HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Get ready for some changes to your shopping experience at Willow Lawn. As soon as the building permits are signed, the redevelopment of the center will begin. The plan is to make the center a more outdoor style center, like Short Pump Town Center.
Leaders here in the Richmond and Henrico area are hoping that will help bring in new businesses and new people to the center.
The outside is vibrant. Just like Willow Lawn regular Tom McGrath. "Look around, the businesses are coming here."
But you ask him to talk about the inside portion of Willow Lawn, and well, that's a different story. "It's pretty dead. There's a lot of vacancies in there. Tear it down. Do something different."
That's exactly the plan, and all that's needed are the building permits from Henrico County.
This is what you'll see soon. The inside of the mall torn apart, new parking spaces, new green space and upgraded office space.
"The more stores we can have and the more people we can have coming here is great," adds John.
That's exactly the sentiment Richmond Commercial Real Estate guru John Jay Schwartz says.
He says a change could bring back old businesses and bring in new ones.
"There's an opportunity to renovate them, bring them back in with a new style," says Schwartz. "They got to eat, they go to do their banking, they got to get their hair done, nails done. They got to buy office supplies so that's what this is all about."
It sounds good, but as Tom puts it -- it all comes down to two big words: "We'll see!"
In the coming months, you'll start to notice a lot of construction out here and by the middle of next year, you can expect to se a newly redesigned outdoor style, Willow Lawn Shopping Center.
Henrico County leaders tell me they are expecting the building permits to be ready to go soon. Right now, crews are just working out some last minute details.