The company still hasn’t signed a lease, we learned; it’s waiting for the Arlington County board to approve a site plan amendment for the space it wants to occupy in the Clarendon Center development. That approval is expected next Tuesday, with county staff recommending the changes laid out in the amendment.
With the lease signed, Trader Joe’s expects to be able to open in late spring or early summer. No specific dates were discussed.
Company officials addressed two specific neighborhood concerns.
While acknowledging that parking will be a challenge for the store, especially with the crush of shoppers expected right after opening, the company is working with the manager of the Clarendon Center parking garage to alleviate potential underground traffic jams that could push cars onto neighborhood streets. Colonial Parking will assign an employee to direct traffic in the garage during certain times, we’re told.
Company reps also addressed worries about the aesthetics of the store. They promised to beautify areas of the store visible to neighbors, like an elevator that will be visible through the store windows. They pledged to decorate such areas with artwork rather than just with advertisements about food and sales.
One person who was at the meeting describes the crowd as “very receptive” to Trader Joe’s presentation.
A representative from Saul Centers, the developer behind the Clarendon Center project, will talk about Trader Joe’s with neighbors at the Lyon Park Civic Association meeting
tonight Wednesday night at 7:30.
In related news, ARLnow.com has confirmed rumors that a large national chain restaurant has been eying a retail space in Clarendon Center. In fact, we’re told that the restaurant, said to be of the TGI Friday’s or Chili’s variety, was interested specifically in the 10,000 square foot space that will be occupied by Trader Joe’s.
“We think [Trader Joe’s] would be a better fit for the community,” a Saul Centers official told ARLnow.com. The official refused to name the restaurant.