Springfield Mall; Springfield, Virginia

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

Part of the purpose of Labelscar is to unearth and share retail oddities that we find in our travels. I’d think that the dice-like cubes that sit atop the mall entrances at the Springfield Mall qualify, wouldn’t you?

The Springfield Mall is a 1.4 million square foot enclosed shopping mall with over 230 stores in the southern suburbs of Washington, DC, near the junction of the Capital Beltway and I-95. Apart from its size, its most notable feature seems to be that it is several years past due for a renovation. This is the kind of stuff we live for.

When we (and, in this case, I don’t mean the royal “we,” because I was with my oft-sidekick, who took many of the exterior photos here and who generally dislikes being referred to as a “sidekick”) visited the Springfield Mall, I was expecting to find something a bit different. Given that the nearby Landmark Mall in Alexandria has emptied out dramatically and is slated to be demolished, I assumed that the larger Springfield Mall was the culprit. Apparently not, because Springfield Mall is pretty blandly mid-tier in its tenanting, and despite its elephantine size doesn’t seem to be dominating much of anything. It’s far from a dead mall, but it’s not the kind of regional powerhouse I thought I’d find either.

Springfield Mall sign in Springfield, Virginia
What made Springfield Mall cool–at least for me–was the notoriously dated decor. The pictures speak for themselves on this, but the cube-y entranceways and distinctly 1980s ceilings, along with the “9” shaped floorplan, certainly made this mall stand out.

This post is more of a photo essay because I honestly don’t know much about the history of the Springfield Mall, other than that it has something of a (minor) reputation for crime, due in part to a pair of gang-related stabbings in 2005. I certainly didn’t feel unsafe in the very archetypal suburban environment of Springfield, however, and the mall was pretty sparsely attended when we swung by early in the day. In addition, I discovered that Vornado purchased the mall recently and is devising a plan to replace the mall with an outward-facing, town-center-styled transit-oriented development. I question the feasibility of this to some extent because of the Springfield Mall’s extremely suburban location, but I’ll let the developers do the developing. For now, I’ll rest on my laurels and let you, dear readers, use the comment feature to fill us in on the history/past anchor stores/etc. of the Springfield Mall. The current anchors include Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, Sports Authority, and AMC Theatres.

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia Springfield Mall in Springfield, Virginia

163 Responses to “Springfield Mall; Springfield, Virginia”

  1. The best feature about this mall to me was the VDOT Connector Store which was put there to answer questions about the Springfield Interchange near there. It was on the lower level, near Target, and (strangely) had travel information for every state, as well as the official state road map of nearly every state in the nation for people to just have. It was really cool, but in May of 2006 it moved to the adjacent Metro station.

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  2. I haven’t been to this mall since 1983 or so. It was a very busy mall for a long time, I suspect the Pentagon Mall may have contributed to a downswing of this mall and at the Landmark mall.
    I remember people telling me crazy rumors about the Springfield mall back in the mid 80s. One was that the Mob controlled it and there was a maze in the basement where “They” took care of business. Another Rumor I recall was that it was run by Drug Lords, but I don’t recall the details. Funny stuff!

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    Darrin Reply:

    @Eric,

    I do remember the two pizza places were fronts for cocaine distribution.

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  3. The picture between 12 and 13 doesn’t work.

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  4. I used to go to Springfield Mall infrequently when I lived in the DC area. I mostly avoided it because the local traffic was always a mess and the parking lot was pretty competitive. When I first visited, I remember seeing an abandoned Korvettes store in the mall. On the upper level near JCPenney was a Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant and a Hot Sam pretzel shop. Downstairs by JCPenney was an Orange Bowl snack bar restaurant. Relatives of a friend of mine used to own the Orange Bowls at Springfield Mall and Seven Corners Center in Falls Church. Eventually, they sold them. The Springfield Mall Orange Bowl remained in operation under the name Pizza Xpress. It was offering the same recipe Orange Bowl pizza at the time of my last visit, about ten years ago. I see that Pizza Xpress is still listed on the current mall directory. I wonder if they still offer the genuine Orange Bowl pizza. If so, it may be the only place in the country that still does. Springfield Mall’s biggest claim to fame, perhaps, was the 1985 visit to the mall by Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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  5. I remember hearing about the Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit, and I was going to mention it. The funny and sad part is that the mall is exactly like it was when they visited, except for the replacement of the old Korvette’s with Macy’s, Garfinklel’s with Sports Authority, and Montgomery Ward with Target.

    This is not one of my favorite malls, mostly because whern I head to Washington, frankly I’m looking for better shopping, but I do enjoy going every once in a while becaue it’s very interesting interior architecture and they have some really odd stores that you don’t find everywhere.

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  6. Princess Diana and Prince Charles I believe visited Fair Oaks in Fairfax, not Springfield Mall, but don’t quote me on that. I know they were at a JCPenney, and both malls have one.

    A lot of the problems at Springfield can be associated with the fact there’s no market for it. The mid-market dollar has flocked to Potomac Mills, about 12 miles to the south in Woodbridge, and the upscale dollar has flocked to either Tysons Corner, about 12 miles to the west, or up the road about another 12 miles to the Fashion Center at Pentagon City.

    Landmark was really just in a bad location, and designed poorly from a mall standpoint. Landmark wasn’t malled until the 1980’s (originally an open-air center). Northern Virginia is very driveable, so that’s why while the population can support many malls, it really doesn’t.

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    Kembek Reply:

    @Daniel, It was Springfield Mall. I was there.

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  7. I looked it up. According to the BBC, it was definately JCPenney at Springfield Mall, which was running its “Best of Britain” promotion at the time.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/low/dates/stories/november/9/newsid_4396000/4396846.stm

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  8. It was definitely Springfield Mall. In 1985, I lived right near to Fair Oaks Mall and was well aware that the visit of Charles and Diana was to Springfield Mall, not Fair Oaks.

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  9. It’s funny seeing old Springfield Mall on a blog. My family moved into a house across the street from the mall in 1977. It had a cool indoor fountain, 2 video arcades, one with bumper cars, as well as the Farrells Ice cream that someone else noted. I used to work in the Montgomery Wards in the 1980’s and Macys in the early 90’s. It’s definately fallen on hard times. There’s a whole shopping mecca that has sprouted up a few miles away in an area called Kingstown/Manchester Lakes. They have the usual things, WalMart, Toy’s R Us, World Market, and the endless list of womens clothing stores….. It’s funny that you mention the large cubes above the entrances. There used to be several more before renovations in the 1980’s took away alot of the outside character of the mall. Oh yeah, I was there for the Princess Diana, Prince Charles visit. My mom is english, so we had to be RIGHT UP FRONT. Yes, it was at JC Penneys. Parents still live across the street. I’m in Maryland now.

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  10. Awesome shots of Springfield Mall!! I really like how the entrances are numbered on cube-like shapes in big font, that’s definately a feature that’s original and unique to this mall(unlike the bland fonts I’ve seen mall entrances numbered in in other malls nationwide). Does anyone know if Vornado has made any timetable to redevelop this mall yet? I personally hope they don’t(or do so in a way that preserves most of the existing design, though I’m not holding my breath that the latter will happen), since I like the unique design of this mall, and since it seems to have a decent mix of stores. Not to mention that the British royalty visiting here in the ’80s doesn’t hurt this mall either… :)

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  11. IIRC, the original anchors were Wards, Korvette’s, Garfinckel’s and JCPenney. Therefore, with the exception of Garfinckel’s, it had neither a major local retailer (e.g., Hecht’s, Woodward & Lothrop) nor a mid-range or upscale department store. (Macy’s came later.) Since both Woodies and Hecht’s (as well as Sears) were just a couple exits up Shirley Highway, I’m sure they saw no reason to have another store so nearby.

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  12. There was a pizza place there named “Pizza Delight”, and I heard that back in the early 80’s, it was involved in a major drug bust and that the owners had ties with the mob.

    Springfield Mall was definately the coolest mall in the area back in the 80’s with the 2 arcades. They used to have great restaurants, like York Steakouse, HotShoppes Cafeteria, and Orange Bowl Pizza. Those places seemed to die out when the food court came in.

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  13. I don’t live in NOVA anymore but I did go to Springfield mall in June when I was visiting my dad. It does seem to have less and less people each year and they seem to be losing stores. (Linen’s and Things was closing in July) It’s not a horrible mall but honestly there are so many malls and so many upscale shopping centers in that area there’s not enough people to keep it busy.

    The worst part of Springfield mall in my opinion is the horrible movie theater. For one thing it’s divided across two parts of the mall which is a real pain in the ass. Also they don’t even bother cleaning it anymore so it smells like cheese and BO and the floors are sticky. The equipment is outdated and it lacks stadium seating. With both Hoffman and now Kingstowne NOBODY goes to the Springfield Mall theater.

    Hopefully in the future when I visit it will have been redeveloped into something useful. I will be nostalgic since I lived in Virginia and went to this mall for 10 years but it’s time for change. Does anyone else remember the video for the presidential fitness program they showed to us in school? Part of it was filmed at Springfield Mall in the late 80s/early 90s. You could tell because the kids were eating in the food court before the annoying playpen was installed and still had that retro food court sign.

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  14. I grew up in Northern VA, graduating high school in 1975. Springfield Mall was the alternative to Tyson’s Corner and 7 Corners at that time. What made it attractive was easy access (does anyplace like that exist anywhere in this area now?) and some great shops that couldn’t be found anywere else in town. Farrell’s has already been discussed but for those of you who never got the chance to experience it, it was really something out of the past. I also remember a tiny store called Needle In A Haystack that specialized in needle for record players. (I realize an entire generation has no idea what that is!) And Up Against The Wall, a jeans store that I believe was local to the DC area.

    I spent many Friday and Saturday nights in that mall with my girlfriend, going to Farrells, cruising the mall area, going to the arcades.

    Thanks for bringing back some memories.

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  15. Springfield made the news tonight, the hard way. Someone was stabbed in one of the stores. Apparently security was really slow to get there. Not the best news for the place. Hopefully they’ll get a new owner who cares about the place once the roads are done over there.

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  16. Those cube things really crack me up. It looks like a four year old child prodigy from the 70’s was assigned the task of using his building blocks to label mall entrances.

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  17. Your writer up brought back great memories of Springfield Mall. Like many of the other folks, I shopped there from 78 to 80. It was very 70s at that time and very active as in the 70s kids considered hanging out at the mall a major social activity. My main memory, seeing “Animal House” at the multiplex. Is ‘Briches of George Town’ still in business or still there?

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  18. The Springfield Mall is mostly immigrants from third world countries. I see very few white people at the mall. Is this bad, no, but I wonder where they will shop when they turn the Mall into an expensive place to shop, like Tysons.

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  19. I remember ditching school a couple of times with friends and going to Springfield Mall to watch a couple of movies (“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”). After graduation, the mall was THE place to go with friends for fun, food and good times. I was a frequent customer at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant! They had smoe of the best sandwiches of the time… and the ice cream treats were great, too! I really miss them.

    I left the area in 1993, but by that time, I really didn’t get to the mall all that much. In 1996, I returned to the area for a brief visit. I stopped by Springfield Mall because I needed shoes (or some such nonsense). To my surprise, so much had changed! I had a difficult time navigating the once familiar mall and nothing seemed to be where it was supposed to be. Peoples Drug was now CVS… and the spiral staircase in front of what was once Montgomery Ward was gone! I was hit with the profound sense that life in Springfield had gone on without me.

    Funny, the things you think of as being “forever” really aren’t. Thanks for the look back into the past… and a peek into the present… and future… of Springfield Mall.

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  20. I live in the area but go to Springfield Mall only very, very rarely. For those of you who remember it from the 80s, it definitely has deteriorated, and now, while not deserted, its customer base seems to be a lot of thugs and gang members, which doesn’t make the rest of the potential customer base feel like going there. Kingstowne, which is more of a strip mall/town center is the nearby place to go for mall-type stores and Fair Oaks and Tysons are not far, more upscale and less scary types roaming around.

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  21. I still hang out at the mall. None of the gang members and thugs scare me away. I was too young to hang out there in the 80’s, but I did in the late 90’s and still do till this very day. I still wear black MEGADETH, KISS, SLAYER, IRON MAIDEN, VIXEN, JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, DIO, MOTLEY CRUE t shirts to the mall now in 2007 just like everyone else did over there back in the day. Standing outside the mall with my back to the wall smoking a fat one talking about metal on my cell phone with my friend. Good times. Brett Michaels has a new television show on VH-1.
    Rest assured there are still kids over at Springfield mall talking trash about Bret Michaels and POISON. The only thing that has changed is the decade.

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    Kim C Reply:

    @Fairfax County Master of Metal,

    I just found this discussion and its 2010, but you sound exactly like me & my friends in the early 90’s hanging out there. I used to wear a metal Tshirt, with a flannel over it, then a leather jacket, and a black mini skirt, lol,

    Remember that store that sold all the metal tshirts? It was a really weird store with all this Asian stuff, then all these tshirts, I LOVED it!!! :)

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    Chris C Reply:

    @Kim C,

    That was HONG KONG – lol it was a great store that sold everything cool. All kinds of martial arts weapons , incense , t-shirts and posters. God I miss the 80’s

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  22. springfield mall is so ghetto. i never shop there anymore.

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  23. Not ghetto at all. Just because lots of latino wannabe thug types happen to congregate there does not mean it is ghetto.

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  24. It’s ghetto and it has been for years.

    I grew up in the 80s and my parents would not let me go there(my friends’ parents wouldn’t either), so it had a reputation even 20 years ago.

    When it comes to my favorite store that was ever there, I have two words:

    Hong Kong

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    Kim C Reply:

    @Peyton,

    Holy crap! Hong Kong!!! Thats what it was called!!! Loved that store.

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  25. Hilarious exchange that gets to the delicate sensitivities of suburbanites and why malls die. I live in the middle of DC near what was, until recently, by all accounts (and races) “the ghetto”, as opposed to what you have in the suburbs (and yes, I’ve been to Springfield recently). The funny thing is that places like Pentagon City and Georgetown also draw wannabes–not tons but enough to bug some people, but those places have survived. Geoegwtown has even had some fairly grizzly crimes over the past 15-20 years. Wheaton Plaza has a “reputation” but still draws sizable crowds, although the white folks tend to segregate in the anchors esp. as they day wears on. The similar crowd at Silver Spring’s dead from the start City Place somehow didn’t discourage the development of new big box retail nearby, which is doing very well. And it hasn’t discouraged redevelopment of an actual ‘hood in Columbia Heights. Bottom line–there are some people who are able to deal with the real world (including shopping center developers), but the ones who can’t seem to do this have fewer places that they want to shop and, beyond oversupply of [places selling the same stuff, killing off some (but not all) malls.

