Still Awaiting Construction at Trader Joe’s Site

by ARLnow.com May 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm 6,215 44 Comments

A liquor license application notice is taped to the window, but that’s just about the only sign of progress at the future Trader Joe’s on N. Highland Street in Clarendon.

Interior construction of the hotly-anticipated grocery store has yet to begin. In November a Trader Joe’s rep told the County Board that they hoped to have the store open by “mid-2011.” Now, that seems highly unlikely.

Reached for comment yesterday, all Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki could tell ARLnow.com is that the store is on track to open by the end of the year. She said the company never actually promised an earlier opening.

A closer look at construction permit applications reveals that the company only started applying for its permits last month. As of this writing, the building permit is still listed as ‘rejected’ due to numerous discrepancies. County inspectors have also rejected the store’s fire prevention, mechanical and plumbing plans.

We’ve reached out to an Arlington building official but have yet to hear back.

  • kroc

    HURRY UP! Please. 😉

    • Thes

      ArlNow: Great job on researching those construction permits. This is the kind of reporting that makes you Arlington’s #1 news source. Not everything of interest can be copied from a press release!

      • Thank you.

      • jan

        Well done

      • SoCo Resident

        I agree with Thes about ARLNOW more indepth coverage of the Trader Joe’s situation. But, this makes me it look even more suspicious that there already are so many permit issues (in a brand new building!) and that they have applied for a liquor license when permits have not even been issued.

  • charlie

    the stores aren’t that complicated really. don’t they feellike a warehosue?

    • LP

      Kinda agree, I feel like they really just need to lay down flooring and the appropriate wires/power for registers and cooling units. Can’t really be a ton of construction in there besides putting together shelving units.

      Come on TJ’s!

    • CW

      I’m actually curious as to how they’re going to build the space out due to the weird angles of the columns. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of truly open space in some parts of that spot.

  • John

    The Clarendon neighborhood display and graphics on the store’s interior walls will look amazing… I hope.

  • Blop

    Hopefully this place causes traffic to back up like it does around Whole Foods. Why can’t we get a Wegman’s around here!

    • CW

      Let Danny Wegman know where there’s an available parcel along the R-B corridor that’s big enough, and I’m sure he will consider it…

      • Blop

        I’ll be happy if it’s in Falls Church, driving all the way out to the edge of Fairfax County is no good.

        • i wish they would put a wegmans in dc instead of this stupid walmart. ughh.

          sorry, i know that’s not arlington… but i live in arl and commute to northeast.

          carry on.

    • LyonSteve

      It certainly will. Two big underground garages have their only entrance/exit on the same block of Garfield St.

      • R. Griffon

        Not necessarily. I’m guessing those 2 garages most likely have much more combined parking than the tiny WF lot. This, coupled with the fact that their on a fairly quiet back street vs. on the main drag, and you may see nearly no backups at all.

        • R. Griffon


          Why can’t I edit my posts?

        • G550

          Maybe, but Garfield St only has about 15 seconds of green time. Combined with cars turning right having to wait for pedestrians, there could be cycles where only a few cars get through and cars queue.

      • a

        They’re doing construction right now at the intersection of Garfield and Washington (i.e. the back entrance to where the TJ’s lot is). Could be a traffic signal, which they’ve needed back there for some time. At any rate, it appears the county has noticed that traffic could be an issue and may be doing something about it. Won’t help the inevitable backup on Clarendon Blvd. though.

        • SoCo Resident

          Those are “traffic calming” measures, i.e. nubs, etc being installed at N. Garfield and Wash. Blvd. At the same time, N. Garfield will be a major detour of traffic from Rt. 50 while the so-called Courthouse-10th St. so-called “interchange” is being constructed 2011-2013. Another example of VDOT insanity.

  • CW

    Ahem…cough…cough…coincidence that SOMEBODY posted a comment asking about this yesterday? 🙂


    Seriously – thanks for looking into this!!

  • PhilL

    LOL. I just read all those permit review comments. Welcome to Arlington, TJ’s.

  • NOVApologist

    In all seriousness – what is the big appeal of Trader Joes?

    • Guest McGuest

      Half-price Cheerios.

      • Guesty

        TJ also doesn’t carry any products with high-fructose corn syrup. If that’s an issue for you, it’s makes shopping infinitely easier.

        • R. Griffon

          And if it’s NOT an issue for you, then it probably should be.

          I didn’t know this BTW. Thanks for the info.

    • Guest McGuest

      I’ve also read that they pay attention to getting their seafood from sustainable fisheries — which I know will be extremely important to many who read this blog and care about the environment (sarcasm alert)

    • Westover

      Decent quality at generally great prices. As well as some items that you don’t normally find at the mainstream groceries.

      • CrystalMikey

        Pretty much sums it up there. And I think I’ll stick with the Old Town TJ’s, I too predict madhouse around there.

      • Brandon C

        Their meat produce is a bit pricey, but when you combine it with their extremely cheap dry goods and fresh veggie & fruit produce, it evens out to what you pay at Teeter and you’re getting a quality product as well.

    • cluck

      Maple Pecan Clusters.

    • General Zod

      TREK MIX!!!!!!!

    • Aaron

      If you’re a halfway savvy shopper, it’s really cheap while still maintaining the appropriate degree of yuppie luster.

  • YTK

    Sloooow — this place is so SLOOOOW. I’m not surprised about Trader Joe’s — maybe next year huh????

    • YTK

      Same comment about Bronx Pizza — how LONG does it take for that pizza dough yeast to rise, eh?????

      And Buzz near Ballston — nothing yet– why the LOOOONG wait????


  • YTK

    oh – hahaha Buzz IS FINALLY open in Ballston. how nice.

    • Ballston Mike

      Yeah Buzz has been open for a least a couple weeks now, but it did take a while

    • MB

      So Buzz isn’t the only slow thing around here, it seems.

  • James

    Kinda lame…the building that I live in (which is above the location) said that Trader Joe’s would be open by summer when we moved in in January…obviously someone is lying.

  • MC

    TJ’s builder or architect looks rather careless, judging by the County docs. Hope store management will be more attentive. While I shop there, one complaint I have is that their inventory is unreliable compared to other groceries.

  • geebee

    At a Lyon Park community association meeting last year, TJ reps predicted the Clarendon store would open in “early summer” 2011, which of course means potentially this weekend. Obviously, that ain’t happening.

  • karzai

    This Trader Joe’s seems way way behind schedule. Is it rocket science to file an acceptable fire prevention, plumbing, and other plan?

    I suspect that there’s more to this story – like maybe a deficiency of available capital on the part of Trader Joe’s. One would have thought they’d want to get cooking on this.

  • LuvDusty

    I live 1 blk away from the future TJ site. I am constantly amazed at people complaining about the increase in traffic that new commerce will bring with the parking garages.

    The Whole Foods back-up is caused by the LACK of a decent underground garage. Instead they built that stupid above ground tiny lot which is ridiculous and a waste of retail space if you ask me. The Pottery Barn garage across the street is too small as well.

    If the new TJ parking garage is built smartly (fingers crossed) then it should not be an issue.

    And even if it is…WHO is using Garfield or Highland to get anywhere they can’t go walking?

    Who are these people driving these roads unless they are people who live in the area, and why aren’t they a) walking or b) taking a bus to these close by locations?

    Highland and Garfield are not major commuter streets.


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