Massage Envy Sets Sights on Tenleytown

Massage Envy Spa hopes to open at 4620 Wisconsin Ave. - image courtesy of Google Maps

Massage Envy Spa hopes to open at 4620 Wisconsin Ave. – image courtesy of Google Maps

Tenleytown residents may soon have a new place to unwind from the stress of everyday life. Massage Envy Spa plans to open a franchise location at 4620 Wisconsin Avenue, the former site of Morty’s deli, which closed in 2010.

Eric Barton, a regional representative for the massage therapy chain, shared plans for the new location at the June Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3E meeting. District of Columbia zoning regulations require that “massage establishments” obtain a special exception from the Board of Zoning Adjustment; appearing before the ANC is the first step in that process. 

Founded in 2002 in Arizona, Message Envy Spas use a membership model to provide clients with “professional, convenient, and affordable” massage services and facials. A typical franchise has a member base of approximately 1,500 clients, and licensed massage therapists provide services to up to 60 clients each day on average. The franchise is currently in negotiations with American University, the building owner, to lease the space, which would include 10 therapy rooms.

If Massage Envy Spa does open in Tenleytown, it would be the first location for the franchise in the District. There are 35 other locations in the DC metro area, with the closest located in Bethesda and Arlington. The business would be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with parking for clients available on site. Responding to concerns from ANC commissioners and residents at the meeting, Barton informed the ANC that Massage Envy Spa is negotiating reduced parking rates for customers, to incentivize parking in the garage rather than on neighborhood streets, and will provide its employees with transit benefits.

The ANC passed a resolution stating that it “does not oppose Massage Envy’s application for a special exception,” with all four commissioners present voting in favor of the resolution. The next step for Massage Envy is to appear before the Board of Zoning Adjustment in July. If the BZA grants a special exception, the spa can proceed with negotiating the terms of a lease with American University. According to Barton, the university has been very supportive of the franchise taking over the former Morty’s location. The typical timeline for opening a Massage Envy is no more than eight months following execution of a lease, and he hopes that the Tenleytown location will open shortly after the new year in 2015.

Massage Envy Spa would join other Tenleytown establishments providing massage therapy, including Physical & Massage Therapy Associates across from the Tenleytown Metro station and Serenity Day Spa and The Spa Room at the southern end of the neighborhood.

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