Best Public/Private Project
- June 28, 2012
Crosland Southeast, a private developer based in Charlotte, N.C.;
and its equity partner,
Hutensky Capital Partners of Hartford, Conn.
A drastic change is under way at the vacant Cloverleaf Mall. After years of planning, the first phase of an 83-acre, mixed-use project is going up at the site just off Midlothian Turnpike. One of Kroger’s largest stores in the mid-Atlantic region — a 123,600-square-foot Kroger Marketplace — will serve as the project’s anchor when it opens in December. Another 27,000 square feet of retail is planned for the first phase of what eventually could be as much as a 400,000-square-foot, $100 million redevelopment in one of Chesterfield’s key retail/business corridors.
Stonebridge was years in the making. As early as 1998, the county recognized the Cloverleaf area as a key location and adopted a comprehensive plan for land use. As business activity continued to decline at the mall, Chesterfield decided to join forces with a private partner to redevelop the site as a way of guarding against blight. In 2006, after 22 local, regional and national development companies interviewed to be the project’s developer, the county signed an agreement with Crosland Southeast, based in Charlotte.
The county and its economic development authority authorized the public purchase of the $16 million mall property. Then it rezoned the property and agreed to sell it to Crosland in phases, giving the developer additional time in a tough market to pursue retail and office uses. The county also approved the establishment of a CDA (community development authority) to fund up to $11.3 million in infrastructure improvements.
Cloverleaf Mall closed in February 2008. With a new equity partner on board, Crosland purchased 28.4 acres last October for $5.7 million, which paved the way for the mall’s demolition and construction of the flagship Kroger.
What made it stand out
The project survived many challenges as Crosland sought financing and retailers in a struggling economy after the 2007-09 recession. It’s also a model for what can be accomplished through a public/private partnership. “It took a lot of time and hard work from all sides,” said James Downs, a principal with Crosland Southeast. “To get it done during what was probably the worst economic time of this generation … it was a pretty remarkable feat that it got done.” Dan Gecker, chairman of Chesterfield County’s Board of Supervisors, credits the “positive business partnership between Chesterfield County and Crosland that has made this key revitalization project successful.”