking gets out of hand they will use them.

        • Greg

          And both Tysons malls monitor vehicles using license plate scanners.

          https://www.ameripark.com/tysons/

        • aschoen

          It sounds like Tyson’s mall made a good business decision . They probably could charge for parking without disrupting the mall very much though. It’s a more populated area, and its much closer to DC. It can be really hard to find a parking spot there, and that’s really the reason why you would charge for parking. People understand why they’re being charged when parking is scarce.
          RTC is a long way away from that. Maybe they’ll get closer to that point after the metro stop opens, but I don’t really see it. Tysons has had a metro for years, and they’re still not charging. I think it will be another 10 years (and a lot of zoning changes) before RTC gets to the point where paid parking makes any sense.

          • John

            Ballston Common Mall is the best example. They are truly in an “urban” area and there is a metro stop a block away, and they have charged for parking for years.

            However, it is a burden for both customers and employees. I knew a woman who worked at the Hecht’s there about 25 years ago who would park at an open surface lot across Glebe and risk having her car towed every day because it wasn’t economically feasible for her to pay to park every day. Plus, in the almost 40 years I’ve lived here, I’ve only gone to Ballston Common perhaps 20 times. If I can go to Tyson’s to accomplish whatever shopping need, I will go there instead.

            Ballston can get away with it because there are enough potential customers in close proximity who calculate the parking costs are less than the cost to drive all the way to Tyson’s or some other mall where parking is free. Reston doesn’t have that luxury.

    • Mikey B

      You drink the kool aid! I bet you think the highway tolls are a good thing too at $45 each way! America was great back when it was free now we have people who beg for tyranny

      • PGG

        Businesses aren’t closing everywhere else there is paid parking. Only in Reston. No, I don’t support the tolls and the ridiculous increases. I don’t like paid parking any more than you do, but it’s an unfortunate way of life, and if everyone keeps trying to retaliate against BP, they’re not the ones getting hurt, the retailers are.

        • 40yearsinreston

          The retailers can move
          That affects BPX when leases arent renewed

          • PGG

            BP doesn’t care, you don’t seem to get that! They WILL fill those spaces, but those retailers moving? They have employees, who you can be sure can’t afford to live in Reston, on their small salaries. Your attitudes are damaging the workers, really not BP.

          • aschoen

            Well they won’t fill them with retail. And if RTC is serious about representing our interests, they won’t let them use it as residential or office space, so BXP will have to either leave them empty or pay massive subsidies to lure in more unprofitable tenants like Mason’s, Balduccis, and Scribbles (or whatever that book store is called).

        • aschoen

          Nowhere else tried to implement paid parking a full hour away from the nearest city.

          • PGG

            If you’re a full hour away, you must drive 20 miles an hour. Reston Town Center is NOT A MALL. It is no more a mall than is 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue, in Manhattan, because it’s all retail. A “mall” is a fully covered building, all stores and restaurants INSIDE, with dedicated mall parking. A Shopping Center is 1 whole center with an outdoor parking lot, and no or FEW sidewalks, in the parking lot. Best Buy and Container Store are in “shopping centers”. No paid parking. Reston Town Center is just Reston’s “downtown”, and they’ve done nothing different from every other small cities’ downtown areas. LEESBURG has paid parking on all the streets. I’m not arguing for BP, I’m just saying this is the reality nationwide, and we need to accept what we aren’t going to change, because, again, the businesses are now suffering, because RESTONITES are pissed at BP.

          • aschoen

            The only people I know who are actually angry about this live in RTC. Everyone else is just avoiding the place because they don’t want to worry about parking. I’m angry about it and I shop in RTC all the time because I can walk there, but my colleagues who don’t care enough to be amgry don’t shop there because they don’t want to download the app and they don’t know what hours are free. So I don’t think a boycott is the right way to look at it. It’s just a boneheaded business decision that drove away business. The capital BXP owns in major cities is depreciating, and they’re trying to offset the loss by making some extra revenue from parking. They don’t care who they hurt in the process.
            If RTC was really like 5th avenue, then this wouldn’t be happening. People would pay the parking and the businesses would be fine. Did you hear that Jinya Ramen changed their mind? No retail business wants to be in RTC now.

