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City Center Could Have Business Tenants By July, Broker Says

City Center, a mixed-used development purposed to be the first component in a downtown area for Manassas Park, could finally see some retail activity for the first time since its completion in 2007.

Weber-Rector, the Manassas company charged with filling the still-empty retail parcels in the City Center development, projects the property could have business tenants within the next four months.

Coleman G. Rector, president and general broker for Weber-Rector, said they are preparing to do a speculative build out inside some of the business parcels on the street level of one of the two, four-story buildings of the center.

Building out some of the parcels will hopefully make the complex more attractive to customers, Rector said.

Rector said he believes the development could possibly be home to a bussiness in the next four months.

 Not a single business has ever opened in City Center in the six years it has been standing, making it a failure in the eyes of many Manassas Park residents.

 Clark Realty Capital, the builder and original owners of the mixed-used development, left the inside of most of the retail parcels incomplete as a way to make the space more flexible for potential customers, Clark spokesman Tim Alexander said in a previous interview with Patch.

Most of the first-floor parcels along Market Street were designed as flex space, meaning it could be bussiness or residential. Since City Center have been standing, those flexible parcels have been used as apartments.

 One year ago, New York-based True North Management Group purchased City Center off the Prince William County auction block for almost $35 million after Clark defaulted on the loans on the property.

 Rector, whose company was hired by True North to market and manage the business element of the property, said the incompleteness of the parcels could have been a factor in why none of the space was ever rented.

But more than likely, the poor economy prevented the property from securing any businesses, Rector said on Friday.

Three or four parcels near the corner of Manassas Drive and Market Street inside the building nearest to Route 28 will be the first to receive the build out, Rector said.

These spaces are in front of a fountain and are considered to be the “center of City Center,” he added.

Doing the build out will save the lessee the trouble of going through the many steps it would take to build it out themselves, he added.

Because the economy is looking better, Rector expressed faith in businesses locating to City Center.

 Furthermore, the new owners are committed to making the property successful, he said.

 Manassas Park City Councilman Brian Leeper said in a previous report that he believes True North purchased the property with the intent to effectively market and managing its retail component.

So what do you think? Will City Center have some retail by mid-summer after six years of not having any? Tell us in the comments.

