2006-12-29, 09:43

Mixed use in the Richmond area

By: Jonathan Groner
Cloverleaf Mall is an old 83-acre shopping center west of downtown Richmond. Like a lot of malls built in the 1970s in close-in areas, it was not kept up to date and has partly fallen into disuse. A Sears store now sits unused, and only 20 tenants remain in the mall, on Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway. Chesterfield County purchased much of the mall property in 2004 and has been looking for a developer partner. It now appears to have found one.

On Dec. 19, 2006, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Crosland Inc., one of the largest developers based in North Carolina, will enter into a sales agreement with the county in January 2007 and that the mall will probably be rebuilt as a mixed-use development. One tentative Crosland proposal calls for 382 residential units, 120,000 square feet of office space, and 195,000 square feet of retail space.

In a May 2006 press release about the site, Crosland said it considers Virginia, and the Richmond area in particular, to be "an important market for the company's southeastern expansion." It also said that county officials were impressed with Crosland's "ability to handle all aspects of mixed- and multi-use development in-house."

Crosland has also developed Birkdale Village in Huntersville, N.C., which was named the nation's best mixed-use development by the National Association of Home Builders in 2003 and won the International Council of Shopping Centers Design and Development award for best mixed-use development. See my Dec. 25, 2006, post that discusses Crosland.

Mixed use is not a panacea, but it should definitely be considered as a redevelopment possibility for old, tired malls that have seen better days.

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