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  26. I’d like to ask one of the people who live in the DC area a question: Did the former Landover(sp?) Mall in Prince George’s County, MD, have some sort of ‘negative reputation’ problem, the way certain malls, such as Wheaton Plaza, Springfield Mall, etc. have in that area?

    And on the Virginia side of the DC metro area, is Springfield Mall, or Landmark Mall, in worser shape, in terms of how many stores they’ve been able to hold onto?

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  27. Landover Mall found itself a “victim” of being located in Prince Georges County. That’s just to say that retailers didn’t feel that the makeup of the county deserved quality establishments. In its heyday Landover Mall, like Springfield Mall, was home to a branch of the upper-end DC store, Garfinckels. You could go eat at Hot Shoppes. It had great visibility from the beltway. But as Woodward & Lothrop began to go off the deep end it took its Landover store with it. Even in the early 90s Hecht’s treated their Landover store as a clearance center. I remember even in 1992 it was the only Hecht branch to not carry Clinique. But, like Hecht’s at Cloverleaf Mall in Richmond, it was a great place to find a bargain. But all things came to an end.
    As far as Landmark and Springfield? Landmark is definitely more dead. The new generation Macy’s (Hecht’s) is just… Macy’s, not a top level store. Lord & Taylor is just kind of lost. Springfield is more active but quite trashy. When Macy’s had a reputation to speak of it located one of its “legacy” stores there. At first it was decent but then quickly downgraded. The mall itself is easy to get lost in and any renovations made to the mall do not get an “A” for cosmetic reasons. In their heyday, I’d go to Landmark. But if I could turn back the clock, I’ll vote Seven Corners.

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  28. Ten years ago, I rarely drove my 11-year-old car anywhere, taking mass transit almost everywhere I needed to go. Despite living at the opposite end of the Metro system (Silver Spring), if I wanted or needed to go to a mall, I usually chose Springfield. Pentagon City was too frou-frou, everything else was too small or too rundown or in too iffy a neighborhood, and as a native New Jerseyan, I would accept nothing less than the quintessential big suburban mall. Springfield was like a childhood flashback preserved for posterity, and the numbered entrances made it even more wonderfully retro. So did the presence of local retailers that hadn’t yet been done in by the chains. Still remember the coffee place that had an entryway designed to look like a cave. The last time I went to the mall, it was gone, and that made me sad.

    I wish I could say that I’m surprised to hear the mall’s not doing as well as it used to, but I’m not, and there are many reasons why. The Mixing Bowl is STILL under construction, and the exit for the mall was poorly labeled and ponderous even before that was the case. The immediate area isn’t what it used to be. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s declining, but there are newer neighborhoods and bigger houses to be found elsewhere, and some of the lustre has worn off. Other nearby areas are in decline and have developed a reputation for violent crime as MS-13 and other Salvadoran gangs have set up shop in the apartment complexes along 395 and 95. Springfield Mall can no longer count middle- to upper-middle-class shoppers from Prince George’s County as its captive audience, as retailers have FINALLY figured out that putting stores in the wealthiest majority-black county in the nation might be a good idea. However, much of this growth has bypassed the parts of the county nearest the mall, which remain testaments to urban blight. While Springfield was always just far enough from other Leviathans like Tysons Corner and Fair Oaks that it always held its own, all these factors, on top of Tysons’ substantial addition/repurposing of the old JC Penney space, have eroded its drawing power.

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  29. MS-13 is a British gang. All the original MS members from Salvador practically worshipped PRIEST, MAIDEN, SABBATH followed by SLAYER, MEGADETH, CRUE, DIO, METALLICA, AC/DC etc…

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  30. THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE DC/ BALTIMORE AREA HAS AS MANY MALLS AS METRO NEW YORK BUT 40 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION. THAT RESOLTS IN MANY MALLS IN LIMPING MODE. SOME CAN BE BIG BOXED BUT OTHERS ARE DOOMED TO DIE A PAINFUL DEATH LIKE SPRINGFIELD OR LANDMARK.
    READ THE AUGUST ISSUE OF “SHOPPING CENTER TODAY” @WWW.ICSC.ORG.
    “THE NOT SO BIG BOX” A MUST READ.
    AS FOR ME I WOULD SHOP AT TYSONS COURNER/GALLERIA OR IN ARLINGTON DO TO IT BEING EASYER TO GET TO BY METRO THAN MOST OTHER MALLS IN THE AREA EXEPT WEATON PLAZA.

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  31. Wow, Mr. Metal, I never knew that LA was in England. Who knew that one too many headbanger shows at Jaxx could bring such divine revelation?

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  32. Also, right on, Sean. I would go so far as to say there are probably MORE malls in DC and Baltimore than there are in the NY metro area, although I can’t be arsed to do the math.

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  33. DC & Baltimore have different issues with their malls. The Baltimore area, which is not growing, had to absorb 4 new malls in the late 80s: Marley Station, Owings Mills, Hunt Valley, & White Marsh. These all had entrenched competition, some of it rather old or in in some decline. Hunt Valley was done in by a resurgent Towson Plaza, Owings Mills all but killed off Reisterstown Road (now coming back with big boxes), White Marsh did in Golden Ring and Hunt Valley did in several smaller Glen Burnie complexes. Now Owings Mills is being hurt by development at Columbia’s mall. In the DC area, there is growth, but high land costs. The newest malls, Reston Town Center & Bowie Town Center are not super jumbos and Reston is in a growing area. Bowie absorbed some of what was left at Landover but in a more solidly middle class community. The next newest mall, Pentagon City is almost 20 years old and St. Charles is probably about the same age.

    Most of the DC area malls are in good shape: Tysons Corner, Montgomery, Lake Forest & Pentagon City in particular. Time will tell how Wheaton & PG Plaza will do following renovations, but at least they draw traffic now and have major tenants. White Flint has never really regained its place, but it’s largely full and seems to do okay. The places that are doing badly are ones where you have relatively small malls and, in some cases, economic decline and these are places that have been doing badly for a long time: Landover (now dead), Landmark, Springfield, Marlow Heights/Iverson and various South PG County complexes; most of these places are largely headed for redevelopment or have had significant retenanting with different kinds of stores. In addition to the regular malls, here are signs of life in downtown Silver Spring everywhere but the mall (which failed from the start) and the Friendship heights are is doing well, except for the anchorless mall complex with the Hyatt.

    Compare DC with the similar sized Atlanta area, which is filled with dying malls, yet developers keep building more of them. Cheap land prices and corrupt local politicians mean more new and dead malls. When I lived in Atlanta, the two nearest malls to my home were in bad shape (North DeKalb & South DeKalb), while one mall relatively close to my office was doing well (Lenox Square, the uper regional), and another had many problems and lots of turnover (Northlake), despite renovation.Lonox’s junior partner, Phipps plaza, has had ups & downs and seems poorly focused, yet it remains pretty full.

    The New York area has density, high land costs and zoning hassles to limit new construction and have prevented overmalling, or construction of new malls that just cannibalize old ones (as in the case of Baltimore). It really can’t be compared with other cities. Ironically, LA, which lacks the densisty, also seems to have impediments to mall construction and, not surprisingly, it doesn’t have a lot of dead or dying malls.

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  34. The LA example is not a good one because most of the malls are in the OC HA HA or in Burbank & other places were densenty figures are very high. Example south coast plaza, fashon island or beverly center. LA has growth all over the metro area, on the other hand growth in dc is consontrated in poticular areas aspecialy were the metro runs & evven that is spotty at best.
    CHEW ON THESE NUMBERS
    NEW YORK 23 countys ny nj ct 20,000,000 people
    LA 6 countys & 17,000,000people
    DC 9 countys 7,800,000 people in cluding Baltimore.
    They maybe aprox numbers but they don’t lie. DC is over maled dispite the population.

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  35. Oh i forgot about kingstown town center, could that be what is killing sprimgfield & landmark?

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  36. LA has growth, but not mall growth. It’s one thing to turn orange groves into subdivisions, but something else to build malls. Orange County could hardly be called dense and densities in the San Fernando or San Gabriel valleys or the Inland Empire would be similar to other metropolitan areas. Unlike other growing areas like Atlanta, they just haven’t built many new malls and many existing malls like Montclair Plaza (which must date back to the 50s) are well located to growing areas. there also has been little in the construction of predatory malls, unlike, Baltimore (or more recently, Columbus, Ohio) The malls that are in trouble in LA tend to be small malls with lots of competition like Beverly Center or weak locations like Fox Hills, which is awkwardly located and those tend to be in areas you’d probably call dense. Basically, they’re the kinds of malls that have trouble surviving anywhere. DC is not that badly overmalled–the one troubled regional (Landover) is completely dead and many of the other troubled properties like Landmark or Capital Plaza or the south PG county malls have been or will be made into something else

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  37. Sorry rich i was trying to compare population to the number of malls in a given metro area. I don’t know how many malls are the DC area but with nearly the same number of malls as NY & 40% of the population how of them can turn a proffit and stay open?

    We forgot about laurel mall another mall on the downslide.

    As for columbus 5 malls opened in the past few years. The only onethat has any wortyness is Easton town center. A mall that has everthing for everone. A good casestody for malls in the 21st century. Food fun entertainment offices & housing that is the future.

    So as it stands springfield & landmark are old news, time for the recking ball.

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  38. As far as ATL goes like many sunbelt cities sprawl contributes to the population shifts. When that happens many malls can not adapt & that is why they die. Sorry rich another bad example. Look at livonia mi on this site, it will be clear about what sprawl can do to a mall if they don’t adapt.

    Dayglo! you & i are on the same page.

    I say it again-there are to many malls in the DC/Baltimore area based on the population. Give me a compelling reason why this is not the case.

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  39. As far as ATL goes like many sunbelt cities sprawl contributes to the population shifts. When that happens many malls can not adapt & that is why they die. Sorry rich another bad example. Look at livonia mi on this site, it will be clear about what sprawl can do to a mall if they don’t adapt.

    Dayglo! you & i are on the same page.

    If vornado owns springfield…OY VEY! there’s one reason the mall is in decline. Have you seen green accers & kings plaza. Enough said.

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  40. Springfield Mall seems to be dying the same slow death as Landmark Mall up the road – though it seems to be hanging on better. When I moved to D.C. in 96 it was one of the best malls in the area. I even preferred going there over Pentagon City Mall. But times have changed…

    Though it hasn’t gotten any new good stores, it hasn’t lost as many core stores as Landmark. Plus, the movie theater (even though it’s not very good) draws in more traffic. But I have noticed the mall is slowly losing good stores and they are not being replaced by other good ones. Springfield Mall used to have an Ethan Allen, Men’s Warehouse, A&W, Kemp Mill Music, and Linens and Things (plus a bunch of other good stores). But they are gone, weren’t replaced by anything equal, and the mall continues to be a less desirable place to go. It still has a very robust food court. The only real bright spot for the mall was the addition of a Target back in 2001.

    As was the case with Landmark Mall, other new shopping centers have lured away the customer base. Kingstowne Center is a much nicer place to shop and has a better selection. Same with Potomac Yard. These new shopping centers coupled with Springfield’s declining selection of good stores has turned people away. I don’t think the crime/gangs was a problem. They were more just a bunch of wannabes walking around the mall – none of them were menacing. Pentagon City has the same problem in the evenings with ghetto kids from D.C. and MD coming over there on the metro.

    It’s still a decent mall and still has some good stores, but it’s showing its age. If the theater was upgraded to stadium seating that would probably help draw in more customers.

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  41. Surprised that no one mentioned the big gaping hole where a short llived Linens & Things operated…

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  42. Rich-I see your point about LA, although I’m not so sure about Beverly Center. I think The Grove has hurt Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica more than BC. Of course Santa Monica’s problem hasn’t been helped by the fact that Santa Monica Place shopping mall is about 90% vacant pending a decision on how to redevelop it. It’s interesting too, that just recently a huge portion of Westside Pavillion’s retail space was carved out to make room for a new multiplex. Another only marginally related point: LA has miles and miles of street shopping. I live just south of Sunset Strip and can find everything I need within a couple of blocks Oh, and while I’m rambling incoherently, if you get the chance visit Fox Hills Mall. It’s seriously strange in the layout department.

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  43. 1) What was “Hong Kong”?
    2) It seems to be of a decent class type, it has a Forever 21.
    3) There’s a store called Fan Club. What’s that?
    4) Why are they going to tear this down? Why not just a good renovation?

    [Reply]

    Myles T. Reply:

    @Jonah Norason,

    1) “Hong Kong” was a store that specialized in phsychadelic merchandise like black-light posters, records, flower decorated vases, really ‘groovy’ stuff…that invited customers with a orange, shag carpet! 2) depends on how you look at it! 3) good question!:) 4) a good renovation was in order til this year when the current owner, Vornado realty defaulted on the $160 million loan along with the property value steady decreasing below required figures for area growth.

    The sad thing is very few people know how great Springfield mall used to be in the 80’s, the 90’s, and the early 00’s! Im aware that nothing in life is forever, but i never would have guessed that this mall would soon be a gravesite of nostalgia. When the times of high-top fades, neon baggy clothes and slouch socks were a NECCESSITY, I spent hours in Time out and Orange Julius every single week with my older brothers wishing that one day I too could get numbers,smoke out in front of Bennigans, and sneak into the movies! In 1991, I saw ‘People under the stairs’, ‘Hook’ and even ‘Toy Story’ in 95 . If i didnt know any better, I wouldnt think that a theatre was there in the first place. Everything was boarded up or just plain covered like nothing ever existed bringing the store count to a staggering 10 when i last visited in 2008!!!- Now 23- WTF?!? All of the remaining stores moved to the “safe” side of the mall while the main(and now the only)food court is stuck in 93- disgusting, yet sad. I always liked Tysons but Springfield mall was the place to be on the weekends- if you werent at the Chilis or Dairy Queen down the street!lol While Tysons has become even better…A golden and marble plated shopping heaven, my stomach churns to even entertain the thought that Springfield may very well deteriorate into what it was before 1972….a big, grassy valley of nothingness!