          • PGG

            6 businesses just leased in town center, including Peets Coffee, a nail salon, and 4 others.

          • John

            Peets coffee has a history of short lived stores. I’m not sure what their business plan is, but I’ve seen so many Peets coffee shops open up only to be closed the next time I drive by.

          • aschoen

            Good luck with that

          • aschoen

            I’m calling BS on this. 6 businesses did not sign leases last week. Fake news.

          • John

            lol, a mall must be fully covered. You’re just dreaming up a definition based on your own narrow experience.

            You’ve obviously never been to Chicago. There are numerous fully outdoor malls in the immediate suburbs like Shaumburg, Arlington Heights.

            Oakbrook Center, Westfield Old Orchard, for example.

            oh my. That was a silly assertion, that malls “must be indoors.”

          • PGG

            Look up the meaning in the dictionary. If not covered, then it’s typically a designated area of shops and restaurants where cars cannot drive at all. A promenade may be created, with no car allowed. Like in Charlottesville, by the college, for example.

          • John

            oh my. You doubled down.

            Don’t forget the most famous mall of all, the National Mall. There aren’t even any shops at the National Mall, it’s just a wide open field stretching from the Capitol building to the Lincoln memorial, all entirely outdoors and cars can drive on the roads that run through and around it. lol.

          • Edward Calvert

            Outlets in leesburg and hagerstown? One Loudoun? That little town center by lansdowne? Paid parking in the suburbs is not “reality nationwide.” Thats car country !

          • PGG

            Yes but Reston is in the midst of evolving into a small city, a hybrid of a city and a suburb. Everything is changing based on that. If you hate it, you may have to move way further out. Just ‘sayin.

          • aschoen

            This sounds like a quote from BPXs quarterly earnings report. No link to reality, but it’s certainly what an investor would want to hear.

          • Ali

            I like RTC; worked there for 9 years but Madison Avenue?

          • PGG

            Not literally comparing Reston to 5th or Madison Avenue. Just trying to make a point about how the times are a ‘changin.

          • Big Drop

            You are making the argument that BPX must have entertained when they went to paid parking: they think of TC as a small city not a mall like Tysons.

            Two problems: Reston Town Center is not perceived locally as a city; rather exactly what it is, a town center. Not a Bethesda (where I grew up) or Arlington or Old Town or Vienna.

            But a very good adaptation of a small European like city center which has gone through five phases of expansion.

            The real problem however may actually be very simple: the App. Everyone hates it for countless valid reasons. It really is awful and has caused BPX to shoot themselves in the foot with the whole thing. Without the App paid parking might have succeeded.

            We are not boycotting TC. We just don’t go-we don’t even consider it. We tried the App, stood in line for five minutes at the pay station in one of the garages, spent four minutes in front of the Apple store (we now go to Tyson’s) going through the screens. No more.

            Too much of a hassle, not worth my time.

          • aschoen

            In what city is the entire downtown owned by one entity? Besides Pyongyang.

        • aschoen

          Reston is the only shopping center in the area with paid parking. That’s the difference between RTC and downtown Bethesda. There are only a handfull of people angry enough to boycott, so their anger is irrelevant. This is about consumer preferences. If BXP has any desire to fix the situation, then they need to understand that.
          Very few people will pay to park here without a metro stop, and even then it’s questionable. Ultimately they are people I would need to convince, and my secret motive for arguing with you is that I hope theyll read what I’m writing.

      • aschoen

        The tolls are great! They’re incentivising us to use public transit that doesn’t even exist yet! Three cheers for exploititative social planning! They green-washed their profiteering so we can’t criticise it!

    • 40yearsinreston

      I have thought about it
      Maintain the boycott!

      • PGG

        Yes, you keep punishing the businesses for an act they are not responsible for.

        • 40yearsinreston

          A bogus argument
          They can pressure the landlord and they can leave

    • aschoen

      We restonites live a full hour outside of DC and are surrounded by shopping with free parking. Don’t blame us for living in the real world. Every place you listed is more populated than Reston, is closer to DC, and already has metro service. If Tyson’s can’t justify paid parking, RTC certainly can’t .

