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Manassas Park's City Center Under New Ownership

Residents and city officials hope the new owner, True North, will bring businesses to the retail parcels that have sat empty for years.

City Center, Manassas Park’s luxury mixed-use development that has been the subject of ire and frustration because of its lack of retail businesses, is now under new ownership.

True North purchased City Center, also known as Park Center LLC from Clark Realty in late March.

The Lane Company is employed by True North to manage the residential portion of City Center. True North will hire a second company to manage the retail  space for rent on the first level of the complex, Manassas Park City Manager Jim Zumwalt said.

City officials aren't certain what company that is and when it will begin managing that aspect of City Center, he said. 

 Official figures and details of the sale weren’t immediately available.  

Several representatives of Lane were present on Tuesday at the Manassas Park City Council business meeting. They also attended a council workshop after the meeting along with other business leaders with interests in Manassas Park, Manassas and Prince William County.

 Many local lawmakers as well as residents of Manassas Park view the new ownership as promising, saying they hope it will bring retail to the street level store parcels that have sat vacant for more than three years.

 City officials and representatives of Clark have said the initiative to bring retail to City Center has failed in part because of the economic downtown and nearby competition from the flourishing Liberia Avenue.

 City Center is at the center of long-term plans for a downtown area for Manassas Park. It also lies within a new tax-incentive business district created by the Manassas Park City Council.

 Providing it meets certain predetermined goals , a business’  tax liability to the city would be lowered until 2023.

Concerned Citizen April 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Seriously, the new retail developments on Liberia have nothing to do with the reason that City Center never flourished. I enjoy shopping there....parking is never a problem! Who in their right mind builds such a large retail center as City Center, and then forgets to provide parking for shoppers? Right now, the few spaces in the front of all those empty stores is taken up mostly by commuters........and the spaces in the back...well those are for the residents........There are a few retail spaces on the side, but those are ear-marked for the bank. WHO REALLY APPROVED THIS FIASCO? WASN'T THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS RETAIL DEVELOPMENT --TO HELP ALLEVIATE THE GROWING TAX RATE AND THE NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THAT COST TWO FORTUNES?.Want to make City Center flourish? buy or lease the empty lot next to it, provide tons of parking spaces, and watch the stores get rented up quickly. Anyone else?
Jamie M. Rogers (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Hi Concerned Citizen, Last night, a Manassas-area business leader made a similar point about City Center parking. He said that the property is really beautiful, but if it was done all over again, then he would probably push the property back from Manassas Drive and have the parking up front. Many people believe that City Center still has a chance to prosper and do very well. What do you think?
Isaac Cohen April 18, 2012 at 02:05 PM
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Isaac Cohen April 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Good point about the parking, but in addition to that, all the stores are totally unfinished. A new business would have to go in and spend a lot of money to get them ready to move their stock or furniture in. Most small businesses cannot afford that and so they rely on already existing storefronts that already have say.... bathrooms! Clark did MP no favors on this deal because the store rents were so high that it almost felt as though they were showing the Park center store fronts and then were taken over to LIberia and shown something that was cheaper. It was like MP was the worm on the hook but then the fish that was caught was really the one on Liberia. Did anyone ever consider that there were not enough parking spaces to begin with because they (whoever they are) wanted to force the issue of building a parking garage? Sure don't want to think that but......
MPResident April 18, 2012 at 02:23 PM
There are too many issues with City Center, parking, ease of access, not enough traffic; just to list a few. Why would someone want to open a business on Manassas Drive, when Liberia is a more attractive option? There are businesses already established on Liberia with many more cars passing by and shoppers visiting these businesses, than Manassas Drive. The best you could hope for in City Center is the residents of Manassas Park. I do not see people coming out of their way to come to City Center, unless it is some sort of specialty store. Whoever approved the building of the City Center needs to have their head examined.
Jason April 18, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The city center is a great property. It is just a little ahead of its time. I find it funny how everyone complains about parking. It is not going to hurt anyone to get out of there car and walk an extra 100 yards from the lot across the street. This is why there is such an obesity problem in America.
Bloomie April 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I can foresee parking meters along both sides of Manassas Drive with validation by the businesses as a possible solution to the commuter problem. I'd be curious as to what the occupancy % is on the residential side. I'd guess les than 50%. Theres plenty of traffic cutting through MP to reach 28, but I don't see any businesses locating there to make it worthwhile to stop.
Vasquez2 April 19, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Ditto, in fact, I feel that way about both the City Center and the new Community Center.
Unknown June 17, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought when Clark had this project there were suppose to be 3 phases. Phase1: Construct the City Center/apartments move the bank from City Hall parking lot. Phase2: I believe was to move City Hall to another location.build out more aparments/shopping. Also to include better access to the VRE. Phase3: continue to build out of up scale shops also movie theater included.

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