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  44. RR Ryan; Colver City were Fox Hills is located is just as strange as the mall is.

    Trust me i know from driving around trying to find MGM oh i mean Sony Studios.

    Wow what a timewarp.

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  45. Rich i look up when pentigon city opened. It was 1998 that makes it only 10 years old not 20.

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  46. The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City opened in 1989, as stated in the Wikipedia entry. I also know this because I was there in 1990, as well as the fact that this was the 2nd Nordstrom location in the DC Area (Tysons Corner being the 1st). Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is quite a nice mall, but Tysons Corner is better.

    With the successes of Dulles Town Center, Fair Oaks, Tysons Corner, Tysons Galleria and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to the North and the Potomac Mills/Woodbridge area to the south, the demise of Springfield Mall, Landmark Mall were inevitable.

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  47. I, too, remember being at Pentagon City in 1990 (when I move to DC the last time). You’re definitely right that the success of malls North & West of Landmark/Springfield and the Potomac Mills complex to the South have pretty much killed Landmark & Springfield, at least as traditional malls. Pentagon City has been very successful in drawing big boxes, along with areas S of Alexandria, so i think there may be some difficulties in redeveloping Landmark & Springfield. Losing one or both would not be the worst thing that could happen to Greater Washington and the land for either one could easily be turned into something else that would be an asset to the local tax bases.

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  48. I don’t understand something, i looked it up in the “U S GUIDE OF SHOPPING CENTERS OF INTEREST”. It said P C opened in 1998. Is that a typo?

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  49. Looks that way; it would be easy for someone to transpose the digits (98 instead of 89) and who knows how they edit the thing. Shoddy editing is pretty common even in academic publishing.

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  50. I found another error in the same book a few pages over in the Town center of VA Beach, “Regal Cinemas 1, 2″. It should have read Regal Cinemas 12. Does anybody proof read before going to press anymore?

    Thanks!

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  51. I agree with Ashliey, the mall is ghetto.

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  52. Springfield wasnt that bad when I was younger-I was in there last year (the first time in years i had been back there) this mall is just as bad as manassas mall. in a bad area-i think there was a stabbing there recently. parking lot very scary. JCPenney had holes in the wall and plastic sheeting everywhere. Very dark inside the mall-no good stores. Tysons and Fair Oaks are much better than this by far.

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  53. I love grind my skateboard on the waxed ledges in the parking garage by Macy’s. That’s the best thing about this mall. And yes, it’s ghetto. It looks like a remnant from the 80’s. A year ago, there was a big rain storm when I was in the mall, and the roof was leaking everywhere. The Target is about the only good store in this mall.

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  54. I believe the dirty-orange shag carpeting was finally replaced at Hong Kong or whatever the hell that place was (bottom floor) that sold velvet-paintings, black-light posters and samurai swords (probably would be a winner today with the burgeoning asian pop. in springfield). Farrells Ice Cream Parlor was definitely the place to have a b-day party in the 70’s; especially if one enjoyed being serenaded by acne-riddled teenages and a big, booming bass drum. I recall the Orange bowl being similar to Orange Julius but they also had good, greasy pizza and a poster with a mustachioed man sporting psychadelic swirls where his eyes should’ve been. And of course the excellent arcades where one could while away the hours and quarters playing defender or king and the balloons.

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  55. I used to go to the mall in the 80’s when I was a kid… Orange Bowl Pizza and Time Out 1&2 were awesome.. Hong Kong was a lot of fun and our family used to eat at the York Steakhouse often. I moved away from the DC area in the early 90’s right after some new sections were added – it never had the same feel after that… Anyone remember the mexican fast food restaurant next to Wards? That place sucked! As a kid in the 80’s this mall had everything we needed… Times have changed.

    [Reply]

    Liza Reply:

    @Pete,
    Was the Mexican place, Taco Bueno?

    [Reply]

  56. Wow – these pictures are blowing my mind. My brother & I pretty much lived in the Time Out arcades during the early 80’s – Haven’t been back since we moved in 84 – thanks for the memories.

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  57. I can not get over how many people who shop at the Springfield Mall are Hispanic. It seems like nearly everyone is speaking a foreign language and I spent almost an hour in this tired old mall before I saw a white person.

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  58. I was recently at Springfield Mall for the first time in years and was shocked at the near-death experience. Even just outside the entrance to Target, the only well-trafficked spot, there were no open stores. The mall appears to be about 50% occupied, with the majority of those stores selling cheap jewelry for the soldiers at Fort Belvoir to give their latest girls. The strip centers that surround the mall with big box stores are many times busier than the mall itself, pointing out an important trend: malls, of all shapes and sizes, are a dying breed. People no longer “shop” a number of different stores even when they are all conveniently located under one roof. They now shop for everything at one store — a big box store.

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  59. Yeah, I spent many hours at Springfield Mall in the 80s and then in the 90s after they redid it. It was really nice right after the rebuild — lots of light, place was full of stores and shoppers, stores were well staffed and in excellent shape.

    Now a trip back is depressing, to see how far it has fallen, and how fast. Few whites, few people at all and few of them speaking English, and now the theatres have closed down entirely.

    It is almost dead except for the Target and the salespeople in the empty JCPenney’s & Macy’s.

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  60. When I was a kid in Springfield, VA in the 50s and 60s, the current site of Springfield Mall was a sand and gravel pit. I watched the mall being built and went to high school across the street. At lot of us teenagers got jobs at the mall. I was there two years ago and barely recogniozed any of it; the sights, the sounds, the smells… all different.

    Tom

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    @Tom,

    I too remember when the land was all gravel and sand. Do you remember the tiny, dirt (airport)runway
    being there..? And also the original old time springfield hardware store when the Hilton is now located..?

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  61. This mall is owned by Vornado…mall map shows anchors in good shape and several national chains…but there seems to be a disproportionate number of vacant junior anchors. Explanation?

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  62. The mall was originally in good shape. But the surrounding demographics changed (from middle class to immigrant and heavy new Section 8 apartments), and the middle class shopper is now going elsewhere.

    So what you see now is slow motion decay — the big chains apparently are either locked in by their leases or hope that the mall direction might turn around. So they are still there but the stuff in-between/around is disappearing.

    As someone who liked the mall as it was, I kinda mourn the slow motion death. But my family has to shop somewhere it feels safe.

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  63. Let me start off by saying how much I love the lamentation for the lack of white folk at Springfield Mall. Commenters on this post must be REALLY old school, so sorry to scare you away.

    As a non-White person that grew up on Springfield Mall offerings in the 90s that are either completely gone or not the same as the originals (Time Out, Farrell’s, Hong Kong, Another Universe (comic book store), etc.), I’m quite happy that plans for another refurbishment are in place.

    In a few years the Feds are planning to drop a total of 12,000 additional employees across the street from Springfield Mall as a result of the planned BRAC location of workers away from Crystal City (Pentagton City Mall area). These new employees and attendant infrastructure are just an extension of the current Fort Belvoir proper. Vornado seems to be in a great position to leverage this guaranteed increase in daily consumer traffic for theirs and the community’s benefit, especially considering the 12,000 employees are considered middle-class professionals, regardless of their skin pigmentation.

    [Reply]

  64. Good to hear it, SC. If the Feds do indeed follow through, perhaps real shoppers (of whatever color) that speak English will begin to outnumber the criminals and wannabees.

    Until then, with an eye on reported crimes ar and around the mall and lack of interest in contributing to them, I am sure the rest of the middle class will continue to shop elsewhere.

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  65. I am a recent washingtn dc visitor in 8 th grade, first when I entered the mall I though it looked small, also not to mention the big number 2 block, once. Entered and walked around I kinds got lost. I thought it was a new mall but as from my point of view the floor was old and he cieling was just plain wierd. I would have to guess that the mall was about 40% occupied, reading the comments I was shocked to read that there were actually some good stores, like ethan ellen be others. But now there’s only the food court, target and other stores but they weren’t as big as the others. Also I couldnt help but notice that there were a lot of Mexican people (not to offend). It sort of gave me a wierd vibe….

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  66. I worked in the Mall from 1978 until 1985. What a wonderful place back then! Much of the business came from the south. I think when Potomac Mills was built, it really hurt the mall’s traffic count.

    Originally opened in 1973, the first stores to open were Montgomery Ward and Peoples drug store. Once the mall completely opened, it had four major entrances (with the big numbers on top, and four Anchors. The original anchors were Wards, Lansburgs, Garfinkles, and J.C. Penny. A large Raleighs was also present.

    In 1975, the mall was expanded with a new wing added at the Penny’s end, and a new entrance (#5 big block). In the new wing, was more theaters, a Holiday Spa, as well as a high end Audio Store (Audio Associates).

    1975 also saw the Demise of Lansburg’s Deartment store. This spot was taken by Korvettes.

    The Mall also sported a three level glass sided store area in the center of the mall with a circular staircase to get to each store.

    Korvettes went out of business at the end of 1980. The space was vacant for a VERY long time (years) while entangled in lawsuits. Once the lawsuits ended, the mall the made the space another wing with the food court. The only time this mall was remodled was in the mid to late 80’s.

    I went back to the Mall a few weeks ago, and hadn’t been there since the late 90’s. It is sad now, not because of the demographics, but because it is slowly dying. MANY vacancies, very few independent stores.

    Springfield Mall used to be a destination, a place to go. Now it is a place that happens to be where the Target or Sports Authority. It felt that the time of casual shopping at the mall is over, and replaced with purpose driven folks who get in and out.

    The government move may not happen. The company that owns the Mall is more interested in making a profit on the land than the mall itself. I firmly believe the next remodel will be one of demolition.

    R.I.P. old friend. Thanks for the memories.

    [Reply]

  67. M. Sean, I for one appreciate the sentiment and eulogy to a lost place that meant a lot than just a location with stores.

    On this, however, I have a somewhat different take: “It is sad now, not because of the demographics, but because it is slowly dying. MANY vacancies, very few independent stores.”

    The point is, not more than 10 years ago, the mall was still in good shape — we went pretty much every weekend. The changing demographics CAUSED the dying you remark on. I didn’t realize it until the kids in my daughter’s grade-school (and later middle school) started objecting to going because it was “so ghetto”, (Hint: my daughter is not white, and neither were many of her friends, as is the norm in NoVA.)

    The changed community around the mall meant that the people who always used to shop there – mostly white but our family too – were no longer the people you’d find most at the mall. Because they no longer felt it a welcoming place. The demographics changed, crime became a constant consideration, and THEN the stores began dying.

    Like you, I remember it fondly – Ferrell’s, Time Out, Wards, Software Etc., and lots more. R.I.P. indeed.

    [Reply]

  68. I got one for all of you. I remember when Frontier Drive was a dirt road. I watched them build Springfield Mall and was quite ticked off that they took away the woods I use to run around in (among other things). I had a couple of jobs in the Mall as well. Lots of good times too.

    [Reply]

  69. Wow, Sandy – you win!

    To remember what was there before, miss it being gone, see the rise and now fall of the mall — now there is perspective…

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  70. Brookstone is closed now too.

    And all the restaurants in the smaller foodcourt.

    I bet Macy’s and JCPenney’s are counting the days until their leases are up.

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  71. I am hoping the Vornado does something good with the property, rebuild the mall if need be…

    [Reply]

  72. I live only minutes away from Springfield Mall now, but have only visited a few times. When I first moved in the area four years ago the mall seemed pretty nice, but I had just moved from the Fort Campbell, KY area here Governor’s Square Mall and the Hopkinsville Mall were the only ones around. Compared to Opry Mills Springfield wasn’t too nice after all. I just took my daughter there last week and was surprised by how empty sections of the mall were. Most of the stores on the Macy’s side are closed. I noticed The Barbershop Company moved across the mall to the occupied section.

    [Reply]

  73. The entire area changed when the Franconia-Springrield Metro opened, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t business. I’d argue there is more business to be had there than when I used to go to the mall in the 80’s and it felt like the mall was plopped in the middle of miles of grass.

    Honestly, I know the demographics are a supposed issue here, but frankly, walk across the street and you have the real problem. The same problem that is going on with a lot of malls. Look at the thriving Best Buy, Home Depot, Borders, Old Navy and Staples, as well as the smaller surrounding stores. Not to mention the always busy Bertuccis and TGI Fridays. Or walk the other way to Circuit City and Barnes and Noble. I have a hard time finding a parking spot at either location during busy shopping hours. If demographics are the real issue why are places located right across the street doing great business? The fact is the big box stores that came along drove more and more business away from the mall. I know that is why I stopped going. When Target came along, what do you know, people dared to go the Target despite the fact it was part of the mall. That and the DMV location are the only times I really stop in now. It’s not because I’m afraid, it’s because the better stores are across the street. The rapid development of Kingstowne has driven even more business away. I’m sure that’s why the theater closed. Why go to the AMC with a brand new theater located 3 minutes away?

    What is shiny and new, has drawn business from what is old and tired. There is still plenty of business to be had in the area, but they are going to have to do something to make the mall (or whatever they choose to do with land) worth going to again.

    [Reply]

  74. Some truth to what you say, CH. However responding to these:

    Look at the thriving Best Buy, Home Depot, Borders, Old Navy and Staples, as well as the smaller surrounding stores. Not to mention the always busy Bertuccis and TGI Fridays. Or walk the other way to Circuit City and Barnes and Noble.

    Almost everytime I’ve been to TGI Friday recently it has had LOTS of open tables (except Friday nights). Might have something to do with the crime around there – I’ve seen the hostesses trying to chase after people fleeing without paying.

    Likewise, I was as Barnes and Noble the other day (granted, around 2 pm during a week day) – only 2 other people in the entire store!

    The Staples often seems quite, quite slow.

    Best Buy so far seems OK – we’ll see. Circuit City (the corporation) is about to go under, so we’ll see that spot open up soon.

    To me it looks far more likely the third-world nature of Springfield mall will continue infecting the surrounding stores rather than them acting to stablize the area (much longer).

    But time will tell.

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  75. Maybe a Wegmans will pop up in this new town center?

