Developer adds tenants at former Fairfield Commons; mulls options for Azalea Mall site

Several tenants have opened at the Eastgate Town Center development in Henrico. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Several tenants have opened at the Eastgate Town Center development at 4869 Nine Mile Road. (J. Elias O’Neal)

The first new tenants have opened their doors at a revamped mall property in eastern Henrico.

Arizona-based Bromont Investment Group last month welcomed the initial wave of retailers at its redeveloped Eastgate Town Center, a 300,000-square-foot shopping center being built on the site of the former Fairfield Commons mall at 4869-4919 Nine Mile Road.

Bromont’s Josh Rector said Dunkin’ Donuts, Hibbett Sports, Citi Trends and Planet Fitness have opened, while anchor tenant Wal-Mart, which owns its property in the development, is set to open a 182,000-square-foot store this summer.

Conn’s, Shoe Show, Metro PCS, DaVinci Pizza and Nu Look Hair are set to open in coming months, Rector said, while leases are pending for Empire Nail and America’s Best Wings.

Westward near the city line, Bromont also is mulling ideas to purchase and redevelop the former Azalea Mall property at the intersection of Dumbarton Road and Azalea Avenue.

Citi Trends and Planet Fitness are two of the shopping center's first-to-open tenants. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Citi Trends and Planet Fitness are two of the shopping center’s first-to-open tenants. (J. Elias O’Neal)

The company put the long-dormant site under contract six months ago, but Rector would not specify when it would close the deal.

“We’re pursuing it actively,” Rector said. “But we have no big announcements at the moment.”

Atlanta-based Dewberry Capital owns the Azalea Mall site, which covers 39 acres in Henrico County and another 9 acres over the Richmond city line.

The company bought the property in 1998 and razed the mall in 1999.

John and Doug Dewberry with Dewberry Capital could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Since its demolition, the Azalea property has been the topic of several redevelopment proposals, including a plan made in 2014 to transform it into a mixed-use development with 300,000 square feet of retail and 200 apartment units.

Martin’s also was eyeing the site for an 84,000-square-foot grocery store, but momentum was halted after the massive merger of the parent companies of Martin’s and Food Lion.

Both the Eastgate and Azalea sites sit in Henrico’s enterprise zone, a designation created to fuel job growth and redevelopment by offering investors tax credits and grants, such as a seven-year property tax exemption based on the increase in assessed value on rehabbed properties.

Rector said his firm is eyeing other redevelopment sites across the region.

“The shopping center business is evolving in the Richmond area,” Rector said, without disclosing the sites’ locations. “We have several sites that we have been pursuing, but nothing that we can announce at this time.”

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Biff Leonard
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Henrico’s rehabilitation property tax exemption program is available to all commercial property 26 years or older – not just property in an Enterprise zone. Info available at http://henrico.us/finance/divisions/real-estate-division/

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