Balancé Ballet is closing in late June, citing the increasing rents in Pinecrest Plaza where it’s been teaching children to dance for the past 10 years. The ballet school joins a handful of other businesses in that shopping center that have closed in recent months, including Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Let’s Dish!, a tennis shop, dry cleaner, and chiropractor.
|There are several empty stores in Pinecrest Plaza, the shopping center on Little River Turnpike at Braddock Road.|
“We decided not to renew the lease,” says co-owner Marla Boulter. Relocating isn’t an option, as the “the cost to move the studio would be prohibitively high,” including the installation of new flooring, mirrors, and an accessible bathroom.
The rent is up to $45 a square foot and with all the other costs, like insurance, taxes, and fees for overall maintenance, the studio is paying nearly $7,500 a month, she says. “It takes a lot of dancers to cover that.”
Balancé Ballet is having its final recital June 12. In a letter to parents announcing the decision to close, Boulter and co-owner Sarah Stewart said they made arrangements for Tiny Dancers, a ballet studio for ages 2-12 with locations in Alexandria, Fairfax, and the Mosaic District, to accept Balancé students.
Edens, the company that owns Pinecrest Plaza, presents itself as being neighborhood friendly, she says. “That has not been our experience in negotiating. This was a thriving shopping center.” Seeing so many empty stores here is “sad for Annandale.”