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  76. OOOH I HOPE A WEGMANS COMES!!!! SOMEONE CALL THEM!!! They will revitalize ANYTHING!

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  77. Wegmans? A grocery store? Let’s back up. Why is it that grocery stores are perfectly fine in lifestyle centers but taboo in malls?

    It’s common knowledge that at one time, grocery stores DID anchor malls…but with the dying malls today no longer to focus exclusively on fashion, why CAN’T we get a supermarket in our malls today? Many malls have fine Targets, which stock frozen foods and cereal, basically everything except produce.

    The reason I can think of is that despite that supermarkets pull in lots of people (especially weekend mornings) except that supermarkets are low-margin profits and grocery shoppers won’t enter the mall concourse and vice versa. Unfortunately, that conclusion was made many years ago and still holds true today…does it?

    What do you think?

    [Reply]

  78. Heh, Jonah, Wegmans is not just a grocery store.

    But still, I’d rather not have carts rolling through a mall.

    We all know what happened when Home Depot opened into a mall, haha.

    But anyway, I can see what you’re saying. But likely though, it would be people going to the mall first, then to the grocery store.

    Don’t want their frozen foods melting :P

    Also I’m laughing at the 2 Wegmans posters, ever since you guys got the new Potomac Town Center Wegmans, everywhere’s been clamoring for one.

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  79. Went to Springfield Mall yesterday for, I think, the first time this millennium.

    How depressing.

    Ten years ago, that mall was the sh!t. Now? Going, going…almost gone. Macy’s has decent merch, but is rundown and neglected-looking. Target’s there, but filled with an eerie quiet one NEVER sees at a Target on Saturday afternoon. Sports Authority? Same. The pictures say a lot about the rest. I barely recognized the mall for all the empty stores, and many of the open ones were either mom-and-pop “urban” stores or aimed towards a younger demographic (Journeys, Charlotte Russe, Hot Topic). Strangely enough, the Gap is still there.

    Run a search for Springfield Mall, and the term “ghetto” comes up. The mall is not ghetto, nor was it before. Fairfax County is filled, if not completely overrun, with overprivileged and overentitled members of the upper middle class and nouveau riche; it may very well have been the inspiration for this. It’s also not far removed from the “Old South” sentiments seen in surrounding counties, where the backlash against fairly sudden diversification has been extreme enough to merit national attention. These things in themselves probably wouldn’t be enough to kill the mall, and Potomac Mills didn’t kill it either. But add in the recent expansion of Tysons Corner Center and the nightmarish, decade-long construction at the nearby intersection of 95, 395, and 495 (otherwise known as the Mixing Bowl), and the death knell starts to toll.

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  80. Like Sandy who posted back in April, I grew up in Springfield and recall a dirt Frontier Drive and a two-lane Franconia Road. The mall’s location was previously a sand and gravel plant. My grandfather worked for the Va. Dept. of Highways and did the original surveys for Shirley Highway, precursor to I-95. (Hey Sandy: are you the same Sandy who went to Lee HS and had a sister named Debby?)

    Tom

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  81. “Run a search for Springfield Mall, and the term “ghetto” comes up. The mall is not ghetto, nor was it before.”

    Well, I agree that it was not before. However, I am not sure that the guy who was beaten and robbed at gunpoint after shopping there a couple of weeks ago would agree that it is not ghetto now.

    http://www.nbc4.com/news/17014443/detail.html

    And this is *far* from the only recent crime there and in the immediate vicinity. Google can help you catch up on many more

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  82. I wish Farrell’s & Orange Julius would come back!

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  83. This was just process yesterday by Fairfax County

    Building Permit Number 82540156
    Date Processed 09/10/2008
    Building Use SHOP
    Application Type DEMOLISH ENTIRE STRUCTURE
    Work Type DEMO C
    Job Description ENTIRE DEMO FOR AREA L (FIRST AND SECOND FLOOR) OF SPRINGFIELD MALL

    Location

    Job Location 6500 SPRINGFIELD ML
    Magisterial District LEE
    Parcel Identifiers 0902 13 0004A1
    Subdivision SPRINGFIELD MALL PCL 4A1

    Contractor and Owner

    Contractor OWNER IS CONTRACTOR
    .
    ., VA 00000-0000
    Owner VORNADO REALTY TRUST
    888 SEVENTH AVE
    NEW YORK NY 10019

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  84. Ouch!

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  85. What the heck? Demolish the entire structure? Why? I know it’s a distressed mall and all, but…Vornado, curse you to

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  86. Another week, another serious crime at Springfield Mall. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=319797&paper=72&cat=104

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  87. This mall seems like a crime magnet. It’s better off being demolished IMO.

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  88. GOD THIS MALL HAS BEEN SOOOOOO GHETTO SINCE THE STUPID SPANISH/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS STARTED WORKING THERE! IF THEY DIDN’T WORK THERE THEN THEY WOULDN’T HAVE ATTRACTED MORE OF THEIR GHETTO FRIENDS AND TRASHED THE MALL AND MADE IT BECOME ONE OF THE WORSE MALLS EVER! I REMEMBER WHEN THE MALL WAS NICE AND THERE WAS NO CRIME BUT NOW IT IS JUST GHETTO AND SHOULD BE DEMOLISHED!!!!!!

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  89. Wow, kinda cool seeing how many people are chiming in about a true landmark in my life history. My family moved to Springfield in 1978 from Kansas (where the nearest mall was about 10 miles away…a long bike ride for a kid) and loved the fact that the mall was just across the woods from our house. We lived in Springfield forest just across Frontier Drive from the mall. I even went to Forestdale Elementary my first year there…that’s the school you can see from the mall across Frontier.

    I was reminiscing about malls since I was watching Valley Girl today and wondered what was happening with my old favorite Springfield.Mall. I can tell you some interesting things about it…you used to be able to get into the drainage system under the mall from the large pipes that emptied out into the woods between our neighborhood and the mall. My brothers and I went on some adventures in there. The back hallways didn’t seem to connect to any “underground” system…my brothers and I ran around back in there too. The mall was unlocked over Christmas…we used to go over there with our remote control cars and whatnot that we received as gifts and ran them around on that old dark brick floor they had at the time.

    The remodelling was done in the late 80’s as a previous post said. Although, it was done in parts…there was an extension put on near the old Ward’s location with the movie theater at the end. A few years later, they continued with more to make a full loop around to another part of the mall. The only decor change in the old part of the mall interior was a new floor (over the aforementioned dark brick) and cutting open the ceiling at different points. Guess the old dark ceiling thing wasn’t in style anymore…and that mall was dark dark dark before this renovation. Also the previously mentioned spiral staircase was removed.

    This was also the JC Penney’s that Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited. I was there with my Dad’s fancy Pentax camera, periscope viewfinder, etc. so I could get some good shots. Can you believe the film never went through the camera???!!! They did have a cool Rolls Royce on display inside JC Penney for a while before that was perched on tea cups (to show their strength).

    Thanks for the memories…I’m enjoying all the tidbits!

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  90. I remember back in 2000, when I was living in the area, the mall was great. It was awesome, yes there was some stuff that needed to be fixed up, but other than that everything was fine. I moved away for a couple years, and came back in 2008. What thappened…the mall is horrible! I thought my old mall was horrible not having many stores, but I guess I was wrong. Most of the stores have become mall space(due to demolition), but besides that…I feel like I’m going to be murdered there. Besides for the fact that several people have been killed there, the people hanging out in the mall don’t look the greatest to be around with. So I did some research, not sure if this is a good theory or not. A bridge was made, and people have been telling me that the gang members from Prince Georges County, Maryland crossed it and ruined the mall.

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  91. http://www.springfieldtowncenter.com

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  92. Glad to see the mall isn’t totally being razed.

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  93. I live in PG County and I remember my sister used to work at Springfield mall. She worked at a candy store called Sweet Factory which was located near Sports Authority. I always loved it because many times she would always bring candy home and I always asked for Jelly Belly’s! I also remember going to the movie theater there many times and loved going to the Time-out arcades there too. Unfortunately, Sweet Factory ended up closing (I forgot the year, but it was sometime in the mid 90s), but I guess the good thing for us was that she was able to bring home a lot of the candy that was leftover when it closed, lol! Also, she brought home some leftover items/signs, etc. There was a sign in the store that said “Boss Parking Only” and I still have that hanging in my room today! Ah, the memories!

    Unfortunately, I haven’t been there in several years as now we usually either go to St. Charles Towne Center or Pentagon City. That, combined with the reputation that Springfield mall’s gotten over the last several years, have made us stay away. Plus, I haven’t been to the theater in a long time, and I heard that it closed last year. I bet it mainly closed because much nicer theaters like the one at Hoffman Center and the one at Potomac Yard opened. Hopefully, these new renovations will help revitalize a mall that in it’s heyday was great!

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  94. I don’t believe it will be built — I think the developers will lose funding due to the continuing collapse of commercial real estate (CRA).

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  95. Oops, typo – meant “CRE”.

    I see that Circuit City has now gone belly up, as I suggested would happen earlier. I wonder how many of the other surrounding businesses will too. Maybe one or both of the bookstores…

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  96. I was at Springfield mall last week.

    I live near Baltimore Maryland so me and my friends would all take trips down there.
    The mall was always so fascinating to us, and worth the 2 hour drive.

    And its mainly because of the arcade, Time Out.

    Last week while I was there, I noticed, almost every store is closed.
    There is no music playing anymore throughout the mall.

    When we walked in all we could hear was our foot steps and our comments on how the mall was so dead now. There was a HUGE puddle on the floor, from a broken water mane.

    The 2nd arcade on the lower floor is now closed, in fact the whole wing of the 2nd food court is now all closed, boarded up like nothing was there.
    There use to be a Burger king, a Pizzahut Express, and a Panda Express there before.

    My 1st trip to this mall was back in 04, and oh man this mall was amazing back then.
    The arcade was unreal, so many people were there having such a good time.
    I noticed a high rate of Asian people there. Which was awesome, because there are so many specialty shops with imported goods still there.
    The mall really left a impression on me, as being one of the last malls around with an amazing arcade and scene in it.

    The next time I went back, almost a year later, almost everything was closed.
    Each time, again and again, as I went back less and less was there.

    So, now its to the point where the mall is one big empty cave for the most part.

    The theaters has been gone.
    I always found it interesting that the theaters were split on both sides of the mall.

    The kiddy play place that was huge at the food court is long gone too, nothing stands in its place.
    Also the carousel is gone as well.

    Our major concern was the Time Out arcade, which amazingly, is still there!
    We asked the guy who worked there, what was going to happen to Time Out?
    He told us that the mall is being renovated from some guy who bought it from TX, that the mall is going to be “modernized” and he thought it was really stupid because the arcade will most likely close and never return at the end of the renovations.
    He seemed very upset and saddened, we also told him we were very upset too.

    The renovations are going to start Spring 09 and end sometime in 10.

    I took a few pictures, seeing it may be the last time I see the mall in its current state.

    When we left, I shook the guy at Time Out’s hand and I told him I would pray for the arcade, that it would dodge this bullet.

    If you can, check out this mall before it changes forever, it truly is an amazing place that really takes you back in time.
    Make sure you tell the guys at Time Out that I sent you. :]

    [Reply]

  97. Looks like in the remodel, two of the store “blocks” will be removed, forming a simple “T”. One will become a new anchor. Anyone know what?

    [Reply]

  98. AMC Theatres perhaps?

    I went to vornado’s site & saw what appeared to be a rendering of Springfield Town Center, an open-air lifestyle center wich have become popular in the past few years. There’s office space + apartment building clusters. All of this is ment to feed the Metro Blue Line.

    [Reply]

  99. Eh, AMC Theatres is possible but the pad is two-story and have four entrances. So probably retail. :D

    And if you go to the Springfield Town Center website, at the core, it’s still a two-story mall. There’s less interior-facing retail, yes, but it’s going to remain enclosed. Sort of like how we all thought Bergen Mall would be disenclosed, except it’s really enclosed.

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  100. Probably won’t be built given ongoing CRE collapse, and slow-motion collapse of retail to match.

    Unless it can repurposed as all government buildings.

    [Reply]

  101. I haven’t been to Springfield Mall since 2007 or so; I used to work near Fort Belvoir so the Target and the DMV were both convenient. It was very much on its last legs then, though, so I’m not at all surprised to hear that it’s basically dead now.

    [Reply]

  102. Looks like Sports Authority has left Springfield Mall now too.

    Of course, since they are planning to demolish it (if they still are), I guess everyone will fairly soon.

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  103. I worked at Up Against the Wall in the Spruingfield mall back in 1973 … when that store and the mall itself were new. The checkout counter in our store was an absolutely amazing wood freeform sculpture resembling a female contortionist! It was a bit of a challenge working there though … we were expected to look hip & trendy at all times but the pay was barely above minimum. Oh well, screw ‘em – these days I’m a very well paid executive and even compensating for inflation, I probably earn many many times what the Store Manager got paid back then.

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  104. I remember when the mall had some pizza shop placed by the JCpenny store (can’t remember that well.) as well as the old food court with the Burger King, Pizza Hut, Manchu wok and Gyro. It was pretty full back in the late 90’s/early 2000s. I think its a shame I wasn’t there back in the 80’s when GNR was actually good, and rock was widespread. The only few memories of it in good conditions I have are those of Montgomery wards closing and the 2nd Time out arcade. Also whatever happened to the Brookstone store, or the ruby tuesdays, or the in store restaurants?

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  105. I was just there tonight. The FYE on the lower level is closed, the pizza place on the upper level by Target is gone, the Game Stop on the second level by Target just closed, Sports Authority is gone, and a bunch of other stores that I can’t recall. I stop in at the Target occasionally because it is convenient if I’m already out in VA. Everytime I go there, more stuff is closed.

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  106. I loved Springfield Mall as a kid. I lived off of Pohick Road all my life, and I remember before there was a Fairfax County Parkway, Hooes road was the main way down towards the mall from where I lived. I spent my time there until college in 2000, when I finally returned to the mall of my youth I saw that it had hit hard times. Perhaps the new Springfield Town Center they are building on the site of the mall now will be better…

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  107. John-hehe I remember that one lane bridge on Hooes, and riding my bike on parts of the yet to be opened parkway :D

    I moved to Springfield in 1983 and went to Lee HS. I skipped class as much as possible to run over to the mall to eat at the Taco Laredo. I worked at the movie theater the summer of ’89. I had some good times there. Unfortunately, they closed the Taco Laredo so I had no reason to go to the mall. A decade or so later (I hadn’t lived in the area in several years), coming back from the beach I got off near there to take a break from the traffic, I decided to visit the mall. I needed to stretch my legs anyway.

