Those long-awaited, heavily-rumored renovations to Springfield Mall may start as early as this fall, according to Fairfax County officials.
One clue that renovations are coming soon is that right now roughly half the storefronts in the once-prosperous Springfield Town Center are empty.
“A lot of the vacancies that exist in the mall—believe it or not—are deliberate,” Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay told Patch.
The vacancies will allow stores to move around and remain operational while large sections of the building are renovated.
Other vacancies are deliberate for a different reason: “[The owners have] not been renewing leases for stores that they don’t think fit in with the long-term redevelopment plans for the mall.”
What do you hope to see at the new Springfield Mall and in the surrounding area? Put your wish list in the comments section below!
Springfield Mall has space for more than 150 stores, 2 million square feet of retail space and 80 acres of land. Its location close to I-95 and the Springfield Metro make it an attractive retail and commercial property.
Vornado Realty Trust, the mall’s New York-based owner, re-acquired the property for $115 million in December 2010, a move many thought signaled the go-ahead for renovations to begin as early as March or April 2011.
But it’s July, and ground has yet to be broken.
McKay addresses the redevelopment in his summer newsletter to Lee District. “We’ve all been waiting for the expected renovations of Springfield Mall and frankly, I expected to see bulldozers at the site by now,” it reads. “The bottom line is that the ball is in the private sector’s court here—there’s nothing more that the county can do.”
Vornado did not respond to requests for comment in time for the publishing of this article, and McKay could not provide concrete information regarding Vornado’s timeline for redevelopment.
“Believe me, I wish I had a date for certain,” he said. “The most important piece of [information] is that county permits are in hand, rezoning is done… the entire regulatory process is over,” he said.
County officials expedited the process, McKay said, to give Springfield Mall a competitive advantage over Alexandria’s Landmark Mall, a facility facing its own problems with redevelopment. “We wanted to get them out there ahead of Landmark, to give [Springfield Mall] a better chance of success.”
Rose Hill Patch will be publishing an article Wednesday regarding Landmark Mall’s pending redevelopment.
Interior Remodeling, Then Offices and More
The first phase in Vornado’s long-term plan for the structure is a serious overhaul of the mall’s interior. There are plans for a new food court and a movie theater, a commodity the mall has been without since 2008.
Over the next decade, Vornado also intends to build outdoor store space along Loisdale Road, office space and housing. McKay called it “almost an exact replica of Pentagon City.”
“This property makes sense for residential, retail and commercial office space,” he said. “For the first time ever, Springfield can get a real, mixed-use development.”
To date, the county has issued permits for emergency repairs to a pedestrian bridge; the JC Penny parking structure; a column in an existing parking garage; interior alterations, including exterior skylight installation; installing electrical circuits and fixtures in the mall; and installing ductwork and diffusers
“I think a lot of people are frustrated, but patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait," McKay said.