With the ink on its contract finally dry, a developer’s bulldozers are revving at Fairfield Commons mall.
Arizona-based Bromont Investment Group closed on the struggling eastern Henrico property at 4869 Nine Mile Road last week for $6.318 million.
Work is already underway to raze the nearly 50-year-old structure as Bromont prepares to construct the 310,000-square-foot Eastgate Town Center. The Walmart-anchored project should open by the fall of 2016, according to Joshua Rector, Bromont’s director of development.
The deal closed after a lengthy process; Bromont has had Fairfield Commons under contract for about three years.
“It was definitely a complicated deal, but we’re very excited that we’re finally underway after the trials and tribulations,” Rector said. “We’re ready to get the work done and be part of the community there.”
This will be Bromont’s first venture into the Richmond market. Rob Black of CBRE represented the developer in the deal. Rector said Black originally approached Bromont with the redevelopment idea.
Walmart will occupy about 190,000 square feet of the property, and Eastgate will sport three additional buildings that should come in at around 82,000, 23,000 and 15,000 square feet.
As of now, the property is about 64 percent leased, Rector said, with Planet Fitness, Citi Trends, MetroPCS, DaVinci Pizza and Lee Nails already signed on. The developer is in conversations with several other tenants, but Rector declined to give names.
The group is financing the development through a loan from EVB. Rector did not share the total development cost.
RL Pruitt is the general contractor on the site, and SB Cox is doing the abatement and demolition work. Baldwin Associates is the engineer.
The group purchased the property from Chiocca-Talley Malls Inc., which had owned Fairfield Commons since 1996, when it bought the property for $3 million. Brian Glass and Yasmine Hamad of Colliers International represented the seller.
Glass said Fairfield Commons has “outlived its useful life.” It has been closed for about six months.
Eastgate, Glass said, “works for the developer, for Walmart and for the county.”
“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s going to be good for that part of the county to have this in redevelopment.”
Glass added that other properties along South Laburnum Avenue may be positively affected by the Eastgate development.
While this is Bromont’s first move into the Richmond market, Rector said the group is seeking additional developments but hasn’t nailed down any specific sites.
Fairfield was Richmond’s second enclosed mall, following Azalea Mall in Northside. Many enclosed mall models have been shuttered across the country, and the future of another similar structure, Regency Square in western Henrico, is still up in the air after two local firms snagged it earlier this year.