    Wow-talk about a thug-life hole! That place has REALLY gone down the tubes. Seeing it demolished would be a good thing. The closed up stores and general dreariness of the place was just pathetic. I don’t mind tough guys, I am kinda a tough guy myself. But when little suburban posers are acting like gangstas I cannot help but laugh my @## off.

    All I can say, if you do need to go to that mall, be sure you have a conceal-carry permit and bring a few extra clips. Don’t count on the mall security. When I skateboarded and did my general mischief back in high school, those boobs were pretty easy to get away from.

    All I remember hearing about was grandma getting car jacked in the parking garage during x-mas shopping season anyway.

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  108. Wow…this is really amazing to read this.

    I lived in Alexandria from 2003-4. I hated the city, so I got out after my lease expired, but when I was there, this mall was nice.

    Like others have mentioned, I remember the two arcades. The top arcade had a soccer game, where you could actually boot a soccer ball into a net, and the game calculated how well you did based on the force and the angle of the kick and such, and it also had a “Gulity Gear” game that I never figured out.

    I remember seeing the final Matrix movie there, too.

    Just to make sure I have the right place, was there a Subway on the top floor? I also remember a GameStop at the foot of an escelator, along with a BMV on the bottom floor?

    There was a very nice Best Buy across the street…how is that doing?

    I lived in the Alexandria Apartments, so I visited Landmark Mall more than this one…I read about what a dump that has become, as well. That I could believe. I never thought Springfield Mall would fall so fast.

    Finally, how are the cities of Alexandria and Springfield doing these days overall? Is everything going to Hell there, or just the malls?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @JP, Update from those I know who live in the DC Metro, Springfield is still nice (lots of active and retired military there)…Springfield Mall has four strikes against it: 1) The 95/495 ongoing construction; 2) Competition from Tysons; 3) Lack of destination anchors; 4) Less willingness from Washingtonians to head all the way out via Metro to Franconia-Springfield, considering they can get more a lot closer at Pentagon City.

    However, Tysons is long established and continually updating, and even though the HOT Lanes construction and the Metro Silver Line are mucking up the works, they’ll be fine.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Speaking of Tysons, here are two articles I have from the Washington Post.

    A Shopping Nexus Outside Washington Plots a Future as an Urban Center
    By EUGENE L. MEYER
    TYSONS CORNER, Va. — This intersection in Fairfax County is a mecca for shoppers: it is the Washington region’s largest retail center, with 5.9 million square feet of shopping, and it includes the country’s 10th-largest mall. It is also due for a major makeover — after the sinking economy rebounds.
    In October, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepted the recommendations of a 36-member task force that had labored for three years on a plan to turn this traffic-clogged maze of malls and office parks into an urban center that has more housing and is less dependent on cars. This month, the supervisors said they would move quickly in 2009 to pass regulations allowing for greater density, consistent with the long-range plan for Tysons.
    The plan has been widely applauded as a forward-thinking blueprint to convert this “edge city,” 13 miles from downtown Washington, into the epitome of “smart growth” by 2050. The area is ultimately envisioned as having high-rise apartments adjoining four new rail transit stations built along an extension of the Metro system, shuttle buses, a pedestrian-friendly street grid, urban parks and outdoor plazas.
    The plan aims to be a guideline to be followed over decades, which is fortunate, because it was being completed just as the economy took a sharp downturn.
    Macerich, a national shopping center company based in Santa Monica, CA, now owns the 300-shop Tysons Corner Center, the original mall here. The company has short-term plans, which were approved by the county in January 2007, to turn acres of parking into 3.4 million square feet of office, hotel and residential space and some additional stores. But it is not clear how soon this will happen. “Our plans are really tied to market demands,” said John E. Harrison, the vice president for development at Tysons.
    Similarly, Theodore N. Lerner, the developer who built Tysons Corner Center as well as Tysons’s second major mall, has indefinitely postponed constructing an office building here — his fifth, announced by his firm two years ago — “due to current economic conditions,” he said in an interview.
    As it stands, Tysons is the nation’s 12th-largest employment center, based on its 26.7 million square feet of office space, according to an analysis by Integra Realty Resources. Altogether, there are 115,000 retail and office workers and 17,000 residents at Tysons. This ratio is “just out of whack,” said Stuart Mendelsohn, a land-use lawyer, former county supervisor and task force member. If the plan is carried out, by 2050 Tysons will have an estimated 150,000 full-time residents, who will be able to walk to work, restaurants and shops.
    Today, nearly half of Tysons’s 1,700 acres are streets and parking. In all, the area has more than 35 million square feet of commercial space, more than the downtowns of Miami, St. Louis or San Diego.
    The once rural “corner” that defines Tysons is the intersection of Routes 7 and 123, now major commuter routes in Washington’s Virginia suburbs. The Capital Beltway, the highway ringing the nation’s capital, adjoins Tysons, and Dulles International Airport is a short toll road away. “All roads really lead to Tysons,” says Christopher Gladstone, president of Quadrangle Development, a Washington firm active in the area.
    The coming of the Beltway in the mid-1960s made Tysons Corner accessible to shoppers across the Potomac River in Maryland as well. In 1968, Mr. Lerner opened Tysons Corner Center, and in 1988, he opened Tysons II, now known as the Galleria, a more upscale version of his original mall. Mr. Lerner, who owns the Washington Nationals baseball team, has since sold both malls but remains a substantial landholder in the area.
    The growth of Tysons has slowed with the economy. This year, one new office building has been completed, though it awaits approvals before occupancy. This 325,000-square-foot structure, known as Park Place II, adjoins a future Beltway exit. About 10 percent is leased, to the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson.
    One other Class A building is under construction: a 13-story, 295,000-square-foot office tower at 1850 Towers Crescent Drive. As yet, it has no tenants. It is being built by Quadrangle and is to be completed next August.
    No other new projects are expected for a while. “In this environment, this is it, until the economy turns around and there is a need for additional space,” said Robert H. VeShancey, a managing director for the leasing agent, Jones Lang LaSalle.
    When completed, the Towers Crescent project will include a pedestrian bridge to the sprawling Tysons Corner Center. The mall, in turn, will link to one of the four new Metro stations, which are scheduled for completion in 2013. A 300-unit apartment building will ultimately be part of the Towers Crescent complex, but its start awaits an upturn in the market, Mr. Gladstone said.
    Work on the long-term plan for Tysons began when the economy was flush with optimism and cash. Over three years, the Tysons task force held 45 meetings, leading to this fall’s final report. The task force’s vision has generally been applauded, although some critics contend it is too heavily weighted to the wishes of developers and that it plays down the potential impact of the traffic and the need for infrastructure improvements in the face of rising density.
    “We were supposed to protect the neighborhoods,” said Amy L. Tozzi, a retired federal employee who lives in a nearby condominium and who was a citizen representative on the task force. “Instead, the developers held sway.”
    As the task force work progressed, 30 Route 7 property owners, including several car dealerships, joined to devise a single redevelopment plan that is consistent with the committee’s recommendations. Their chief architect is Doug Carter of McLean, Va. “Tysons Corner can become a textbook example of how to turn an absolute planning catastrophe into a textbook example of ecologically sensible, sustainable architecture,” Mr. Carter said.
    The Metro stations could be a catalyst to such an end. But ultimately, even the boosters acknowledge, the grand designs of planners remain subject to the laws of supply and demand.
    “What is the status of the market when Metro arrives, and who’s willing to build on speculation then?” Mr. Carter said. “This very much depends on market forces, the reality of life. If the market’s not there, that will slow things up.”
    ———————————————————————-

    Tysons will need $15-billion — ‘with a B’ Money crucial for roads and public transit, Fairfax planners say
    By Lisa Rein Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, October 30, 2009
    Remaking Tysons Corner into the second city of Washington will take a lot more than a new Metro line and a downtown of tightly clustered buildings designed for walking. It will take almost $15-billion in new roads and public transportation.
    That jaw-dropping sum, a preliminary estimate released by Fairfax County planners this week, will be crucial to a redevelopment that envisions more than twice the 44 million square feet of offices, malls and housing now in Tysons — a commercial and residential hub intended to draw thousands of new workers who will leave their cars at home. But planners fear thousands more will drive and overwhelm the area’s already clogged road network.
    “Anytime you’re looking at capital costs with a B, it gets your attention,” said Walter L. Alcorn, the county Planning Commission chairman. “They raise some budget issues that go way beyond just land use.”
    Wednesday’s long-awaited estimate of transportation costs has renewed concern over whether a prime economic engine of Virginia that’s poised to become even bigger will receive new money from Richmond, where officials are projecting a deficit in state transportation funding of $100-billion over the next two decades.
    The numbers also have prompted some proponents of dense development in Tysons to argue that if the county pushes too many costly road improvements and makes room for more cars, the vision could unravel.
    The costs include $2.6-billion allocated for the first leg of the Silver Line, now under construction to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. Seven billion dollars for roads, bus service and two additional rail lines would not be spent until after 2030. And it’s assumed that landowners who stand to profit from dense development near the four Tysons train stations will donate property for much of a planned grid of narrow, city-like streets.
    But that still leaves billions of dollars for roads, sidewalks, interchanges and new bus routes over the next 20 years that have no source of funding and are crucial to the success of what Tysons is planned to become.
    Between next year and 2030, planners say, a new lane should be built on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway between Route 7 and Interstate 66. Express bus service should be added to connect Tysons with other parts of the county. Traffic-choked roads through Tysons, including routes 7 and 123 and other smaller byways, should be widened to anywhere from four to eight lanes. Overpasses and ramps should be built along the Dulles Toll Road, the route of the second leg of the 23-mile rail line to Dulles International Airport. That stretch, estimated at $2.6-billion, has not received federal funding, although landowners in the area are pursuing a tax district to cover some of the cost.
    After 2030, Tysons will need more buses, streets, garages for cars parking at the Metrorail stations and a streetcar to ferry workers, shoppers and residents throughout the area. Metro’s Orange Line should extend from Vienna along I-66 to Centreville, and another rail line should carry workers in Tysons along a north-south route, the study concludes.
    Moving forward
    Next month, the county’s planning staff is expected to suggest which roads should be widened and improved first and whether developers will need to wait for those investments to happen before they can build.
    Landowners have been waiting years for rules that will allow more density, especially near the train stations. A county-appointed panel has said that unless high-rises clustered with as many offices, stores and condominiums or apartments as possible are built soon, landowners will not provide the roads and other amenities the new city needs. The planning staff has said it prefers a more suburban mix at first: Unless roads and transit are in place, planners say, the roads in Tysons will be overwhelmed.
    Some of the projects — bus rapid transit routes or an Orange Line extension, for example — will serve other corners of the county. “But it’s important for them to be there for Tysons to function,” Planning Director Jim Zook said.
    Critics say some of the projects are unrealistic and might thwart the effort to rebuild Tysons.
    “Some of them seem absurd,” said William D. Lecos, a former president of the county’s chamber of commerce who serves on the task force. “Does anybody really believe we’re going to go back and add another lane to the Beltway after the HOT lanes are built?” he said, referring to the high-occupancy toll project under construction. Land for the right-of-way would require the state to take hundreds of homes, he said.
    Paying for change
    For funding, Fairfax officials say, they will look to the Obama administration, which is committed to subsidizing growth projects in urban areas. They hold out little hope from the Virginia Department of Transportation, which this year slashed the county allocation for secondary roads to zero. Given the millions of dollars Northern Virginia has gotten for big projects such as the HOT lanes and new Woodrow Wilson Bridge, “More state funding is pretty much politically doomed,” said Kathy Ichter, the county’s chief of transportation planning.
    Other potential sources include a bigger tax on commercial and industrial landowners, although the proceeds would be limited; the county is 1.5 cents short of a state-mandated cap of 12.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. Another strategy used liberally in the District, tax-increment financing, would use future property taxes to pay off bonds. But the practice would be controversial in fiscally conservative Fairfax, Alcorn said. Landowners in Tysons also could be asked to tax themselves, much the way they are paying for a portion of the Silver Line.
    The transportation costs might seem huge, but county leaders say the alternatives could be even more expensive to taxpayers: more suburban sprawl, more pollution, more driving, more gas.
    “If you look at Fairfax 40 years ago, we had a population of 500,000,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D). “Now we are approaching 1.2 million people. The question is how do you accommodate that growth in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the problems created by the way we’ve grown until now?”

    [Reply]

    Bob Reply:

    @SEAN,
    How many of the newly built residences are to be afordable to a retail cleck’s wages?

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Bob, It depends on what Fairfax Counties afordable housing policy is. Tipicly it is 6%-10% of new housing stock being built that must qualify as afordable. The range runs from 60% of AMI to as much as 120%, BUT USUALLY IS CAPPED at 100% AMI. Fairfax is one of the welthiest Counties in the US.

    [Reply]

  109. I think the Springfield Mall has seen better days, only visited the place once the year before and it looks as if it’s on its way out.

    As for Tysons, that place just keeps growing and getting bigger. I wonder if anyone has seriously proposed joining Tysons I and II into one mega shopping complex? If that happened, that would make it one of the largest malls in the world.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Gary, That would be interesting and one can argue that once the Tysons 123 Metro station is complete (located across Chain Bridge Road from Tysons Corner), they will be connected as a result of the Metro accesses. Depending on the deisgn, it will make walking between the two malls a much easier task.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @mallguy, I think if any development occurs between the two malls, that they need to look at the existing infrastructure, and that mainly includes Chain Bridge Rd. which runs between the malls. Technically, connecting the two malls will require a structure built over the highway, or even building a tunnel below the existing road and developing on top of that.

