What Happened to Virginia Center Commons Mall in Glen Allen, VA?

The Rise and Shine of Virginia Center Commons

Once upon a time, in 1991, Virginia Center Commons Mall opened its doors in Glen Allen, Virginia. Developed by Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. and Faison, the mall quickly became a go-to shopping destination.

It was a bustling place, filled with shoppers and brimming with energy. The mall was so popular that it even drew business away from other area malls like Azalea Mall and Fairfield Commons.

The mall was a hit right from the start. Families, teenagers, and couples flocked to Virginia Center Commons for a day of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

It was the place to be, especially during the holidays and weekends. The mall’s design was modern, offering various stores that catered to different tastes and budgets.

Virginia Center Commons was more than a mall; it was a community hub. It hosted events, fashion shows, and even car exhibitions.

For many residents of Glen Allen, the mall was a significant part of their daily lives. It was where kids got their first jobs, couples went on dates, and families spent their weekends.

The mall’s success had a ripple effect on the surrounding area. Real estate prices went up, and new businesses started opening nearby.

It was evident that Virginia Center Commons was a shopping center and a catalyst for growth in Glen Allen. And so, for many years, the mall thrived, becoming an integral part of the community.

However, as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Despite its initial success, Virginia Center Commons started facing challenges.

Online shopping began to rise, and consumer behavior started to change. But before diving into its decline, let’s look at the anchor stores that once defined this iconic mall.

The Anchor Tenants That Defined Virginia Center Commons

Virginia Center Commons was home to some big-name anchor stores in its heyday. Leggett and Proffitt’s were among the original anchors and played a significant role in attracting shoppers.

Later, These stores transformed into Dillard’s in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Dillard’s was a popular choice for fashion-conscious shoppers and offered high-quality products.

Macy’s and Sears joined the mall, adding more variety and options for shoppers. Macy’s was particularly popular for its seasonal sales and became a favorite spot for holiday shopping.

Sears, on the other hand, was the go-to place for appliances and tools. These anchor stores were the pillars of Virginia Center Commons, drawing in crowds and giving smaller stores a chance to shine.

However, the anchor stores started facing their own set of challenges. Dillard’s closed the former Proffitt’s store in 2011, later becoming a Burlington Coat Factory.

The former Leggett store was downgraded to an outlet before its eventual closure later that year. These closures were a sign of things to come for Virginia Center Commons.

Macy’s closed its doors in the spring of 2016, followed by Sears in early 2019. These closures were a nationwide trend, as many traditional retailers struggled to keep up with the changing retail landscape.

The loss of these anchor stores was a significant blow to Virginia Center Commons, affecting foot traffic and overall mall health.

The mall tried to adapt by bringing in new tenants and experimenting with different store formats. However, the absence of solid anchor stores made attracting a steady stream of shoppers difficult. The mall was slowly losing its charm, and the writing was on the wall.

Despite these challenges, Virginia Center Commons remained a part of the community. It was still a place where people could meet, shop, and spend time together. But the mall was no longer the bustling hub it once was, and it was clear that changes were on the horizon.

Ownership Changes and Their Impact on Virginia Center Commons

Ownership changes often bring about significant shifts in a mall’s trajectory, and Virginia Center Commons was no exception.

Initially owned by Simon Property Group, the mall was handed over to Washington Prime Group in 2014. Then, in January 2017, it changed hands again, this time being sold to Kohan Retail Investment Group.

Each ownership change brought about its own set of challenges and opportunities. Washington Prime Group, for instance, attempted to revitalize the mall by introducing new stores and renovating existing spaces. However, these efforts were insufficient to reverse the mall’s declining fortunes.

In early 2020, the mall was sold again for $8.3 million to VCC Partners LLC and Shamin VCC LLC. This sale marked a new chapter in the mall’s history, as the new owners had different plans for the property.

The sale also sparked curiosity among Glen Allen residents, keen to know what would happen to their beloved mall.

The mall’s decline was not just a result of changing consumer habits or the rise of online shopping. It was also affected by broader economic factors and shifts in the retail landscape.

