Federal Realty Investment Trust is hitting the reset button on Willow Lawn, with plans to remove the enclosed portion of the mall.
The mall’s owner was approved for a demolition permit to take down the interior portion of the mall in February. The estimated cost of work is $77,000, with Cypress Contracting of Dulles listed as general contractor.
The mall’s owner also applied for a commercial alteration permit, but that has not been approved yet. The estimated cost of that work is $7,000 and lists the same general contractor.
Representatives of Federal Realty Investment Trust have not responded to numerous requests for comment.
According to a commercial broker who asked not to be named, the owners plan to bulldoze the interior space and add parking in what is now the interior mall.
“You will be able to drive from Starbucks all the way to Kroger,” the source said.
No word yet on what the changes mean for the stores inside the mall. An employee at Cocoanut Jewelry said that she was aware of the plan to remove the enclosure but did not know of any other details.
Willow Lawn opened in 1956 as an outdoor shopping center. When Federal Realty acquired the property in 1986, they created the indoor space and shops, including the food court. In 2005, renovations returned a small portion of the mall to outdoor strip space and reduced the size of the floor plan.
According to a December survey of mall vacancy by BizSense, about 15 percent of Willow Lawn’s storefronts were empty. That was an improvement from over 20 percent the previous April.
Al Harris covers commercial real estate for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected].