Kroger groundbreaking at former Cloverleaf Mall site

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Demolition is now underway at the old Cloverleaf Mall on Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield.

Tuesday morning Kroger broke ground at the site, making way for retail, office and eventually,  residential space.

After standing for nearly 40 years, a bulldozer tore down a portion of the building.

It's the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

"Although the process started 5 years ago, the future begins today," said James Downs with Crosland Southeast, a partner in the project.

The start of the demolition is phase one in transforming Cloverleaf into Stonebridge.

"The first phase is we'll demolish the mall property and redevelop it, put in all new infrastructure," said Tom Jacobson, Revitalization Director with Chesterfield.

Kroger will build a 123,000 square foot grocery store on the 28 acre site.

The business will be looking to fill 250 positions.

"It's cashiers, checkers, folks to run the meat and deli departments. We'll have a lot of stocking jobs," said Carl York with Kroger Mid-Atlantic.

During the groundbreaking there was some reminiscing.

"Do you remember the first time you shopped at this mall," asked Arthur Warren, Chairman of Chesterfield Board of Supervisors.

Others at the ceremony focused on the future.

"There will be new roads, sidewalks, landscaping, all underground utilities on the site," said Jacobson.

There will also be multi-family housing and retail development.

It's a vision Ricky Smith is excited to see become a reality. He owns a business in the neighborhood and is hopeful the redevelopment project will attract more shoppers to this side of town.

"I think it's going to be a great thing, especially for my business. I think it'll be a good flow of traffic back in this area," said Smith.

He recalls losing business when Cloverleaf closed in 2004.

"Toward the end it was quiet, not a lot of traffic in it, and then things went to a halt," Smith added.

The County says it's breathing new life back into that section of town.

"Our fear was it was going to become a blighted section of the county, and we didn't want that," said Jacobson.

Kroger is expected to open by November 2012.

As far as the other development on the property, construction is scheduled to begin in 3 years.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.