    [Reply]

    Max Reply:

    While connecting the two Tysons malls into one mega-mall is a very interesting idea, another problem that would result is that the new mega-mall would have two Macy’s stores. Although it’s possible that Macy’s would split its merchandise offerings between the two stores, the most likely thing that would happen is that one of those two stores would close, resulting in an anchor vacancy.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @Max, the Macy’s overlap would be an issue, although in theory, an expansion/connector from Tysons I to II would likely involve redeveloping the existing Macy’s store at Tysons I since the anchor pad is roughly a perfect straight shot to the Neiman Marcus store at Tysons II. Theoretically, demolishing the Macy’s and Neiman Marcus stores to build the connector would make sense, and a new Neiman Marcus could be attached to the new connector. The connector could also be the main transit hub for the new Metro station that would be built on that spot, kind of like how the World Trade Center PATH stations were set up below the shopping concourse and the twin towers. Macerich is already proposing building high-rise office buildings around the mall, I think a central Metro station within the mall would be essential to creating a 24-hour commercial, residential and recreational environment.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Max, True, however one of the Macy’s sites could be turned into residential units, or office space.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, Kind of what South Coast Plaza did uniting Crystal Court to the main mall building.
    The Plaza at King of Prussia also has a walkway between the buildings, making padestrian movement easier.

    Where are the two complexes in relation & distence to one another? How do obsticals such as department store placement, road withs, limited transit access & lack of sidewalks come into play beyond what was stated in the Post articles?

    I suggest these websites for aditional information reguarding this area.

    http://www.walkarlington.com

    http://www.commuterpage.com

    Although Arlington is the focus, there are links to other areas.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SEAN, Here is a follow up article from the Washington Post on Tysons.

    The Dulles Metrorail Project
    By Robert Thompson Sunday, November 15, 2009
    The Metrorail project is marching west through Tysons Corner and swinging north onto Route 7, where construction will probably have the greatest effect on drivers. The next six months of work along this one-mile corridor up to the Dulles Toll Road will be “fairly intense,” says Howard Menaker, communications manager for Dulles Transit Partners, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s contractor for this phase of the rail project. Here’s what travelers will see as they drive through the work zone in the coming months.
    What will change
    — The service roads along the eastbound and westbound lanes of Route 7 will be closed so the regular travel lanes can be pushed out. The closings, which will come in sections, have begun, starting on the eastbound side between Pike 7 Plaza and the Koons GM dealership. During the phaseout, drivers will be able to reach the businesses along the road, but they should expect to see different entrance routes. People heading for Marshalls, Pier One Imports and the Sports Authority in Tysons Square Shopping Center will enter through the usual spot from Route 7 just west of Wendy’s (Marshalls Drive) with one exception: Koons customers should enter the property by southbound Route 123.
    — A retaining wall will be built along the south side of Route 7 to support the new road bed. (The grade is different between the service road and the eastbound travel lanes. That will need to be balanced.) Then the travel lanes will be pushed out, away from the median. The work will eventually occur along both sides of Route 7.
    — Three places along the median where mid-block turns have been allowed will be closed. (The traffic signals at Westwood Center Drive/Tyco Road, Spring Hill Road and Gosnell Road/Westpark Drive will remain and can be used for U-turns.) The median will be widened to accommodate the elevated tracks and the two rail stations. The Tysons Central 7 station will be near SAIC and Marshalls. The Tysons West station will be between Spring Hill and Tyco roads.
    Elsewhere on the rail line
    Although the effect on Route 7 will be significant, the Metrorail construction to Reston has become visible along most of the route. Preliminary work is underway at all five stations: the two on Route 7, the two on Route 123 and the terminus at Wiehle Avenue.
    Along the Dulles Connector Road near Interstate 66, piers and caissons are under construction. They will support a flyover taking the new tracks from the Orange Line to the Connector Road. Pile driving is underway to support new bridges at Idylwood and Magarity roads and at Pimmit Run. Construction trucks are using I-66 inside the Capital Beltway during certain hours. As many as 74 trucks a day will be allowed to use the Lee Highway/Washington Boulevard exit to turn around to go west on I-66.
    Easing the pain
    Two new bus services will help commuters get to work in Tysons Corner and get around the area without their cars during the middle of the day.
    Tysons Express
    The first commuter bus service with a direct route from Woodbridge to Tysons started this month. The fares on the new buses, operated by PRTC’s OmniRide and financed by the Virginia government, will be half the normal OmniRide price for six months. Commuters using SmarTrip cards will pay $2.40 a trip, and those using cash will pay $3.
    Schedule
    The buses travel between the Woodbridge VRE station and the Route 123/Interstate 95 commuter lot and stops in Tysons. The four inbound trips will leave between 6:10am and 8:05 a.m., ride the HOV lanes to Franconia-Springfield and then take the Capital Beltway to Route 7. They will stop at the Tysons Corner Transit Center and more than a dozen other points, mostly along Greensboro and Jones Branch drives. The return trips start from the Tysons Corner Transit Center between 4pm and 6p.m.
    Tysons Connector
    The other service launching this month in Tysons is an internal circulator bus. Tysons was built for cars: You can hardly get anywhere without one. The new Connector bus is meant to ease that burden.
    The bus, operated by Fairfax County, will offer free midday service around Tysons Corner beginning Nov 23. Passengers on two routes will be picked up every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2:30p.m. weekdays to go to Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria and the major employers nearby.
    Other transit options
    These are the services available to travelers in Tysons:
    — Fairfax Connector routes 401, 425, 427 and 574
    — Metrobus 2C, 2T, 3T, 5A, 15K, 15L, 15M, 23A, 23C, 24T, 28A, 28B ad 28T
    — Connections to other regional transit routes at the West Falls Church Metro station and the Tysons Westpark Transit Station.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SEAN, Timing of Tysons road needs and development outlined
    Planners work to concentrate future growth around the four new Metrorail stations
    by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer

    Fairfax County planners are inching closer to making pivotal decisions about the transformation of Tysons Corner: How much development will be allowed, and when?
    “The big-picture growth strategy is to concentrate future growth in centers, and Tysons is one of those centers,” said James Zook, director of planning and zoning.
    Now, the Planning Commission committee preparing a blueprint for the urban core in Tysons must draw its conclusions about how much development will be allowed around the four new Metrorail stations in the area and what infrastructure must be in place before new high-rises start to go up.
    One task will be to pick a side in the density debate, settling a longstanding disagreement between county land-use planners and members of the Tysons Land Use Task Force about how much Tysons should be allowed to grow. The task force, which developed the vision plan for the area, says higher densities are needed to encourage the type of development the task force advocates.
    Last week, county transportation planners released an outline of what road and transit projects will be needed to accommodate certain levels of development. County staff previously estimated what the other public facilities needs will be as Tysons grows, including police and fire stations, parks and schools.
    As part of the new Tysons plan, county leaders must decide what “triggers” will allow development to proceed. There are several approaches to accomplish this, Zook said.
    One technique is to tell a builder he has to build his project in phases, tied to the completion of certain infrastructure. This, however, does not work well for small projects, Zook said, and can hamper a builder’s ability to get financing for a project.
    Another idea is to encourage multiple property owners to come together and allow them to finance a share of the public improvements in their section of Tysons. Building would go ahead from there, with no triggers, he said. Commissioners like this concept because it would allow the planned grid of streets in Tysons to be built faster, for example.
    “It sounds like it could help with consolidation; it could help with coordination,” Commissioner Rodney Lusk said. “Assuming we could get a group of developers that would agree.”
    Despite the two major transportation projects now under way in Tysons Corner, there are many other additions needed to handle the expected growth in the next 10 years, according to Dan Rathbone of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. Transportation planners used computer models to determine the timing of needs.
    Even with the completion of the high-occupancy toll lanes and the four Metrorail stations, anticipated in 2013 — as well as the accompanying widening of Route 7 around the rail stations, new sidewalks and improved bus service — Tysons will not have much room to grow above its current 44 million square feet of development, according to the report.
    Between 2013 and 2020, to accommodate up to 60 million square feet of development in Tysons, the full 23-mile Metro extension to Washington Dulles International Airport must be completed, along with a number of road improvements in Tysons. These include widening Route 7 from Route 123 to the Capital Beltway, starting the grid of streets and building new ramps from key Tysons local roads to the Dulles Toll Road.
    “This being only 10 years ahead is very sensitive to where development takes place,” Rathbone noted, referring to which portion of the street grid will be the highest

    [Reply]

  110. “Fairfax is one of the welthiest Counties in the US.”

    That’s what I thought when I lived there, too. This was one of the many reasons I hated it there, and got out…thanks for the reminder, Sean!

    Thanks for your comments, too mallguy!

    [Reply]

  111. Fairfax is wealthy, if you average out things, but has large pockets of poverty, esp. in the southern part of the County and many places that are pretty ordinary. Mongomery County, Maryland, across the Potomac is pretty similar, in this regard.

    Tyson’s is an odd place, because you can find vacant land in the middle of some of the most intensive development. Regardless of what planners do now, there will be more vertical development and the place is far from capacity for this. This may or may not add to the attractiveness of Tysons as a retail destination. Office construction didn’t rescue Bethesda’s retail core (filled more successfully with restaurants) and Crystal City’s underground mall struggles as retail space despite being a huge employment hub.

    OTOH, people like me who dread going there will love the Metro access.

    BTW, the concept of a midday circulator service is a joke, it should run all day long. Except for Arlington, all of DC’s suburban jurisdictions seem pretty clueless about transit.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rich, Westchester County is somewhat similar to Fairfax in many ways. As wealthy as Westchester is, cities like Yonkers & mount Vernon have high poverty & crime rates.

    White Plains & Tysons corner both have large retail & office complexes, however the downtown core of White Plains is walkable while Tysons is not. Although that is not the end of the story. A large percentage of the office space is along Westchester Avenue east of Downtown towards Harrison & Rye Brook. For several miles Westchester Avenue acts as a service road for I-287 wich runs in the middle of it & the road lacks sidewalks except where bus stops are located.

    There are shuttle services from the White Plains train station door to door, but during non rush-hours you have to walk to the nearist bus stop wich may require crossing both halfs of the street, wich can be dangerous even with traffic signals & walk signs.

    For some reason Maryland officials when given a chance to fund large scale transit projects, decides to build a toll road that most residents apose instead.

    Arlington gets it. You cant squeze more & more cars in a finite amount of space without some kind of backlash. Now it is time for the rest of the region to get on board. Rockville & Bethesda are moving in the right direction

    http://www.walkscore.com is a good resource as well as the links I posted above.

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  112. I grew up in Springfield and I’ve been going to Springfield Mall since I was a kid. Aside from the department stores, I think the only one of the original places they still have is the arcade (Time Out)–I could be wrong, though.

    I go to Springfield Mall for last-minute Christmas shopping ever since they have closed many of the stores, the movie theater, etc. It is simply not very crowded and I can get a lot of shopping done in short order. Plus, I have a special place in my heart for Springfield Mall…I’ve been going there regularly for the past 30 years or so, after all ;)

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  113. Funny I was born here I am still here and I will probably be buried here… Anyway Springfield mall was the shit back in the Late 70’s thru the 80’s Two great record stores, two killer toy stores, a Whats your game, the hobby shop (forgot the name) it moved across the hall later in the 80’s when the mall was fixed up. Two Time outs! And the Mall Wall for all you skate rats out there. I was too young to skate that spot but remember watching my brother skate there before they tore it down. As for landmark How many of you remember when that was mostly an outdoor shopping mall??? & 7 corners used to be a mall and later turned into a strip o shit mall anchored by a Homie D-pot.
    Anyway those are my memories
    later

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  114. Before there was korvettes…..the previous anchor store in that spot was Lansburghs. They had another store at the end of the row in Shirlington before it became Best and that was eventually torn down….Lansburghs went out of business not long after the mall opened maybe 1 or 2 years after. The interior used to be really dark everything 70’s brown) and smoke filled. There used to be sitting areas like play pits and one of them hosted the world’s longest kiss which went on for days. the Pizza place that got busted had awesome pizza and calzones and you didnt forget to ask for the works:)

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  115. Early Mall stuff. I had my first job there in the bike shop, entrance 4 from 1978-1984. I was a “mall rat” all the way. As an employee in the mall I was afforded a certain rights. Some things I remember:
    Lafayette elecronics (later the hobby shop)
    Audio Associates
    THe conversation pits
    Riot when Leif Garrett visited
    No crime (except the Pizza Delight front for drug trafficing!)
    Roy Rogers
    Taco Bueno
    Hong Kong head shop
    Real pinball machines in Time Out 1 and 2
    The Magic Hat magic store
    Crackdown on gay solicitation in the bathrooms in JC Penny!
    Orange Bowl cardboard pizza
    Riding bikes through the mall after closing!
    It was actually safe for teenagers to hang out in. Very family oriented and clean.
    I went there a year or so again and never will again. Its really sad to see a place that was such a part of my “coming of age” years turn to complete crap. Its dirty, almost vacant, and the people there are not inviting. I guess an era has come and gone. Would do anything to relive those days. Carefree, fun, no worries. Now I am 48, grew up in Springfield when the majority of “downtown” was fields…….
    Oh well…..

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  116. I remember growing up here as a kid in 2000 used to go there everyday and now january 2011 They still did nothing to renovate yet all they did was just take down my memories and destroy them all the stores are closed

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  117. This mall brings back so many memories. My most frequent visits to this mall consisted of the 90s to earl 2000s when there was Suncoast Video by the JC Penny, the Mrs. Fields cookies were actually fresh baked and not sold at 7-11, the KB Toys was around the corner from Montgomery Ward, Sam Goody was the place to get your music and the food court TVs used to play Mr.Bean sketches repeatedly. There’s so much more that I’m sure I’ll remember later, but I had a lot of good times at the mall including many Black Friday visits. I wound up working there part time in 2007 after not visiting in quite some time. It was sad to see how many changes had been in the directory line up, not to mention the many spaces that sat vacant. I left shortly after the mall was purchased by what I heard was the same company that owned Tysons Corner and there were plans to turn the mall into a giant shopping plaza with an inside food court, hotels and housing. My wife and I moved to Florida in early 2009 and I’ve only been back to visit once about 4 months ago but unfortunately couldn’t make a visit to see whats become of it. Since I am not there to witness change, I’d rather have the memories. By the way, does anyone remember Beacon Mall? With the dollar theater, the cassette store, the Little Ceasers, etc? I’d like to see some old pictures of that!

