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Eclipse Residents Call for Harris Teeter Reopening

Crews on the scene of a possible sewage spill at the Potomac Yard Harris Teeter (photo courtesy Douglas Wendt)A condo owner at the Eclipse Condominium complex at 3600/3650 S. Glebe Road says she has collected 400 signed letters from fellow residents calling for the Harris Teeter in their building to reopen.

Sarah Maiellano says she is going to deliver the letters to the Arlington County Board at their Saturday meeting. The letters urge the Board to “take any and all actions necessary to hasten the reopening of the Harris Teeter grocery store located in the Eclipse building.”

(The text of the letter can be found below, after the jump.)

The Harris Teeter in question, at 3600 S. Glebe Road near Potomac Yard, remains closed with no reopening date in sight. The grocery store was flooded with raw sewage on May 11, 2012, due to a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan.

It has since been thoroughly cleaned, but the company says it’s “actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again.”

“Once those solutions are implemented, we are ready to start work on the interior of the store, and at that point, Harris Teeter will make various public announcements to share the good news with everyone,” company spokeswoman Danna Jones told ARLnow.com earlier this year.

At its January meeting the County Board adjourned to closed session to discuss, as County Board Chair Walter Tejada put it, “two matters requiring consultation with the County Attorney and staff concerning pending claims made by Harris Teeter and others, arising from an incident on May 11, 2012.” A county spokeswoman declined to say what claims were being made.

Photo courtesy Douglas Wendt

March 1, 2013

Arlington County Board
2100 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201

Dear County Board Members Tejada, Fisette, Garvey, Hughes Hynes, and Zimmerman:

As a resident of the Eclipse Condominium, at 3600/3650 S. Glebe Road in Arlington, I strongly encourage you to take any and all actions necessary to hasten the reopening of the Harris Teeter grocery store located in the Eclipse building.

The Harris Teeter has been closed since May 11, 2012 due to a flood caused by a sewage backup. Since that time, the store has gone through an extensive clean-up process. In October, Al Lentz, Harris Teeter’s Vice President of Construction, reported to our Annual Owners Meeting that the store would reopen this Spring. At that meeting, Greg Emanuel, Director of the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services, expressed the County’s desire to reopen the store as quickly as possible. Harris Teeter spokeswoman Danna Jones recently said that the company is “actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again.”

However, a January news report indicated that the Arlington County Board held a closed session to discuss “two matters requiring consultation with the County Attorney and staff concerning pending claims made by Harris Teeter and others.” It appears that Harris Teeter is waiting for action from the County Board before they will begin the reopening process.

The Harris Teeter store is one of the primary advantages of living in the Eclipse. Having the store closed for the last 10 months has been an inconvenience to both my neighbors and myself. More importantly, the empty retail space could negatively affect property values in the building. The Eclipse’s retail space has been struggling for years – five businesses have already closed. We can’t afford to lose the Harris Teeter and having it remain closed indefinitely is a negative reflection on our community.

Further, with the closed store, shoppers tend to take their business to nearby Alexandria. As Arlington County faces a budget gap and currently considers raising our property taxes, it seems especially pertinent right now to ensure that significant tax revenue generators, like the Harris Teeter, remain open for business. I strongly encourage you to take immediate action to settle this matter quickly. I appreciate your leadership on this issue.

Respectfully,

[Resident Name(s)]

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