      • PGG

        We are not a full hour outside DC, we are 30 minutes, unless you’re talking about going to work in a traffic jam, not just going to leisurely shop or eat. No mall I know charges to park your car. Don’t compare a mall to a neighborhood center. Downtown Bethesda has has paid parking for over 10 years, and their businesses didn’t close because of it. I hate the idea of paying to park, but I’m the one living in reality here, you all are not. It’s here. Don’t make the businesses suffer because you’re pissed at BP! It’s not the retailers’ faults!

        • Edward Calvert

          Every time you shill for bp, a puppy dies

          • PGG

            I’m not shilling for them, I’m merely pointing out that though what they did sucks, it’s a reality everywhere else, and if everyone stops going shopping and dining, despite how much it stinks paying, we are part of the failing of the businesses. The employees personally need us, so that they don’t lose their own jobs.

          • 40yearsinreston

            “”it’s a reality everywhere else,””

            What world is that ?
            The BPX world

          • aschoen

            Press release from BPX: “Surrender your money, peasants! We’ll fire this poor minimum-wage cashier if you don’t… Oh, so you don’t like the clothing at South Moon Under. Well we just fired her. Look what you did, you animal.”

        • John

          30 minutes to DC? From Reston Town Center? Maybe at 3 AM if you go double the legal speed limit. lol.

  • thx2God

    i do not think RTC is part of Reston. it should be called BXPtown. it is really sad. the small busness owner I have known and patronized, a good citizen, looks stressed. he looks like a heart attack happening before you. it is really sad what paid parking did to BXPtown. But I should no worry,I am lucky. Lucky to live in Reston.

  • Mikey B

    The good old days of Reston town center are gone thanks to Boston properties. Greedy Greedy

    • timd66md

      Marriott. Leidos. Fannie Mae. All current BP projects. No interest in / understanding of retail @ BP.

  • surfish

    RTC used to be a fun place to hang out.
    No more.

  • person

    Fairfax Corner doesn’t charge for parking. yes it has a smaller footprint than RTC but just like RTC, Fairfax Corner is mix-use space with space used for commercial, retail, residential

  • GonzoG

    If it weren’t for the completely messed up RTC parking app, we’d go often. I’d prefer free parking, but sometimes that is unavoidable. The restaurants knock 2 hours off for you.

    But the app is so unpredictably difficult to use INSIDE a parking garage, we’ve had to leave on a few occasions just because we couldn’t get a connection to pay for our parking.

    After a while, that just turns you off the whole thing. We’ll go to Tysons where parking is free and nearly headache free.

  • Not My President Ever

    Make parking free again, or you’ll continue to see less traffic and have retail woes.

    • Michael G

      My family and I used to love going to Reston Town Center almost once a week to a restaurant, movies, or shop but most of the places we enjoyed, such as Busara, Gap, and Cosi, and others have closed. We can get to another Panera Bread and not have to hassle with parking, and we joined AMC A-list so now go to Tysons or Worldgate. It’s a shame since it is a lovely place but we just don’t have much reason to go there anymore. Hopefully they will bring in some new restaurants or stores. The paid parking definitely led to a downhill spiral and it’s sad to see. I feel bad for the remaining businesses but we just don’t go to the Paper Store or other stores that are left there much. I really wish they would bring back a Barnes and Noble to Reston or even an Old Navy or toy/games store or other places that we would shop at or would be fun places to go.

      • John

        I think what did it for me was about 5 or 6 years ago when someone was stabbed at McCormick and Schmick’s.

  • Captain Obvious

    I understand that the count of retail businesses lost thanks to BP’s ingenious App-paid parking scheme is now up to twenty-three (23), now including Williams-Sonoma. Reston has lost quite a few quality retailers who’ve suffered the consequences, while BP revenue likely has not. No doubt BP Is betting on the arrival of the train to to fatten future cash flow.

  • Jennifer Litton Tidd

    If I have to pay to park, I’ll just shop in DC. I go to Fair Oaks or Tyson’s now. Last time I went to RTC, it was a ghost town. Brilliant business strategy Boston Properties. They lost two of the best stores at RTC. WS has been there over 20 years. Idiots.

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