Downtown Arlington Anchor in Foreclosure

But downtown businesses remain hopeful

By Mola Lenghi
|  Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012  |  Updated 3:20 PM CDT
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Vandergriff Town Center was developed for retail, restaurants and office space, but the building is only 30 percent occupied and has gone into foreclosure.

Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter

Vandergriff Town Center was developed for retail, restaurants and office space, but the building is only 30 percent occupied and has gone into foreclosure.

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A two-story building developed as an anchor to Arlington's downtown district is in foreclosure only six years later.

The Vandergriff Town Center is currently home to the Grease Monkey restaurant, the Karri Couture boutique and Capital One bank offices..

"Clearly we're disappointed," said Tony Rutigliano, executive vice president of the Downtown Arlington Management Corp. "That developer was instrumental in kind of kicking off redevelopment in downtown Arlington."

The Vandergriff Town Center was more than three-quarters full when it opened after a computer company leased half the office space.

Today, most of the building is for lease, and only about a quarter of it is occupied.

"It's been very slow for Vandergriff building ... They're kind of getting left on the sidelines," said Jennifer Riddle, general manager of Gypsy Riddles boutique, which located next the town center.

Karri Hughes owns Karri Couture, a boutique that has been a tenant in the Vandergriff building for a year and a half.

"The biggest problem is that people don't know we're here," she said.

But downtown businesses say the Vandergriff Town Center is just an aggressive owner away from success.

Hughes said she hopes new owners provide more signage, advertise more and aggressively seek new tenants.

"It's kind of distressing," Riddle said. "You're wondering if it is going to start building up around here, but we're looking on the bright side and thinking, 'Well, someone can come up and start doing something with the building that they haven't been able to do recently.'"

Hughes said the downtown area needs retailing, saying it is providing balance. While restaurants may bring people downtown, retail stores will keep them in the area, she said.

"It would be nice for people to know that there's retail in the area," she said. "You've got an hour-and-a-half wait at Babe's [Chicken]? Go across the street and shop for a little while."

Despite the troubling foreclosure news, everyone with a stake in downtown Arlington remains hopeful.

"I don't think it's bad," Rutigliano said. "I think what it means is, hopefully, that the building will go under new ownership and they can really lease it up."

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