Despite the best efforts of multiple owners, the mall continued to struggle. It was becoming increasingly clear that Virginia Center Commons would need to undergo significant changes to survive. And so, the decision was made to close the mall and pave the way for something new.

The Decline and Closure of Virginia Center Commons

The decline of Virginia Center Commons was gradual but inevitable. The mall, which had once been a bustling hub of activity, was now a shadow of its former self.

Stores were closing, and the once-crowded corridors were now mostly empty. The final blow came in August 2022, when the remaining tenants were told to vacate by October 31, 2022.

The news of the closure was met with mixed emotions. For some, it was the end of an era, a place filled with memories and experiences.

For others, it was a sign of the times, reflecting the changing retail landscape. The mall had been struggling for years, and the closure did not surprise many.

The mall officially closed its doors for good at the end of October 2022. It was a sad day for the community as people came to say their final goodbyes.

Virginia Center Commons Richmond, VA
Virginia Center Commons Richmond, VA” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Social media was flooded with nostalgic posts and pictures as residents of Glen Allen shared their memories of Virginia Center Commons.

The local community felt the closure’s profound effects. It was not only a loss of a shopping destination but also a loss of a communal space. Virginia Center Commons had been a part of Glen Allen for over three decades, and its closure left a void that would be hard to fill.

However, every end is a new beginning. While the closure of Virginia Center Commons was undoubtedly a loss, it also opened up new possibilities.

The Future of the Virginia Center Commons Site

The closure of Virginia Center Commons was not the end; it was the beginning of a new chapter. In January 2021, demolition began to make room for an indoor sportsplex.

This sportsplex aims to be a state-of-the-art facility serving as a community hub for sports and recreation.

Alongside the sportsplex, plans are in place for a mixed-use development. This development will include a hotel owned by Shamin Hotels, adding another utility layer to the site.

The idea is to create a space that offers multiple amenities, from sports and recreation to hospitality and retail.

The redevelopment plans have been met with optimism. Residents are excited about the new opportunities the sportsplex and mixed-use development will bring. It’s a fresh start for a site that has been a significant part of Glen Allen for over three decades.

The redevelopment is not only about building new structures; it’s also about revitalizing the community. The recent developments aim to bring in more visitors and create new jobs, contributing to the overall well-being of Glen Allen.

While the mall may be gone, its legacy lives on. The new developments are a testament to the enduring spirit of the community.

So, as the sun sets on Virginia Center Commons, a new dawn is on the horizon. The mall may be a part of history now, but its future looks bright, promising a new chapter in the story of Glen Allen, Virginia.

The Adjacent Developments Around Virginia Center Commons

The Henrico Sports Complex is being built on a parcel adjacent to the mall, and part of the mall was demolished to facilitate its construction. This new development is another sign of the changing times, as the focus shifts from retail to community-centric spaces.

The sports complex is expected to attract local sports teams and schools and host regional tournaments. It’s an exciting development that adds another layer to the ongoing transformation of the Virginia Center Commons site.

The construction of the Henrico Sports Complex is a win-win for everyone. It provides new amenities for the community and brings in visitors from other areas.

So, as we bid farewell to Virginia Center Commons, we welcome new developments that promise to enrich the community. The mall may be gone, but in its place are exciting new projects that offer a glimpse into the future of Glen Allen.

Conclusion

The story of Virginia Center Commons is a tale of rise, decline, and transformation. From its opening in 1991 to its closure in 2022, the mall has been a significant part of Glen Allen, Virginia. Its decline reflected broader changes in the retail landscape, but its future holds promise.

The state-of-the-art sportsplex and a mixed-use development offer a fresh start for the community. These new projects are not just about buildings and structures but about revitalizing a community and creating spaces where people can come together.

As we look back on the history of Virginia Center Commons, we also look forward to its future. The mall may be gone, but its spirit lives on, promising new beginnings and exciting opportunities for the residents of Glen Allen.

And so, as one chapter closes, another one begins. The story of Virginia Center Commons may have ended, but its legacy will continue to shape the future of Glen Allen, Virginia, for years to come.

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