Eden Center business owners sue mall’s landlord

WASHINGTON — The Eden Center in Falls Church is the region’s go-to spot for food, culture and commerce among the area’s estimated 70,000 Vietnamese-Americans. But some business owners in the mall say the building is crumbling, and they’ve sued the landlord.

The Washington Post originally reported that more than dozen business owners have sued their landlord over conditions at the mall, citing bad air circulation, structural problems and leaky roofs and walls.

Suong Nguyen, owner of BC Saigon, tells WTOP that she deals with regular flooding in her restaurant. She has to replace the ceiling tiles every two years.

Also, she says there isn’t enough parking at the mall and that some tenants have had to leave as a result of high rent and crumbling conditions.

Alan Frank, the mall’s manager, says he has sat down with the tenants to hear their complaints and respond. The air conditioning has been repaired, and work on the leaky roof is set to begin Sept. 1. He rejects claims that the mall is in disrepair.

The Post says that many of the businesses are operating under leases signed a long time ago by recent immigrants, and that the landlords may not need to do any repairs.

Anh “Joseph” Cao, a Vietnamese-American and former Louisiana congressman who once lived in Falls Church, tells the Post that he uses “the term exploitation” to describe the Eden Center.

“The landlord is using the inability of people to speak English to really exploit them, to basically rob these people of their hard-earned money,” Cao said to The Post.

The manager tells WTOP that he disagrees with the business owners’ opinions of the conditions, that the air conditioning has been fixed and a new roof will be installed next month.

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.