By the time they won the legal battle, they were out of cash.
The owners of a French restaurant in Alexandria fought residents for nearly four years in an effort to move their business to one of the busiest streets in town.
Margaret Ticer Janowsky and Laurent Janowsky, owners of La Bergerie, said they lost $400,000 and outside investors while they battled for permission to relocate to a historic building at 329 N. Washington St. and add a five-room inn upstairs.
The city consistently agreed to the plan. But neighbors opposed it before the planning commission, then the City Council, then filed a lawsuit when they lost in city hall. The neighbors lost again in Alexandria Circuit Court. The Virginia Supreme Court twice declined to hear the case, which all told cost the city over $1 million in outside legal fees.
La Bergerie’s original location closed in December 2016 after 40 years in business. This week, Margaret Janowsky said in a news release that the restaurant would not reopen on Washington Street, even though it has the right to.
“We find it extremely unsettling that a few residents can destroy a reputable 40-year-old local business just by filing a lawsuit,” her statement said. “We believe it was their intent all along to do just what has happened, make us spend so much money in the lawsuit and drag it out over so many years, that we, in effect, have been bankrupted by it.”
She and her husband also own Del Ray Cafe, which was not involved in the suit.