Springfield Mall Update
Update, January 2009
When I was growing up in Lee District, Springfield Mall was a vibrant and modern retail center with stores like Garfinkels and W. Bell Company. Times changed; other malls were developed and redeveloped, yet Springfield Mall’s 80 acres of stores and restaurants remained fixed in time with an absentee owner who saw no reason to invest in his property. The results were all too obvious—B-list retailers, questionable security, and customers who preferred to shop at Tysons, Pentagon City, and anywhere that wasn’t Springfield Mall. A few years ago Vornado Realty Trust, one of the country’s largest owners of retail and office property purchased the mall, intending to transform it into a mixed-use development with retail, office, hotel, and residential.
Vornado’s plans encompass a multi-phase renovation over a period of years. Some of the changes are already evident as the Mall prepares for its interior renovation. The leases of some tenants have not been renewed and other tenants are being moved within the Mall to accommodate the upcoming construction. Security has been significantly improved with the police and Mall security working closely together.
While construction on the first phase of redevelopment (primarily interior upgrades to the existing mall) is expected to begin in spring 2009, the second phase that requires a plan amendment and rezoning was approved by the citizen-led Lee District Land Use Committee and the Fairfax County Planning Commission. The rezoning case is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors on February 23.
This second phase would be a pedestrian-oriented town center with retail, office, hotel, and residential. Plans include pocket parks scattered throughout the development, as well as significant environmental upgrades and pedestrian plazas.
Transportation is an important issue and Fairfax County and VDOT are working closely with the Mall developers to ensure that both pedestrians and vehicles will be able to get around. Transportation improvements will include a street grid within the property, and an on-road bike lane for the perimeter roads and trails, as well as improved pedestrian connections between the town center and the Franconia/Springfield Metro and enhanced bus service.
You can find more information about the Mall’s plans at the Springfield Town Center site. I am very excited about the future of the mall and its potential to once again be a positive community focal point.
Also in the January 2009 Issue of Supervisor McKay’s Electronic Newsletter