Manassas Journal Messenger | Club is another failed business at old church

When Reginald E. “Reggie” Wood Jr. hosted a preview of his proposed jazz and blues club on Dec. 13, 2002 in Manassas, he promised grandeur the likes area residents had never seen.

Wood had spent months remodeling the interior of the former Manassas Presbyterian Church and doing an elaborate landscape and lighting project on the exterior.

His plans were to convert the 10,000-square foot structure into two sections. The front part of the building was to become Angela’s Restaurant, to be operated by his wife, and the back part of the structure was to become the Northern Virginia Professionals Club.

Wood envisioned the club becoming private and drawing a membership of 1,000 people paying a fee of about $60 per month to come and hear top-rated blues and jazz bands from around the Washington-Baltimore area, he told the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger. Wood expected to see lines of stretch limousines dropping off customers dressed in fine gowns and tuxedos.

When the club officially opened in January, Wood had signed up about 200 club members, he said in a previous interview. But for some reason, the restaurant never caught on.

“I know we generated very little in the way of meals or other taxes from the Woods,” said John Grzejka, Manassas Commissioner of Revenue.

After five months, the owner of the property, JAT Industries L.L.C., closed Wood’s establishment for overdue lease payments.

Now the building, which was built in 1875 and served the congregation for more than 100 years, is vacant again. Built of locally quarried red sandstone, the church at 9329 Main St. had original Tiffany windows that were removed to the new church at 8201 Ashton Ave., Manassas.

The church has a place in Hollywood. It was shown in “My Son John,” a movie partially filmed in Manassas in 1952 starring Van Heflin and Helen Hayes.

After the church moved, the building was converted into a restaurant. Through the years a half-dozen different restaurant owners have attempted to make a successful eatery from it but all have failed with the exception of its original owner Luke Barzegar, who operated it for years before moving to Florida.

Barzegar retained the beautiful features of the church, and past restaurants owners all raved that it had one of the most striking interiors in the area — that they couldn’t fail to draw customers into it. However, whether it was a jinx or poor management, none of the aspirations of the previous owners for the facility panned out.

Now the grounds of the building are overrun with weeds and tall grass. Its once impressive look is in shambles. The realty firm of Randall Hagner now has posted a sign, seeking another tenant to lease the building.

In the meantime, Wood has several court dates pending.

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