Provided by City of Manassas Economic Development
Historic Downtown is the cultural and commercial center for the Greater Manassas Region, and business locations are perpetually in high demand. This past year, there were several new business openings, one relocation, and sadly said goodbye to a couple others.
While the City may regret when a small business closes, this presents opportunity for others to open. Unfortunately for enterprising and aspiring business owners, more than 80% of all small business start-ups fail within the first few years of opening. Investing time and treasure into launching one is not for the faint of heart and – succeed or fail – those who do embody the American spirit and are to be commended. You can always celebrate this spirit by spending your hard-earned dollars with a small business. You are encouraged to shop and dine in Downtown to do that!
Manassas Museum and Old Towne Inn Property
The much-anticipated reopening of the renovated Manassas Museum happened in 2023. The year ended with the usual holiday fanfare as residents and visitors enjoyed carriage rides, ice skating, and a tree lighting by Santa Claus himself.
The renovation and reopening of the museum was a testament to the City Council’s commitment to revitalizing Historic Downtown. But perhaps the most notable achievement was the acquisition and demolition of the Olde Towne Inn. Led by Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger, and with the strong support of all the elected members of City Council, the purchase of this property will set the stage for the construction of a new hotel that can serve as an anchor for the community. Manassas is making generational investments in redevelopment.
Through most of 2023, Downtown exhibited a staggering 100% retail occupancy rate. This trend of almost no retail vacancy started in 2021 and continues today. It has been well over a decade since vacant storefronts were a concern for the community. Now, most of the retail spaces that change hands do so without ever being listed on the open market.
The current report shows occupancy at 96.7%, with limited availability due largely to the substantial completion of the Harris II building on Battle Street, a mixed-use building with new ground floor storefronts and upstairs apartments. Market rents dipped slightly $25.18/sf but are still higher than historical averages. Similarly, Downtown office lease activity ended strongly with occupancy at 97.4%. Market rents rose slightly to $26.16/sf to close out the year.
This past year almost 14,000 square feet of new leases were signed in Downtown. These included Flowers with Passion, Eunik Interiors, Dabble Creative Reuse Center, and Black Metal Mercantile. Two Farmers Market businesses, Fillagreen and Honey + Ivy, celebrated brick-and-mortar openings. To keep up to date on new listings as they become available, please bookmark this website. And while Economic Development is here to help business owners navigate the process of finding new space, they also recommend using a commercial real estate broker to find the perfect space and negotiate its sale or lease.
As City Council entertains proposals for the redevelopment of the Olde Towne Inn site, staff in the Manassas Museum settle in, and City Hall completes renovations in Spring 2024, Economic Development expects continued high demand from new businesses looking to enter this market.