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  118. My mother used to be a hairdresser at HAIRPOWER in 1991-92 (anyone remember that place?) upstairs by the theatre. We used to live in Richmond and every friday after school she would pick me up and we would go up there for her to work the “busy” sat and sundays. We would stay the Best Western across the st. I have so many vague and blurry childhood memories from the mall. As a child the mall seemed so HUGE and vibrant. I went back for the first time since 1992 in November 2006. It was a saturday night and I decided to stop in on the way to Jaxx. It was lively; walking in the food court entrance and seeing the kids climbing the huge play pen near the theater. The theater was old and time worn, but still cool to see 14 years later and have sudden memory flashbacks. I went back in late 07 and it was further down the drain. Mostly boarded up and desolate. I went back again in August of 2010 (on a saturday afternoon) and it was dead to the point that I was the only person I saw for 20 minutes besides random mall employees and a mall security gaurd who didnt look like he couldnt protect himself, not to mention anyone else. The GOOD news, or so I’ve heard, is that Vornado has bought the mall and paid the balance on it. They have abaonded the “Lifestyle Center” model due to oversaturation of those types of malls in N.Va, and everywhere really. They have decided to give the mall a MEGA FACELIFT using the intact infrastructure that stands today. The reason the mall is getting deader and deader is bc Vornado has this plan on the backburner until ALL leases have expired (except anchors) and the mall is bare bones to begin the remodel. They blow hot air and say it’ll be done by 2012. In 2008 they said it would be done by 2010. Well, here it is in 2011 and we’re still waiting. Realistically, the *new* springfield mall will be COMPLETELY done by 2015. I, for one, am happy they are going to salvage the old shell and keep the memories we all have, good and bad, alive.

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  119. Let’s be serious now. The metro killed this mall. I was a teenager when the metro was built and I used to catch the bus to the metro and transfer from there to the mall and it was filled with DC/MD thugs/ghetto people. Over time, more and more of them started coming over and loitering, committing crimes and scaring off customers, not to mention that back then, Fairfax had a gang problem so that was something else to consider. It wasn’t uncommon at one people to see the mall on weekends filled with thugs loitering and causing trouble. Plus the rise of Hispanic Immigration played a part as well, they all live near that area. When customers and stores left because of the rising thug/immigrant population, new stores were created to cater to them but what they didn’t understand was that the thugs come to the mall to disrupt everything, not to buy anything, and the immigrants only shop at certain stores.

    They will never build a mall here again because of Kingstowne and plus the fact that the mall is near a metro. Any mall near a metro here will get hit by the DC/MD ghetto population, Pentagon City mall has this problem as well as Ballston Commons. They killed Springfield mall, now you see them going to Tysons. If they build a metro out at Tysons, then that mall is finished. You notice that they remodeled the Foot Locker and Champs to make them smaller and placed them near the security office. Fair Oaks seems better because there is no metro access and there isn’t a food court, movie theater or urban wear stores. I could be wrong though because I haven’t been there in forever.

    Springfield Mall, Rest In Peace.

    P.S. Please don’t even think about pulling the race card as I am a minority myself.

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    Mark Reply:

    @Cinder, “P.S. Please don’t even think about pulling the race card as I am a minority myself.”

    Only white people say things like don’t play the race card.

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    Frank Reply:

    that’s racist, Mark.

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  120. I watched Springfield get built. I played baseball at the school next door. Where Montgomery Wards (Target) was/is there was an old house with a huge oak tree next to it and I always remember the silhouette of it when the sun went down during practices. I worked at the Korvettes. Montgomery Wards auto shop, and the theaters. (Saturday Night Fever, High Anxiety) era.

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  121. I moved to the NOVa area i nthe late 80’s and recalled when the Springfield Mall was on its dying legs before the built the Macy’s the gave it some new life. Heck I worked in that mall for over eight years. From Natural Wonders to Another Universe and finally working in Suncoast Motion Picture Compaany. Pretty much from the late 90’s into the early 00’s I saw a lot of sroes come and go. At one point they called it the revolving door mall. Stores would open up and then in six months would close down due to lack of sales or that what they were selling just wasn’t what the people wanted. I witnessed halloween being treated as a neigoborhood thing too a mall thing due to the safety and securtiy it had. I worked the night a man shot his ex wife and them himself when he couldn’t have custody of his kids. I was there when Montgomery Wards went out of busniess and the removed all of the stairs to leave the malufcntioning escaltors that were always under contruction and forced people to find other ways to get down staris. I worked more Black Fridays then any sane person should have in those days. When I left in 2001 after the last job I came back after ten years and I was amazed that they still have the nerve to let this place stay open. Everything is boarded up. Most if not all the stores are not worth the time and effort and those stores that can stay open just don’t attract the right crowds. I was shocked that the second food court was gone and the Bally’s gone. The main food court was practially gone and even the stupid jungle gym that was set up was gone. The carosel that they thought was brillant was gone. Seems that whoever owns this is not really interested in a mall. then again the owner back in my day didn’t care either. Time just marches on.

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  122. Happy New Year, All.

    Thanks “Aguywho remembered”, I cried a little when I read what you posted. I came to the mall as far back as circa 1979. I have moved to the Seattle, and prior to that I was in San Diego, CA. Yet, for some strange reason I had a dream of Springfield Mall last night. When I got up, I went online to search for current photos of the Mall, and it of course broke my heart. I do want Malls to come back but we do have to make them safer. Can we really avoid METRO?

    PS: I have read many of the comments and went far back as 2006.

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  123. Happy New Year, All. Thanks “Aguywho remembered”, I cried a little when I read what you posted. I came to the mall as far back as circa 1979. I have moved to the Seattle, and prior to that I was in San Diego, CA. Yet, for some strange reason I had a dream of Springfield Mall last night. When I got up, I went online to search for current photos of the Mall, and it of course broke my heart. I do want Malls to come back but we do have to make them safer. Can we really avoid METRO? PS: I have read many of the comments and went far back as 2006.

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  124. Springrfield Mall is officially closed. Interior demolition is scheduled to begin mid July, the last day of business was June 30, 2012.

    The new Town Center page is up:
    http://www.springfieldtowncenter.com/vision.aspx

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  125. to those of you who say that it should get a renovation will be happy springfield mall is finally getting remodeled it is going to close (except for the anchor stores) and it is planed that it will reopen mid 2014.
    more info can be found here
    http://www.springfieldtowncenter.com/

    i also put the link in my name for those of us who are to lazy to use cut and paste

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  126. I moved from the DC area at the beginning of June – I posted earlier about the Landmark Mall a few minutes ago. I got my haircut there at the old time barber shop before I moved and in the four years I lived in the DC area the mall actually was somewhat (keyword is somewhat) occupied in 2008. Pretty much got my hair and left the next day for FL.

    I thought it was in a nice area but I guess Pentagon City and Fair Oaks killed too much of the profits this store could have had, including Tysons.

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  127. Farewell, old mall friend! RIP! If you were in HS in Fairfax County in the mid-late 1970’s you went to Springfield Mall. There was a really posh Garfinkle’s dept store, and Britches of Georgetown/Britches Great Outdoors. I went to my first “R” rated movie here, and learned how to drive in an older friend’s El Camino in the parking lot. I got my first good suit at Britches, my first IZOD LaCoste polo shirt at that Garfinkle’s. My prom was at the Springfield Hilton across the parking lot. This was were you went to cruise, hook-up, hang out, and just “be”. We told our parents that we were “going to the mall”, snagged the keys to the Ford Country Squire wagon with the fake wood sides, or dad’s Coupe de Ville, and headed out into the suburban night. Think “Dazed and Confused” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. There was no X-Box or FaceBook, but we got high, got laid, made and spent money, tasted freedom, broke hearts, learned the ethos of cool and grew up with this tacky suburban mall as the backdrop. Now it’s being razed, and like so many things that have passed from the scene in greater Washington (Woodie’s, Hecht’s, the old Cap Center, WHFS, Hotte Shoppes, et al) what comes next will never be quite so special. Another Panera Bread? A vast Wegman’s? Great. We moved to Hilton Head or Bethesda or La Jolla or Seattle….we moved out, we moved on, we traded up, we got jaded…and we let it die. My nephews are now in HS; over scheduled, over-protected, curiously lacking any sense of adventure or wildness or joy….where will they learn what we learned just “hanging out at the mall”? Sorry dudes, there’s no “app” for that.

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  128. Springfield Town Center Update
    May 17, 2012

    The Connection wrote today that Jeff McKay thinks Springfield Mall is actually going to begin turning into Springfield Town Center. They also published a couple of Vornado’s architectural renderings (which must be new, because the theater featured is not AMC as in the older ones):

    According to the Lee District supervisor, who has worked closely with the developer and county officials to move the ball forward on the project, all of the mall’s interior tenants were given 90-days notice to vacate in March so the first phase of the renovation can begin July 1.

    He said Vornado will leave anchor tenants Macy’s, Target and JCPenney open as the New York-based company guts and renovates the cavernous interior space, launching the first stage of plans to transform the 1973 suburban mall into Springfield Town Center.

    THE FIRST PHASE, which is expected to take two years, includes construction of one central entrance instead of multiple entrances, and the addition of a state-of-the-art movie theater and food court.

    “No one will be happier to see this move forward. We will pop open the champagne for this,” McKay said.

    Later phases of the renovation – expected to take about 10 to 15 years – will complete the town center look, with a mix of upscale retail and commercial development, a 225-room hotel, pedestrian plazas, recreational facilities, 2,000 residential units and transportation improvements.

    Movie Complex
    I don’t know about you, but my level of optimism about this project is now dependent on actually seeing something good happen. I don’t consider tossing out the tenants to be a positive step in and of itself – I want to see construction.

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  129. Mid-Atlantic Thinks Outside the Box

    Kimco Realty Corp. is redeveloping Wilde Lake Village Center in Columbia, Md., to include 60,000 square feet of retail, 21,000 square feet of office space and 250 residential units. Retailers are establishing a stronghold on the Mid-Atlantic region to take advantage of favorable demographics that have positioned the area as one of the strongest economies in the nation.

    Developers are capitalizing on the ever-growing market with many new projects in the pipeline.
    The federal government and research industries create a big draw for the Mid-Atlantic region, bringing many people to the area for employment. The population of the District of Columbia has grown by 43,592, or 7.6 percent, from 2007 to 2011, according to the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership D.C. Development Report.

    Due to its growing population and the high average household incomes of its major metros, the Mid-Atlantic offers prime locations for retailers. Seven of the top 10 most affluent counties in the nation in 2011 were located in the Washington, D.C., area, according to The Washington Post. The top three counties on the list are located in Virginia and average household incomes top $100,000: Loudoun ($119,134), Fairfax ($105,797) and Arlington ($100,735).

    “The Mid-Atlantic region continues to be a robust market of commerce for consumers, so the trade area is an appealing place for retailer expansion,” says Chris Weilminster, senior vice president of leasing for Federal Realty Investment Trust. At the end of September, Federal Realty Investment Trust’s portfolio included approximately 19.1 million square feet of retail.

    As consumers relocate to the region to find jobs and take advantage of higher wages, retailers are rapidly expanding to further capitalize on a market with a high disposable income. John Henry King, development director for the city of Bowie, Md., cites the local vacancy rate as proof of demand: the city of Bowie has a retail base that includes 3.6 million square feet with only a 6 percent vacancy rate.

    Restaurants Galore
    While many retailers continue to expand and develop new concepts in the Mid-Atlantic, the restaurant industry is expanding the most vigorously. Food users such as restaurants and grocery stores have been the main driver of retail leases.

    Weilminster says that the full-service and quick-service restaurant sector remains very active. This sector is witnessing the most demand from customers when it comes to restaurant options.
    “Consumer demand for both quick-serve and casual sit-down dining is very high. We like these tenants because they generate a lot of foot traffic to our centers,” agrees Geoff Glazer, vice president of acquisitions and development in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions for New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Kimco Realty Corp., which owns approximately 180 neighborhood and community shopping centers in the Mid-Atlantic.

    Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant is working with Next Realty Mid-Atlantic LLC to expand its presence in the area. Next Managing Principal George Galloway says the chain is considering locations in Northern Virginia right now.

    Galloway also notes that Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and World of Beers are two more multi-unit concepts that are expanding in the Mid-Atlantic. Tampa, Fla.-based World of Beers offers a selection of more than 500 domestic and craft beers. The chain currently has one location in the Mid-Atlantic in Arlington, Va., but is looking to grow its Mid-Atlantic portfolio. Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, based in Maryville, Tenn., is a burrito restaurant that offers freshly prepared Mexican food with homemade salsa, sauces and sides. The chain operates four locations in Washington, D.C.

    “A number of restaurant operators/managers from various chains are breaking out and starting their own restaurants,” says Richard Lipsky, vice president of commercial real estate for Carl M. Freeman Companies.

    For example, Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Mussel Bar & Grille opened at Bethesda Row in Bethesda, Md. The development is situated in Montgomery County, which continues to be a key location for potential retailers because of its demographics.

    Numa Jerome, senior vice president of East Coast leasing at Combined Properties, says that Fairfax County in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland are the two most appealing options for an expanding restaurant operator because of high consumer demand in these affluent markets.

    Fast/casual concepts that are performing well include Corner Bakery Café, which has 17 locations in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore; and Chipotle, which has more than 50 locations in metro D.C., and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Chipotle has even recently launched its Shophouse concept, which is a Southeast Asian kitchen that offers rice and noodle bowls. Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen has one location in Dupont Circle on Connecticut Avenue.

    Real estate prices reflect the demand. “Cap rates got very aggressive in the fast/casual sector,” says Jonathan Hipp, president and CEO of Calkain Cos. “I’ve seen more McDonald’s [trade hands] in the market in the last 12 months than I think I’ve seen in the last 10 years. Some of the McDonald’s were trading in the low to mid-four cap rates.”

    Although demand remains strong, Steve Boyle, managing director of Edens, cautions: “In micro-markets where there is a proliferation of restaurants in a concentrated area, you have to be careful that the restaurants don’t start taking away market share from each other as opposed to continuing to meet pent-up demand. Initially, a concentration of restaurants is a great thing as it attracts folks and the area becomes a ‘food destination.’ But unless the restaurants offer diversity in price point or concept, they can end up cannibalizing each other.” Edens develops, owns and operates community-oriented shopping centers in primary markets throughout the East Coast.

