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Brown’s Used Car Center Closes on the Pike

by ARLnow.com November 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm 5,436 38 Comments

Brown’s Used Car Super Center has closed its doors on Columbia Pike.

The dealership, at 3200 Columbia Pike, was once billed as “the area’s largest selection of pre-owned/used cars, trucks, SUVs and vans.” Its brands included Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Infiniti, Hyundai and others.

Now, the parking lot has been cleared out and little but furniture and art remains in the one-time showroom. An employee who answered the phone confirmed that the super center has closed. The employee said she did not know what will take its place.

One neighborhood rumor posits that the Rosenthal Jeep/Chrysler dealership, at Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, will take the Brown’s dealership’s place. Rosenthal is set to close in about a year when the land it sits on gets redeveloped into a mixed-use residential and retail development. So far, we have been unable to confirm the rumors.

  • Brittany

    Wegmans!!!! haha

    • CW

      Wow, the “Wegmans” response beat out the “Dremos” response this time.

    • Novaqt

      I’ve been pushing for Wegman’s for two years now. I’ve asked them in the FF store and online to HQ. I was told they need 9000 sq. ft. at least and Arlington simply does not have it. They have been looking, but to date no luck. I even told them they need to get a different RE agent to look for an appropriate site. If Trader Joe’s can finally locate in Arlington, Wegman’s can too. They might just have to do a 2-story store.

      • Weggies

        9,000 square feet? That sounds small. There are a few houses in Arlington with more.

        • Josh S

          Must have left out a zero.

          90,000 sounds more like it.

      • charlie

        they need 90,000 sf for the STORE.
        then they need another 90,000 sf for the parking.
        if they even wanted to go with stacked parking (not sure they have but they aren’t stupid and would if that meant getting into Arlington) then still need 2+ acres.
        oh yeah, they are going to want North Arlington, not south. South is for WalMart.

  • Steve

    Did Dr. Dremos throw in the towel too soon?

  • Abe Froman

    Good riddance. I will not miss Brown’s one little bit. Those slobs tried to screw me over on a purchase, trying to pass of a car with 3000 miles on it as new, then they stole from my car when I brought in for service. After 20 ys of Nissan ownership, I moved on. Nissan USA didn’t even conjur up a form response when I contacted them about my issues with Brown’s

  • CrystalMikey

    I’m still used to that being a Nissan dealership.

  • FedUp

    Good riddance.

    • NPGMBR

      Yeah, I agree. My insurance recommended I go there after my first accident and although they (Brown’s Arlington Nissan) at the time made the proper repairs; it was attention to degail that left me upset with them and they seemed to charge more for me to get my Infiniti fixed then if I took it to Infiniti even though Nissan is the parent company of Infiniti.

      • G Clifford Prout

        That attention to degail is really working well for you.

  • 1234

    Does anyone know if the Rosental redevelopment is a done deal? There hasn’t been any mention about what was going to happen to the section of land that they own on the east side of Glebe that is contiguous to the Browns lot.

    • Chris Slatt

      I haven’t seen any movement on it.

    • NPGMBR

      I have read some stuff about it and the plans have been drawn up. I “believe” its a done deal. As this article states. Rosental would like the get the Brown’s space because they (Resenthal) have to be out their current space.

  • Good Riddance

    I wasn’t very pleased with the service I received from them. I had to take my car in for repairs and they were one of the vendors covered by my insurance. Not only did they take longer on the repairs than they had estimated. When they finally told me my car was ready, I was there waiting for over 4 hours. It took them over a full hour and a half before they even could explain why. What was their excuse? They LOST MY CAR KEY. And it’s the kind with the chip in it, so it wasn’t a simple case of remaking a new one. Then they made a point to tell me that I wouldn’t be charged for the new key – I should hope not, they were responsible for the loss after all! Lastly, when they told me they were finally bringing my car around, they tried to give me someone else’s car. So again, I had to wait additional time for them to scramble and find my car.

  • Novanglus

    Don’t expect that to stay a dealership. Like the Rosenthal property, it’s right in the heart of the proposed “Columbia Pike Town Center” area — expect more multi-use buildings like the Halstead/Lost Dog.

    Rosenthal should move to the old WGC space (where the Wal-Mart is being proposed). That’s already where they store their overflow vehicles.

    • Novanglus

      Actually, it turns out Rosenthal’s REIT already owns the Wal-Mart site!