K Schrecengost March 26, 2013 at 10:27 AM
I'll believe it when I see it. There doesn't seem to be enough parking for the residents of city center so where will customers park?
Shawn March 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM
First off the following statement is a farce: “Coleman G. Rector, president and general broker for Weber-Rector, said they are preparing to do a speculative build out inside some of the business parcels on the street level of one of the two, four-story buildings of the center. Building out some of the parcels will hopefully make the complex more attractive to customers, Rector said.” The real reason is the sq footage to rent is too high! The only reason that the bank is there is they got a sweetheart deal to help draw business in. Did that happen, NO!!!! Manassas Drive is a commuter road. No one in their right mind wants to stop to do business on that street with NO PARKING and only mom & pops stores. The Liberia corridor is a better option for getting your demographics in. That is why you see most businesses open up there. Also the rental sq footage is way cheaper than at the Center. While I am on the topic the stupid MP council decided to open another retail section before the Center even had another tenant. Why can’t the council just stop and look how MP is. It is a residential city not a business city. Every time they try to bring in business it fails. Can someone tell me what big business has stepped up to Mr. Leeper’s failure of a plan? If a business did than we would of heard about it by now. Look at the history of the failed decision of the city council has made for that past decade. Nothing they did has panned out.
John K March 26, 2013 at 02:18 PM
This is a major concern as someone who current lives at the City Center. I often have to park on Manassas Drive because all of the spots are full, where am I going to park if shops open up? They needed to invest in expanded parking in the empty lot at the center of the complex vs. planning to build more office space. Better yet, convert the ground level spaces to apartments and just move on.
mcs March 26, 2013 at 04:08 PM
This is good news! There are two lots for sale between the VRE and City Center that should be turned into 200 parking spaces for the commuter rail and business district. http://looplink.weber-rector.com/xNet/Looplink/Profile/Profile.aspx?stid=wgarealty&LID=17446740&LL=true&UOMListing=&UOMMoneyCurrency=&RentPer=PY&SRID=3199656642
MPSince03 March 26, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Not sure that someone will invest another $700k to build a parking lot in the middle of an industrial yard when there is no business footprint to support it.
mcs March 26, 2013 at 04:52 PM
It would be mainly for the VRE......
Shawn March 26, 2013 at 05:02 PM
mcs, If the lots are forsale and if you turn them into a parking lot someone needs revenue from that space. You just can't have free parking. That land needs to generate income.
mcs March 26, 2013 at 05:36 PM
The land does not need to generate income. The city or VRE could lease or buy the land. The current VRE lot is free parking. The parking could help support retail development at the City Center. Lack of parking for the VRE and City Center are two big issues for this area, and this helps solve both problems.
Bloomie March 26, 2013 at 08:45 PM
VRE is having funding issues, so they have no interest in contributing to any new parking expansions in the near future. Let the City Center buy it and put in a garage, Their residents and future business (LOL) would be the beneficiaries anyway. There won't be any new businesses open in City Center until the next round of approved developments are closer to occupancy. They would have to pay a business to move in now.
mcs March 26, 2013 at 09:22 PM
The VRE is not having funding issues. They have a fare increase of 4% due to inflation, adding additional railcars, and not increasing the jurisdictional subsidy.
MPSince03 March 27, 2013 at 12:01 AM
The VRE does not own a majority of its parking lots. They can't lease because this is a not currently configured as a parking lot. The city is not exactly flush with cash to make this purchase either so that's not a realistic possibility. If the acquisition of these lots were part of the initial plan for City Center by the developer that would have made sense....but, that was obviously not in the cards. Have an extra million bucks lying around? Let's pave paradise...and..
Shawn March 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM
In the end the City Center will not have any new commercial tenants. Rent is too high and the Center is a failed project that the city council had voted for.
mcs March 27, 2013 at 03:32 PM
The City Center is the best long term land use decision the City Council has ever made. Commercial will eventually come when economy of scale conditions are met (6 new developments planned in the next 1-5 years). Even if it stays how it is the City Center has the smallest net effect on city services(schools..etc) than any development in the city with a residential component. (i.e. - Brings in more taxes/revenue than the city will spend)
Shawn March 27, 2013 at 04:39 PM
The City Center was built in 2009 and only has one commercial tenant. How is that best long term land use decision the City Council has ever made? It has been over 3 years with ONE and ONLY ONE commercial tenant that is not good considering that the residential tenants have been covering the cost of the vacant store fronts. AGAIN, How is that best long term land use decision the City Council has ever made? This was a bad project from the beginning and if the Bank was not force to move in then there would have been no commercial tenant. AGAIN, How is that best long term land use decision the City Council has ever made?
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) March 27, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Shawn, City Center ('the' isn't necessary and isn't part of the proper name) was built long before 2009. City officials said the bank was there before City Center and had to relocated.
Bloomie March 28, 2013 at 01:58 AM
The bank was located in front of city hall in a trailer with the understanding they would move into City Center when it was built. It was never on City Center property. The original plans for City Center were much different than what was finally built. It included a small park or pavilion for concerts and "hopes" for a large anchor store, like a grocery store. Don't believe everything city officials tell you.
Bloomie March 28, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Also, this link to a city document shows that the City Center was nearing completion in Dec 2009 indicated in the section called "Background".
MPSince03 March 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Agreed. Also, the apartments were originally supposed to be condos. Another byproduct of taking on this project in the midst of a recession. City Center was an open field before the apartments were built. It definitely was completed in 2009. Details are in the "Manassas Park Meltdown" article that was publised last year in the Post.
mcs March 28, 2013 at 01:17 PM
4 years = short term 15-20 years = long term (Your comment can be valid in 2024)
Bloomie March 28, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Sorry, I forgot the link last night. http://www.cityofmanassaspark.us/attachments/article/422/AgJan52010Item22c.pdf
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Well! I stand corrected. I have always been told 2007. Additionally, when I arrived in Nov. 2010 and moved right into City Center, I was given the impression the place had been languishing for years. I do know I got a steal of a deal on my apartment-I paid only $1,000 a month. The very next year my apartment was listed at around $1,200. (a little less if I had renewed.) That same apartment now goes for $1,400. Wow!
Shawn March 29, 2013 at 10:35 AM
The center retail space will languish because the rent is too high!
Garth Graham April 11, 2013 at 04:06 PM
"If a business did than we would of heard about it by now." *then, and *have or *would've.........
Shawn September 20, 2013 at 09:56 AM
It is 9/20/2013 and no retail space has open other than the bank. FAIL PROJECT. Thank you mayor for this white elephant.

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