Norfolk’s MacArthur Center mall listed for sale
JLL is marketing the downtown mall
Downtown Norfolk’s struggling mall, MacArthur Center, is officially on the market.
A listing from real estate company JLL describes the 23-acre property as “a compelling redevelopment opportunity.” The listing encourages prospective buyers to “reimagine a major asset in the Norfolk [central business district] into a premier mixed-use development to include hotel, residential, restaurant and entertainment uses.”
The property includes 914,751 square feet of leasable area. Current mall anchors are Dillards, with 253,616 square feet, and Regal Cinemas, with 80,210 square feet. Another 160,000-square-foot anchor spot is vacant. Those three anchor spaces account for 493,826 square feet, or about 54% of the total space at the mall, which also has a multistory parking garage with about 4,000 spaces.
Originally built in 1999, the mall has lost many of its tenants, including anchor Nordstrom in April 2019, after 20 years. An Apple Store left in 2021 and more recently, restaurants Texas de Brazil and California Pizza Kitchen departed.
The mall is now 62% vacant, according to JLL.
In the brochure marketing the mall, JLL writes that the site could potentially support 200,000 square feet of ground floor space and more than 800,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including residential uses.
Starwood Property Trust bought the mall in 2014 for $265.5 million from Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc., as part of a purchase of seven regional shopping malls for $1.4 billion. But Starwood defaulted on a $750 million loan in 2019, and MacArthur Center is now owned by Wells Fargo and managed by Syracuse, New York-based Spinoso Real Estate Group. The city owns the land the mall sits on at 300 Monticello Ave. and has a leasehold interest.
JLL’s listing does not include an asking price for the mall, but in July 2022, MacArthur Center was assessed at about $51.8 million, including $24.8 million for the land, according to city records.
A re-envisioning of the mall was included in Norfolk’s Downtown 2030 plan, a guide for development into the next decade.
Norfolk officials are encouraged about what the mall could become.
“We are hopeful that this move is the first step in reimagining the MacArthur Center property,” Norfolk City Manager Larry “Chip” Filer said in a statement. “The city looks forward to working in partnership with any potential new owners should the property sell.”
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander echoed the sentiment.
“Whatever is decided in the reimagination, I hope the new buyers take into consideration Norfolk’s history and its character,” he told Virginia Business. “It’s a grand opportunity for transformation and for reimagining. All of that will be taken into consideration. We look forward to partnering and making the best and highest use a reality.”