Letter regarding Dalis/Martone property

The following is a letter sent to Larry Hecht at Harvey Lindsay by the Book Exchange owner, John Knight.

Dear Mr. Hecht,

Over the last few years, I have had several conversations with you regarding the constant deterioration of Midtown Shopping Center.  Unfortunately, my calls seem to have made little difference. I am writing this email to update you on the current situation and to include others in this dialogue in hopes that we will see some improvements.

I encourage you to look at the website wardscornernow.com.  Specifically, I would like for you and Ms. Dalis to read some comments by frustrated business owners and citizens:


The discontent regarding the Dalis/Martone property is rising quickly.  As you know, Foot Locker just closed it’s doors and word has it that several more businesses are planning to leave soon. In addition, there are now many broken windows in the back of the building which, according to your property manager, Ms. Dalis believes are the problem of the railroad and not her problem. We are also experiencing a large increase in rodents on the property.

Last night, we had a second special meeting of the Wards Corner Partnership which was attended by over 100 concerned citizens. As usual, Midtown Shopping Center was pointed out as being the biggest problem in the business district. As I’m sure you know, this building, it’s lack of occupants and state of disrepair are increasingly reflecting badly on Harvey Lindsay, you and Ms. Dalis. I imagine that you and Harvey Lindsay have little control over what is happening but I want you to be aware of the impression. I also encourage the three of you to attend meetings of the Wards Corner Partnership, Wards Corner Partnership and/or Wards Corner Business Association so your voice can be heard and any misunderstandings can be cleared up.

Lastly, a week ago, I was told by a business owner that the following conversation took place between you and him regarding renting the old Regino’s place. The gentleman’s family has owned a successful restaurant in Norfolk for over 60 years and they would like to relocate to an area with more parking. He approached me about the space. I told him it was a good location and he should contact you about leasing it. The gentleman called me back 15 minutes later and was infuriated with your response. Apparently, you told him that the
owner is only accepting proposals from national chains. He then told you that Regino’s is not a national chain and neither are many of the other business that are left. I am extremely puzzled by this hocus pocus as another potential tenant was told that Ms. Dalis is not giving leases longer than 6 months. As we both know, national chains do no sign such short leases and neither would any business in it’s right mind.

As citizens of this community, I think you and Ms. Dalis owe it to the citizens and business owners of Wards Corner to be honest with us. If you are not interested in leasing any of the vacant units, take down your signs and let us know what your plans are. Over the past several years, millions of potential tax revenue has been lost by the city, business owners have been financially hurt, customers feel uncomfortable and Wards Corner has become more dangerous because of this situation.

We sincerely want to work with you and Ms. Dalis to solve our problems and we await your response.

John Knight
Owner- Book Exchange
Secretary- Greater Wards Corner Business Association


4 Responses to Letter regarding Dalis/Martone property

  1. RJ Luce says:

    Why do the owners and property managers not see the incredible decline in the property? So disappointing, such a loss to the city in revenue!

  2. Joan Griffey says:

    I believe it is time to copy these few letters and mail all to Mrs Martone , the Mayor, and to the VA Pilot Editors. Why should our area be punished by one noncaring entity and by a Council which neglects us?

  3. Leanne says:

    John – I agree that this letter should also be sent to the city council and especially the VA Pilot (which can catch all the readers’ attentions). Like you said, even if Harvey Lindsey doesn’t have all the control over the property, their name is the one on the signs in front of our building and so that is the impression everyone will get. Take down the signs if they don’t plan on leasing and answer the tenants concerns over future plans (or have Ms. Dalis do so) so we can make the right decisions for our businesses.

  4. L.Maloney says:

    Was there a response? Has this gone to the Pilot yet?

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