(This article was edited at 4:45 p.m. with comment from Wegmans.)
Upscale grocery store Wegmans is looking to expand into Reston, the Washington Business Journal reports.
According to the report, sources tell the WBJ that the Western New York-based chain is looking at a 23-acre property on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. The several owners who own pieces of the property have banded together to offer the assemblage for sale, the WBJ previously reported.
That location is only about a half-mile west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, in an area that is seeing a huge amount of residential and retail development.
There are more than 90 Wegmans stores in six states, ranging from Massachusetts to Virginia. The nearest current locations are in Sterling (Dulles 28 Center) and Fairfax.
Among factors that may burden any deal for the property is the planned Soapstone Connector, which would cut through the property. The grocery chain is also considering property close to the future Herndon Metro station at Fairfax County Parkway, according to the report.
Wegmans requires a large footprint — approximately 15 acres — for one of its stores.
In response to an inquiry from Reston Now regarding the report, Wegmans media relations coordinator Valerie Fox said the following:
“On our website is a list of sites where we have announced plans to build a store. There are always many rumors about other new sites, but we don’t comment on rumors or speculation. We open just three or four stores each year and our new store growth is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.”
The site shows two future locations in Fairfax County:
- A Chantilly location, at Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, is scheduled for a 2018 opening
- A Tysons location, near I-495 at Route 123, is listed as a “future site”
The Reston community continues to chime in on what to do with the largely empty Tall Oaks Village Center. One answer pops up often: “I’d love to see a Wegmans there.”
Ah, Wegmans. It’s a happy place. With 11 kinds of salmon, a coffee bar, cheese so rare it’s kept in a locked case and a chef custom-making your lunchtime stir-fry. Restonians are clearly fans — but must travel to Sterling or Fair Lakes to get an $18 artisan fruit tart.
Could it be that the mostly available space at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive would make gourmet grocery dreams come true?
“We are not considering this location,” Jo Natale, Wegmans Director of Media Relations for the Rochester, N.Y., based chain wrote in an email.
Wegmans didn’t become Wegmans by squeezing the stores into any old space. The company has requirements of 150,000 square feet for the store alone, along with 800 surface parking spots, says a local land use attorney.
That means Wegmans needs about 15 acres to be Wegmans. The Tall Oaks site is about seven acres — and the anchor store, which used to house a Giant Food, is only about 38,000 square feet.
And that’s before the discussion would even begin on the traffic pattern and access from Wiehle Avenue.
So to review — Wegmans is not interested and the site is not appropriate.
You’re still going to have to head to Loudoun County or Fair Lakes for the hand-silced Nova lox or a wine selection curated by someone who knows a Syrah from a Cabernet.
Photo: Wegmans/Credit: Wegmans