Is STA closing? Agency denies

The future of the STA Travel office has come into question after ATV News announced the office would close in the coming months, yet the branch manager has said otherwise.

ATV News reported Monday night that the STA Travel office would be closing and the University is now looking for a replacement business for the Butler Pavilion Tunnel. Hillary Dallas, Director of Retail and Leasing Operations for AU Auxiliary Services, acknowledged this report.

STA's lease expires at the end of July, Dallas said.

"STA has informed us that they do not want to renew it," Dallas said.

Chadd Ritenbaugh, branch manager of STA Travel for AU, said that is not the case.

"We've not decided not to renew the lease," Ritenbaugh said, who explained that three of the six stores have closed recently. One store closed downtown, one at Johns Hopkins and the third at College Park, Md.

"We closed a few offices in the region, but they decided to keep AU open, along with two other offices in D.C.," Ritenbaugh said.

Dallas said that the store was not "high producing."

"[The STA Headquarters] had just closed a few offices in this region and there was an overlap," Ritenbaugh said. "All the offices were under the microscope. They decided to not close the American University branch."

The uncertainty over the STA Travel office comes just four months after the Carriage Lamp Dry Cleaners closed and was replaced by an expanded Chevy Chase branch. The University chose not to renew the lease of the dry cleaner after a campus survey showed few students used the cleaners.

According to Dallas, a survey was just released to the campus community concerning the future tenant of the STA Travel location.

"The University is currently in the process of looking at a number of merchants," Dallas said.

Auxiliary Services was unavailable for comment on Ritenbaugh's statement.

STA Travel is owned by Diethelm Keller Holding Ltd., a Swiss private company and has more than 400 offices worldwide, according to the company Web site. Three offices are currently located in D.C., the other two being at George Washington University and Georgetown University.

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