Shops at Willow Lawn under construction

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The Shops at Willow Lawn houses the Old Navy and about a dozen other stores. Well, most of that building will be torn down and turned into a parking lot. The shops will have to re-locate.

"My handmade sign! (What do people think about it when they see it?) They go, 'Oh your moving!'" said Wendy Steinburg-Garrett.

Wendy Garrett only had three months to plan the move of her jewelry store, located inside the Shops at Willow Lawn.

(What's going to happen to the inside?) "They're going to knock it down. This is going to be a parking lot," she said.

A look at the plans filed with Henrico County you can see a parking lot will replace the mall. Shoppers will be able to access both sides of stores more easily.

"I think being outside is going to pull a lot of people to the center," Wendy said.

George Nickolaou knows the power of the outdoors. His furniture restoration shop used to be outside. But now he's inside.

"Here we're just kind of hidden," he said.

He says the property owners, leased his original spot to someone else.

"It actually cost us sales and it physically cost us money to move in-doors," Nickolaou said.

A temporary lease is keeping him here until the holidays. Then, he's gone.

"From what I understand as well, there is a plan to actually build some new shops and smaller spaces will come on board.  But I think that's really like phase two," he said.

GNC is the first in-door store to go out-doors.  Old Navy will sit near the Barksdale Theatre. Some new stores are coming, but Wendy is most thrilled for her new shop that re-locates this weekend.

"It's going to be twice the space, twice as beautiful and twice the jewelry," she said.

We reached out to Federal Realty, the property owner, for more information about the timeline -- but didn't get a call back.

When the Shops at Willow Lawn opened up about 50 years ago -- it was an out-door mall. Over time part of it became enclosed.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.