Wal-Mart to anchor store in new E. Henrico mall - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Wal-Mart to anchor store in new E. Henrico mall

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

A Super Wal-Mart is headed to East Henrico, bringing hundreds of new jobs. It's part of an over-haul of the current Fairfield Commons Mall. The announcement came Friday. The old mall will be demolished this Fall to make room for a brand new, open-air shopping center. County leaders are excited about the plan, but some current businesses have some serious concerns.

The current owner of Fairfield Commons says he's also excited a developer is purchasing the mall from him, though some of his current vendors have questions. At the top of their list - will they be pushed out?

Even owners will tell you, Fairfield Commons just isn't what it used to be. Right now, the mall operates with only half of the businesses it's able to accommodate.

"I don't like to use this adjective but for me it's unattractive," said shopper Preston Jordan.

Many shoppers who frequent the mall are excited to learn of new plans to re-build it and bring in a Wal-Mart Super Center. The retail giant is expected to bring 300 jobs. Friday, developers announced plans to also improve landscaping and sidewalks and re-pave the parking lot, while making room for brand new tenants.

"We want to use this same use but just revitalize it," said developer Josh Rector.

"I think it's great news for Richmond and it's overdue," Jordan added.

But the news has some current shop owners asking questions.

"Are they just going to end your lease and tell you goodbye?" asked business owner Preston Brown.
 
He owns Famous Brown's restaurant at the mall and he's worried. Will he be able to afford rent at the new and improved site? Then, there's the news developers will demolish the entire mall in order to re-build.

"Do you want to stay here? Can you go somewhere else until we rebuild the place and come back? None of that has been discussed," Brown said.

Developers say they plan to contact each current shop owner soon, but they say there's no set date on when the businesses will have to close.

"If you knew you had to move in 6 months, that gives you 6 months to look around," Brown added.

While there are many questions left to be answered, county leaders insist the change is needed for growth and revitalization.

"What we're talking about is turning things around and all the citizens of this area are deserving of that," said Frank Thornton with the Board of Supervisors.

Construction is set to begin this Fall with the brand new mall opening come Fall of 2015.

Before it was re-named Fairfield Commons, the mall was known as the Eastgate Towne Center - and that will be the name of the mall underway.

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