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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Former antiques center could be redeveloped

This building has been vacant for months.
The status of the Antiques & Art Emporium at 7120 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, is uncertain as the building has been declared unsafe by the Fairfax County fire marshal and all the shop owners have had to leave.

The landlord, Matt Riesett of Maryland, has not informed the tenants about what will happen to the property. He is the son of the owner, Patricia Riesett, who is in her 90s and lives in North Carolina.

The property has been on the market for at least four years, and the asking price is $3.7 million, says Kurt Kruger, who had leased space in that building and also operates an antiques shop in a separate building on the property. He says there is a potential buyer with a contract giving him until the end of the year to make an offer.

Riesett had stopped paying the electric bills for the Antiques & Art Emporium several months ago so Dominion shut off the power. Retailers had been using flashlights to conduct business, and when a customer complained, a county inspector found the building didn’t have running water or air conditioning, and the tenants were forced to vacate the building, Kruger says.

He says Riesett refused to let the business owners into the building to collect their merchandise until one of the tenants hired a lawyer. It took Fairfax County, which is taking Reisett to court, three weeks to locate his phone number.

When the electricity was cut off, most of the tenants stopped paying rent, says Fahmi Shammas, the owner of Shammas Jewelry & Antiques, which has been in the Antiques & Art Emporium since 1985. He believes there are plans for a fast food restaurant on the property.

Shammas has temporarily moved his businesses to the Annandale Watch & Clock shop at 4221 Annandale Road. He says Joe Gallo, who owned a coin shop in the Antiques & Art Emporium, is in poor health and has closed his business and the owner of Milt’s Vintage Radios is operating his shop from his home.

Other stores still listed on the door of the Antiques & Art Emporium are Antique Medley, Art Master’s Studio, Watergate Collectibles, Rags to Riches, Tribal Rugs & Jewelry, Tina’s Designs, and Norma’s Clothing & Jewelry. It’s not known, however, how many were still there when the building was shut down in August.

“The renters’ livelihood was destroyed by a capricious act,” Kruger says, noting that those shops would still be open if Riesett had paid the electric bills. 

When contacted by the Annandale Blog, Riesett denied that he is the landlord, saying he is just helping out his mother. “Talk to my mother,” he said. “I don’t own it. I don’t know anything about it.”

Kruger, who has had an antique shop on that property for 20 years, now hopes he’ll be able to keep it open.

He faults Riesett for making poor business decisions, such as selling a right-of-way to John Marr Drive to the Speedway gas station next door for well below what it was worth and for keeping another building on the property, which formerly housed the Frame Factory, vacant for three years after it was damaged in a fire on Jan. 1, 2010. The county eventually declared that building an eyesore and ordered it torn down. 

9 comments:

  1. Former antiques center *NEEDS TO be redeveloped

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  2. I am literally shaking my head as I read this.

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  3. This needs to be something more useful! Like a chick-fil-a!

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  4. How about a bank.....AND ..... a Korean BBQ

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  5. Or a Title Max

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  6. Another bank, surely you "jest"??? Another Korean or Asian eatery.....be serious!!! Another Title Max? Annandale has already sold out to Asian businesses!!!

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  7. Put the homeless shelter here. Good mass transit and not close to residential development. Dah why didn't the County think of this location?

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  8. It’s happening.

    https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/01/25/annandale-to-get-its-first-chick-fil-a-and-not.html

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