Two large retailers are set to join Richmond’s first Shake Shack on West Broad Street, but the identity of only one of them has been made public thus far.
HomeGoods and an unnamed grocery store have signed on as tenants at the Willow Place shopping center at 5420 W. Broad St., according to plans filed recently with Henrico County.
Sauer Properties owns the 77,000-square-foot shopping center and is planning to renovate and expand upon the existing development, which dates back 30 years. Earlier this year, Shake Shack inked a deal to put its first Richmond-area location at Willow Place and is scheduled to open there sometime in 2023.
Willow Place has been without a grocery anchor since 2017, when Food Lion closed. However, a building permit filed with Henrico last week shows that another grocer is headed back to the center. The exact user is not listed in the permit and Sauer Properties President Ashley Peace said she could not comment on any details regarding the grocery store.
HomeGoods, meanwhile, is set to take a space at the western end of Willow Place. Peace said Sauer Properties is excited to have that deal done and has been surprised at the volume of interest in the soon-to-be revamped shopping center.
“The interesting thing about this project is we were negotiating and working with these national retailers through the pandemic,” Peace said. “We had honestly more retailers than we could fit in the shopping center that were interested. I think we got the best fit.”
The Willow Place HomeGoods would be the fifth area location for the home decor chain, joining spots in Midlothian, Chester and Short Pump.
In addition to a fresh façade, Willow Place’s redevelopment will also include razing the Car Pool Car Wash building at 5512 W. Broad St. Peace said they’ve been in discussion with current tenants at the center for years and that many of those leases are scheduled to expire soon.
L.F. Jennings is the project’s general contractor and Freeman Morgan Architects is the designer. Thalhimer’s Connie Jordan Nielsen is handling leasing at the project.
Peace said they’re hoping to begin construction on the project by the end of the year, though work on the Shake Shack is already well underway.
“We finished the site work there. So, they’ll be starting their vertical building soon,” Peace said.
Willow Place is the second retail development in the region to go public in recent weeks with plans that include a mystery grocer. Atlanta-based SJC Ventures is planning a mixed-use project at 951 Alverser Drive in Chesterfield dubbed Midlothian Depot, where the firm has an unnamed grocery tenant lined up.
The size of the grocery spaces at both Willow Place and Midlothian Depot are 43,000 square feet, plans show, although it’s unclear whether it’ll be the same tenant. And though SJC has Whole Foods as a tenant in most of its grocery-anchored projects, it doesn’t look like Whole Foods is lined up for Midlothian Depot.
Plans for Midlothian Depot show that the project will be anchored by a “first-to-market grocery store.”
Whole Foods already operates two stores in the Richmond region: at Sauer Center near the Fan and West Broad Village in Short Pump.
Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, which also operates the Amazon Fresh chain of grocery stores and has yet to bring that brand to Richmond. An Amazon spokesperson said they do not comment on their future roadmap.