Springfield Mall will close all stores except the anchor department stores come July, according to tenants at the mall.
Macy's, Target and JCPenney will remain open as New York-based Vornado Realty Trust begins a two-year renovation of the property.
Shopper Mary Yastishock said she remembered Princess Diana’s 1985 visit to Springfield Mall. “It’s changed so much since then,” she said. "For two decades, coming here has been like watching a neighborhood die.”
Her college-aged daughter Alex agreed. “I remember coming as a child to visit Santa and ride the carousel, then as a teen to the movie theaters,” she said. “This used to be a really happening place.”
“Now we come to see which stores have closed,” said Mary. “It seems forever they’ve been saying it will be renovated. It should have happened by now. At this point, I’ll be surprised when it does.”
A sign in the window at W. J. Colt & Co. Outfitters says the store is moving to 2832 Door Avenue in Fairfax. “We’ve been told the mall is closing in July, so we’re moving to our other location in June,” said a store manager who asked not to be named. “I don’t know if we’ll come back when the mall reopens,” she said.
Virage Salon owner Fadi Akl said he was surprised to hear the mall was closing in July. “Originally we were told they were going to close just half at a time,” he said. “If they do close the entire mall this summer, I’ll move to my other location in Fairfax,” he said.
Springfield Mall to Become 'Town Center'
The renovation of Springfield Mall is Phase I of a four-part plan to transform the 80-acre site into Springfield Town Center, according to Fairfax County's Office of Revitalization and Reinvestment. The Board of Supervisors approved rezoning of the property in July 2009, to permit redevelopment of the mall into a mixed-use retail, office and residential town center.
Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay confirmed he’s heard from several tenants of Vornado’s plans. “It’s very positive news that the mall is finally moving forward. We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said.
Phase II will consist of new buildings on the mall's perimeter, with ground-floor retail and upper-floor office space.
Phase III will feature a stand-alone high-quality and high-density hotel and office space.
Phase IV will complete the town center, with apartments and condominiums.
The time frame for completion of Springfield Town Center is estimated at 10 years, and it may not be completed in the order the phases are numbered. "It's a very complicated project, and it's all highly dependent on what's going on with the local economy," said McKay.
Ciera Pryor was a first time visitor to the mall this week. “I was shocked when I walked in here,” she said. “My first thought was they need to close this place, there’s nothing here. But now it makes sense that it’s going to be renovated,” she said.