Developer moves ahead with plans to redevelop prime mall site in Chesterfield

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Paula C. Squires

Plans to convert Cloverleaf Mall in Chesterfield County into a $100 million, regional mixed-use development are moving ahead, the developer said today in Richmond. “It is a go,” James F. Downs, vice president, retail, for Charlotte-based Crosland, told Virginia Business. 

Downs spoke about the project during a meeting of the Richmond chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women. More than 80 members turned out to get an update on Stonebridge, a 300,000-square-foot plus project that has been in the works for three years. Located at Midlothian Turnpike and Chippenham Parkway, it’s considered a strategic gateway project for Chesterfield. 

Crosland plans to close on the 83-acre parcel in March, shortly after more than $11 million in bonds are sold by a community development authority, said Downs.  The process to establish the authority is “ongoing,” he added, and will dictate the closing date. Crosland has agreed to buy the former mall site from Chesterfield for $16 million. It plans to demolish the old mall before construction on the new project begins.

Bond money would help pay for public infrastructure and environmental cleanup. Meanwhile, Downs said in an interview, financing for the remainder of the money “will be arranged. We have a number of resources that we are pursuing.”

The county’s Planning Commission approved conceptual plans for the development yesterday.  As a lead tenant, Kroger has committed to building a 125,000-square-foot store, said Downs. Besides retail, the first phase of building would include 300 units of multi-family rental units and an open green space for public events.  Land also has been reserved for the eventual development of Class A office space. 

Despite a weak economy and some negative perceptions of the Cloverleaf Mall tract — where physical conditions declined after the mall’s anchor tenants left — the site’s real estate fundamentals remain solid, said Downs. More than 100,000 cars pass the site daily. Plus, about 180,000 residents with an annual household income of $66,000 live within five miles. “We have a unique opportunity to reposition this property,” he told the audience.

Crosland, a private development firm with properties in seven states, is paying careful attention to what’s in the pipeline and has put the brakes on some projects, said Downs.  In Virginia, investments include land in Homestead Preserve, a second-home resort project near The Homestead in Bath County, and the 110,000-square-foot Rutland Commons Shopping Center in Richmond. Crosland also plans a multi-family project on property near the city’s Lee Bridge.

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