A retail giant is bringing its smallest concept to Richmond and giving a Southside shopping center a shot in the arm.
Walmart has submitted plans to build a Neighborhood Market grocery store at Meadowbrook Shopping Center at Chippenham and Hopkins Road in Chesterfield.
It will be Walmart’s first Richmond-area Neighborhood Market and will kick off what the property’s owners see as a “second life” for the 50-year-old Meadowbrook center.
“What we’re planning on is revitalizing the storefronts, the sidewalks, the lighting and the parking lots in coordination with what Walmart is doing,” said Teri Pruitt, vice president for Meadowbrook ownership group W.S. Carnes.
Pruitt expects Walmart to raze about 30,000 square feet of retail space to make way for Walmart within the next 30 days. Walmart will then build its 42,000-square-foot store at Meadowbrook’s southwest corner, according to a site plan submitted to the Chesterfield County planning commission.
Carnes developed Meadowbrook about 50 years ago in conjunction with the nearby Meadowbrook Estates and Meadowbrook Apartments complexes, Pruitt said. The center has been down an anchor since 1999 when supermarket company A&P sold its Meadowbrook grocery store to Food Lion in a package of 30 Virginia stores.
With its own supermarket already open at nearby Meadowdale Shopping Center, Food Lion let Meadowbrook’s 25,000-square-foot anchor store go dark over until its lease ran out about seven years later, Pruitt said.
“They sort of held the space hostage for quite a while,” she said.
Part of the space has been left empty by design, Pruitt said, to leave leasing opportunities in case Meadowbrook landed a new anchor.
“We’re hoping with the Walmart coming that it will bring new tenants into the center,” she said. “That usually is what comes with a Walmart.”
The Neighborhood Market is a grocery-centered store that on average runs about a fourth of the size of Walmart’s Supercenter model. The retailer has big plans for its smallest concept as last year Walmart announced plans to open more than 200 new Neighborhood Markets over an 18-month span. The Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported Walmart’s plans at Meadowbrook.
The move into Richmond also comes as Walmart works on new Supercenter at Reynolds Crossing near the intersection of Glenside Drive and Forest Avenue.
Pruitt would not comment on what W.S. Carnes plans to spend to update the shopping center and how costs for the new Walmart will be divided between the developer and the retailer.
W.S. Carnes has been working to bring Walmart to Meadowbrook on and off since about 2008, Pruitt said, and hired Innsbrook developer Sidney Gunst as a consultant to help lure an anchor tenant about a year ago.
Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer broker Connie Jordan Nielsen handles leasing at Meadowbrook. She said Walmart’s lease has not yet been finalized, but hopes a new anchor will spur leasing interest for the roughly half-filled shopping center.
“It has a lot of space that’s been vacant for a really long time and it really just took the right grocer to get focused on the market,” she said. “And I think we’ve found that.”