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County to throw lifeline to struggling Subway on ground floor of jail

A Subway location on the ground floor of Arlington County’s jail could be getting a rent lifeline this weekend.

The sandwich shop renting space at the base of the Arlington County Detention Center (1435 N. Courthouse Road) has struggled to stay afloat since the pandemic slashed its sales. Although it still operates in the space, it has not paid rent to the county since March 2020, according to a report.

“Subway’s business has declined precipitously during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report to the County Board says. “It was closed for business altogether in April 2020. Its sales in May 2020 were less than 15% of normal. Although Subway’s sales have recovered to a degree, they are still, as of the date of this report, around one-third below normal.”

On Saturday, the Board is set to review a proposal to lower Subway’s rent during the remainder of the pandemic to a level it can afford. County staff settled on a base rent equal to 9.5% of its gross sales, retroactive to April 2020, according to the report.

“Staff worked with Subway to determine what Subway could afford to pay in rent based on its reduced sales,” the report said. “As a rule of thumb, restaurants can afford to devote roughly 10% of sales to the payment of rent. When sales decline substantially below normal, inflexible overhead like employee salaries and utility charges does not decline to the same degree, and accordingly absorbs a greater percentage of sales. This leaves a smaller percentage of sales that can be applied to rent.”

If approved, the reduction would last until Subway has two months in a row of sales in which 9.5% of their sales is greater than the base rent it is paying, or until one year after the amendment is signed — whichever occurs first. Then, Subway would have 18 months to pay back the rent it owes from before the agreement went into effect.

The sandwich shop’s lease on its 1,360-square foot space in Courthouse, last renewed in 2017, is up in 2024, the report said.

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Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM. 

Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

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