      I suppose if they were going to move the dealership there they would just do it and not be making noise about a Wal-Mart.

      • FrenchyB

        Nice research there, Novanglus. Sounds like Rosenthal is divesting away from the automotive business.

  • mickey644

    I don’t mean to date myself, but we lived on 12th st south behind the dirt parking lot that is now Brown’s. They stored all the new Chevy’s there. We figured out that there were only 5 different keys to the Corvettes that would open them all…..I drove all the new Vetts, etc. in the dirt lot and took a few for a spin down Glebe…..good old 1955-1958!!! Never wrecked one! Good cars and even owned a few when I got older! (I was 7-9th grade!). Phroney Bauserman never knew about it and I dated her!

    • Chris

      I know someone that accidentally stole someone’s car from a mall parking lot because of that key issue – they got miles away before they realized that the car, though of the same make, model, year, color, was not theirs. They returned the car to the spot where they took it and as far as they knew, the owner never found out.

    • 1234

      Where on 12th did you live?

    • Southie

      Hey Mickey644 — GM had only a few key combinations they used for all their cars. Back in the day, you could easily find a key that opened/started many cars. I had a Pontiac master key that could open/start any mid-1950’s Pontiac. Sadly, it would not work with those beautiful Corvettes!

  • Tom Smart

    Thank God Arlington has gotten rid of another car dealer. What an eyesore. Yes, I heard Dremos is negotiating to open there.

  • South Awwlington

    We could only wish. Wegman’s need a lot more space…think Four Mile Run area and cross your fingers!

    • South Awwlington

      ooops….was a reply to Brittany.

  • bred

    At one time (late 70s) Brown’s sold Pontiacs out of this location.

  • charlie

    Form Based Code will save the day. Look at the beautiufl buildings it has created so far. And now we have the God of Form Based Code to make sure it happens right.
    right. ha. oh i’m so funny.

    • Rick

      more brown bricks! we must have more brown bricks!

  • MC

    Car dealerships are often really real estate plays, as the Tysons area is now showing. Doubt Rosenthal will stay in Arlington — it goes for higher volume locations, and they won’t want to invest in show room refitting if the property could be sold to a developer in the near term.

    • charlie

      columbia pike car dealers were car dealers long before most people posting on this blog were born. same with Tysons.
      they are real estate holdings that earn income for the owners.
      Arlington County made them real estate “plays” by upzoning land and shoving density down the throat of the community.

  • 1234

    I believe Browns still has 80 years left on the lease for that land.

  • John Andre

    It was originally Brown’s Pontiac.

    I believe both car dealerships are slated to be redeveloped into higher-density use by the CPRO plan. When’s our spiffy new trolley arriving?

  • BoringDan

    Brown’s Nissan screwed me on service — I took my car in and they told me the A/C was “broken.” I asked the guy who called me what the problem was and he got loud and said if I didn’t want working A/C in the summer that they did not need to fix it. This was in April and I had just started a new job and did not have time to deal with it. There were other issues and I determined that Brown’s service was run by liars. Since then I’ve taken my car to a garage in Silver Spring to a guy I trust. It’s a pain going up there, but I don’t worry about being ripped off. BTW, Brown’s buyer list was picked up by Koons Nissan in Falls Church. Yuk.

  • Novadweller

    Finally got an answer from my question in the forum!! I bought my car at a different Brown’s dealership and was hoping to use this one for maintenance,bu t based on the comments here I wouldn’t have wanted to anyways! I’ll have to start looking for another place to take my Mazda….

    • Alexandrian

      Don’t do it (doesn’t matter now does it?).

      I bought my Altima back in 02 at Browns being the OCD person that I am, always had them for the smallest thing. Even when we were backended once, we gave them the car to repair, not the insurance bodyshop.

      However, we ended up moving from Arlington and found another Nissan dealership closer to home and to our astonishment, we discovered that Browns never used Nissan original parts on our car, not even brake pads. One time the brake disks got warped so bad they had to be changed and Passport Nissan said “that’s what happens when you use after-market parts”. I thought that was insulting since I never let a non-Nissan dealership touch my car. Turns out now that Browns really were the scumbags they are which is what lead to their demise.

      • Novadweller

        That’s awful!! Sounds like my experiences when I owned a VW and took it to Springfield…. Is it fair to say it was just that Brown’s that’s so sketchy, I hope?

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    Brand New Audis in the lot.


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