Willow Lawn goes back to the future

VH1 isn’t alone in loving the ’80s.

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]

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Open SpacesJakeLRScottNear West End News » The Shopps at Willow Lawn, as a Drive-thru (Mall) - Richmond, Virginia Recent comment authors
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John
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John

I wonder what that means for the recently-renovated Chick-fil-A inside the food court? Hopefully it doesn’t close down. It would be nice if Willow Lawn got a free-standing Chick-fil-A, similar to the Panera on the corner.

Jeff E.
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Jeff E.

Sigh…. suburbia. A big step backwards if you ask me. I mean do we really need to drive and park at establishments that are less than a few hundred yards apart? At least the proposal for making Innsbrook a mixed use village sounds promising.

Hamby
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Hamby

How does that cost only $77,000 is my question? Seems like it would be more.

admin
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admin

That is just the cost listed on the permit. I’m guessing it will probably end up actually costing more.

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[…] Richmond BizSense has the full story — but here’s the gist: “the owners plan to bulldoze the interior space and add parking in what is now the interior mall.” […]

Scott
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Scott

Let’s hope they line the new street with broad sidewalks and trees so you can do more than drive there.

LR
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LR

I agree with @Jeff E, this is a big step backwards. And its possible I’m must misreading but are they really demolishing all of that interior mall section (Old Navy, Victoria Secrets, Lane Bryant, etc)? I know I personally shop at Old Navy and Victorias Secret there and would be none to please to see it demolished to provide additional parking when I think there is ample parking to begin with.

Jake
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Jake

I’m with Jeff E and LR — hardly the way to make this place more attractive. The location is really good, there’s no reason this place shouldn’t do well with some creative re-working, but making a parking lot in the middle isn’t going to do it. Now this is the kind of location where mixed use of the sort that is struggling at West Broad Village actually makes sense and would really add something to the area. On a broader note, what kind of society are we that we construct our cities and view our quality of life such that… Read more »

Open Spaces
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Open Spaces

Yeah, like Jake said, not more parking spaces!! This mall needs some trees and benches and green space! Look what the fountain at Stoney Point has done: everybody brings their kids there in the summer to play in the water! We walk to Willow Lawn, and making the center of the mall more walkable is really appealing to those of us who live in the neighborhood. Green spaces, not parking lots!!