    Grocery stores have also recognized these trends across the food industry. The Washington D.C. Economic Partnership D.C. Development Report says that 16 new grocery stores have opened in D.C. since 2000. The report also states that there are nine grocery stores currently under construction in the District of Columbia.

    Active in the Market
    Health clubs have been actively expanding in the Mid-Atlantic recently. Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness, Equinox and Planet Fitness lead the way.

    “Health clubs are much more mainstream and accepted now than they used to be,” says Jerome. “If you’ve got vacant anchor or junior-anchor boxes, it’s one of the few viable options that you have.”

    Jerome says that this trend follows the reduced footprints of big-box retailers, such as Best Buy, PetSmart and office supply tenants, which developed new perspectives on optimal store sizes, thanks to changes in logistics and e-commerce. After these retailers downsized, health clubs are one of the few categories of tenants that can occupy large spaces.

    King notes that Fitness 4 Less, a new-to-market retailer for the Mid-Atlantic, has recently opened a 21,750-square-foot location to anchor Regency Centers’ Bowie Plaza. The 102,903-square-foot center is strategically located in Bowie with access to Laurel Bowie Road/Route 197. Within three miles, the average household income is $119,282.

    Not only are health clubs expanding in the Mid-Atlantic, other fitness related chains such as sports stores are also taking notice of the region. Total Hockey, a hockey equipment retailer based in Maryland Heights, Mo., entered the region by opening its first store in metro Washington, D.C., in Rockville at Wintergreen Plaza, which is owned by Fordham Development Co.

    The Development Pipeline
    More than 434,000 square feet of new retail space will be delivered in 2013, according to the D.C.Square95 could include up to 185,112 square feet of retail space at the corner of Worth Avenue and Potomac Mills Circle in Woodbridge, Va. The project is being leased by Next Realty Mid-Atlantic and is owned by Alliance HSP. Development Report. Another 587,000 square feet will come on line in 2014, marking the most retail deliveries in greater D.C. since 2008.

    “Most of the major developments are in markets that are established. They’re dense, they’re solid and the demographics are appealing,” says Jerome.

    One of the largest projects currently available for leasing is Square95 in Woodbridge, Va. Other major development projects include The Wharf in Washington, D.C., and Pike & Rose in Rockville, Md. (See inserts on the projects at the end of this article.)

    JBG Rosenfeld is developing the 260,000-square-foot Downtown Crown in Montgomery County, Md., which will be the center of a 182-acre mixed-use development.

    A joint venture between American Sekisui House and community leaders began construction on Phase I of Downtown One Loudoun in July. Upon completion, the 358-acre project in Loudoun County, Va., will be approximately 1 million square feet and include 1,040 residential units and 702,000 square feet of retail.

    Carl M. Freeman Companies is working on St. Mary’s Place, a 30,000-square-foot center in Beltsville, Md. Aldi Grocery Store will anchor St. Mary’s Place. Lipsky says the company is close to signing a fast/casual restaurant and the remaining space will be home to tenants that provide neighborhood services.

    When analyzing what tenants to sign at these new centers, the emerging trend is that convenience is key. Developers are working together to add not only more service tenants like fuel centers, dental companies or banks, but also bringing an office or residential component to each project.

    Union Market, which Edens is developing, is located in the meat-packing district of D.C., historically known as Florida Avenue Market. Boyle says the location will allow the property to retain its authenticity and celebrate its food roots. The company is finalizing plans for the project, but expects to bring boutique hotels, restaurants and retail space to the market.

    In addition, online retailing has had a great impact on the market and has forced retailers and center owners to analyze the function that each tenant plays within a center. More thought is being allotted to the tenant lineup since stores are downsizing while simultaneously expanding their online presence in order to provide the perfect in-store selection for the consumer. This has caused many developers to renovate their properties to provide a new customer experience by bringing the perfect mix of a variety of tenants.

    Rick Cobert, deputy director for economic development for Stafford County, Va., says, “The 21st century retailer is focusing more attention on building the long-term customer relationships. In Stafford County’s expanding market, retailers are using the Internet to attract customers to their stores from Panera Bread’s ‘MyPanera’ card to loyalty programs at specialty stores and major chains.”

    Combined Properties is redeveloping Fairfax Circle in Fairfax, Va., from an outdated center that offered approximately 100,000 square feet of retail to a fresh-faced mixed-use property. The new Fairfax Circle will include approximately 400 residential units with 80,000 square feet of ground-level retail. The company’s main goal is to alter the tenant lineup by bringing convenience tenants and new restaurants to the center.

    Kimco also has a redevelopment project in the works to expand Wilde Lake Village Center in Columbia, Md. When the center’s anchor, Giant Food, closed its doors in 2006, business gradually declined at the center and forced the company to focus its efforts on revitalizing the property.

    Wilde Lake Village Center currently includes 99,000 square feet, but will be expanded to include 60,000 square feet of retail, 21,000 square feet of office space and 250 residential units. David’s Natural Market, which anchors the center, will move to a larger space. The company is also adding a new national drugstore chain to the project. Other renovations include upgrading all of the retail buildings and adding a parking garage, as well as expanding the courtyard and existing parking. The redevelopment will begin in spring 2013.

    “People are coming here and settling as opposed to leaving. Neighborhoods are emerging in ways that aren’t as transient as they once were,” says Boyle. “So, while we remain a very transient population overall, there’s a fundamental component of our population that’s staying and calling D.C. home.”

    Supply vs. Demand
    Although there is a significant amount of new construction under way, the region is experiencing a lack of supply that is unable to meet the immediate demand for retailers wanting to enter the market. As such, the population suffers from a lack of choices in the market and often has to travel long distances to shop.

    “D.C. is grossly underserved,” states Jerome. “The projects that are being developed or projects that exist certainly have great appeal for retailers.”

    Galloway agrees: “The new construction is still at a trickle compared to what it was during 2002 to 2007. Our biggest challenge in this market is that we have more demand than we have available space.”

    The densest markets — where demand really outstrips supply — are Fairfax and McLean, Va.; Bethesda, Md.; and downtown D.C., according to Galloway.

    “The supply of retail relative to the population compared to the national average is certainly an underserved number,” says Boyle.

    Nationally, the average is 23.1 square feet of shopping center space per capita, according to ICSC. This compares to 8.2 square feet of retail per capita in D.C., according to the D.C. Development Report.

    Because of the shortage of retail spaces, tenants have to look at markets that they would have ignored in previous years. Retailers must expand their outlook in order to look at other locations that had previously been tossed aside.

    “We are continuing to see more interest from typically mall-oriented retailers that are considering upscale, lifestyle-oriented strip center projects and well-heeled main streets,” says Weilminster. In particular, big-box retailers that have launched smaller prototypes are taking advantage of this trend. This includes Petco’s Unleashed concept that provides the same products as Petco in a smaller package. Petco Unleashed has two locations in the District of Columbia in Georgetown and Washington NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue).

    Retailers are expanding their target areas in places like Stafford County, Va., by looking at locations that had been overlooked in recent years. The county ranks 13 on The Washington Post’s national list of the highest income counties for 2011 with an average annual income of $91,348 per household. Cobert says that retailers are drawn to sites in the Southern Gateway where two major projects are now under way — Celebrate Virginia North, a 2,400-acre mixed-use development, and Carter’s Crossing, a 35-acre retail center. Retailers are now considering opening locations in the Quantico Corporate Center, which is an 85-acre, mixed-use property. The retail portion of the center is approximately 8,000 square feet, but due to the area demographics and its location adjacent to several major shopping centers on Garrisonville Road, retailers are attracted to it. Retailers realize not only can they capitalize on the industrial and office tenants that also work there, but the growing residential base as well.

    Mid-Atlantic retail is proliferating in a way that offers more alternatives for new retailers. The 14th Street Corridor in the northwest part of Washington, D.C., is another submarket that is gaining some attention in the Mid-Atlantic. The 14th Street Corridor, or U Street Corridor, has always been thought of as a residential part of the city, but Boyle says retailers, such as Trader Joe’s, are considering the area.

    Frederick, Md., is also witnessing a substantial amount of growth in the city’s historic downtown district. Business development specialist Heather Gramm with the city of Frederick’s Department of Economic Development says the city’s 40-block downtown district is the largest historic district in Maryland and is starting to attract larger national tenants looking to take advantage of infill projects.

    “Downtown we have about 130,000 square feet of new retail and office projects that are planned or under development right now,” says Gramm. “We’re seeing more of the infill places with larger footprints for the regional and national brands as well.”

    What was once home to only niche retail, Frederick’s historic downtown district is now embracing national tenants looking to expand, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

    Focusing Elsewhere
    In addition to retailers having to look elsewhere to expand their portfolios, investors also have to branch outside of their core product and look at Class B and C assets in order to increase their holdings in the Mid-Atlantic.

    “There are many investors looking for A properties in the region, but not many available to purchase,” explains Lipsky of Carl M. Freeman Companies. “This is driving up the prices on A centers and pushing many developers like us to pursue products in B and C locations.”

    Because there is minimal opportunity in the market, there are a lot of potential buyers, especially institutional players, that are active when an asset comes to market. Due to high demand, investors have started expanding their focus to secondary submarkets in order to expand their presence in the region. This is true for larger assets and for smaller, single-tenant assets like the ones Calkain specializes in.

    Hipp of Calkain notes, “A year ago people were just focusing on the core markets, but because of a lack of product out there, people are now starting to look at the tertiary markets at almost the same cap rate today that they would see in a core market.”

    Due to the multitude of players in the game, the return on investment for new acquisitions is very low due to these compressed cap rates.

    “From a buyer’s perspective, there is such little supply available that pricing expectations from the limited sellers makes it very hard to put deals together with acceptable long-term returns,” says Weilminster.

    Glazer elaborates, “With strong demand for existing Class A properties, pricing levels are strong and properties are generally acquired by the larger players.”

    Pension fund advisors and REITs are the most active in the market because institutional buyers can afford to pay more for strong Mid-Atlantic properties. These companies must get their funds in the market to provide the expected returns to their investors.

    “There was a belief that during the recession developers would have issues with financing and capital, and there would be opportunities for financially stable, well-capitalized owners to acquire assets, but that hasn’t happened,” says Jerome.

    The Mid-Atlantic continues to present multiple options not only for sellers in the market, but expanding retailers looking to capitalize on favorable demographics.

    Pike & Rose
    The 24-acre Pike & Rose development in Rockville, Md., has brought new-to-market retailers, such as iPic Theaters, to the area. Federal Realty Trust began construction last July. The retail portion will be complete in summer 2014.Federal Realty Investment Trust is developing Pike & Rose, which is located in the White Flint District of Montgomery County, Md. The project will deliver 155,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet of office space and 500 residential units in Phase I. The 24-acre development has the build-out capacity of 430,000 square feet of retail.

    Pike & Rose broke ground in July 2012, and remains a prime target for potential retailers due to its easy access to interstates 495 and 270, as well as the new Inter-County Connector. The first phase of the project will be complete in summer 2014.

    iPic Theaters was one of the first retailers to sign on to the project, bringing its first location to the Washington, D.C., market. iPic Theaters offers upscale auditoriums and high-end dining options, as well as a cocktail lounge.

    Chris Weilminster, senior vice president of leasing for Federal Realty Investment Trust, says the company is targeting well-known, soft-goods retailers for the remaining spaces.

    “Pike & Rose will be a collection of iconic retailers that appreciate being in a special project mixed with great entertainment venues, high-end health clubs and spa services, as well as national and local restaurants.”

    Pike & Rose is expected to be the anchor project for all of the development that is planned to occur in the White Flint District during the next 15 years.

    The Wharf
    A significant development in the pipeline is The Wharf, a 27-acre, mixed-use waterfront development in D.C. The $1.5 billion project will begin construction in 2013 and will feature 3.2 million square feet along the Potomac riverfront. Phase I of the development will be complete in 2016.

    David Brainerd, managing director of Madison Marquette, which is developing the project with PN Hoffman, says the project will attract D.C.’s rising number of educated, high-income young professionals who are interested in urban living.

    When fully developed, The Wharf will include more than 1,350 residential units, 358,000 square feetThe Wharf, a $1.5 billion, 27-acre mixed-use project along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., will break ground this year and be complete in 2016. of retail, 960,000 square feet of office space and three hotels totaling 680 rooms. Additionally, the development will be home to a concert venue and a 13,000-square-foot artisanal food market.

    “The Wharf will establish a new world-class neighborhood along the city’s southwest waterfront and will both add to and preserve such iconic institutions as the municipal food and fish market, and the 7th Street Park and Landing,” says Brainerd.

    New York-based Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut & Kuhn has overseen design efforts for The Wharf, which will seek LEED Gold certification. The project will feature tree-lined streets, in addition to waterfront walkways and retail options with access to water taxis and ferry services.

    — Brittany Biddy

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  130. A poorly reported core dump. Lime Fresh has been closing stores, perhaps, because it’s a weak concept–strip mall Mexican that tries to be more than Chipotle, but isn’t except for the price. Shohouse has been open in Dupont for several years now, but I haven’t seen a lot of branches. Most of the supers under construction in DC are either replacement stores for Giant or Safeway or small format Wal-Marts. the 14th Street corridor has a lot of retail–most of it related to furniture and home furnishings.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Rich, What can I say, I always question the reporting. Despite that, I post these articles for open & thaughtful descussion.

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  131. Malls, shopping centers getting new life as residential and retail projects
    By D.J. O’Brien, Published: April 28

    Forest City Enterprise’s recent proposal to convert the 579,000-square-foot Ballston Common Mall in Arlington County into a major mixed-use multifamily-retail project is the latest local example of a national trend that shows no signs of letting up. More and more older enclosed malls are being phased out and redeveloped into pedestrian-friendly, open-air formats that blend residential, retail and office space to attract workers, residents and shoppers.

    According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, City Creek Center in Salt Lake City is the only traditional enclosed mall to be built in the United States since 2006.

    Developers and planners are rethinking the mall concept, integrating different property types in hopes of achieving higher occupancy rates and higher rents. Office tenants and residents enjoy the convenience of having multiple retail and dining options nearby, while retailers and restaurants like the increased foot traffic from having both workers and residents on site.

    The change is evident in the percentage of the region’s retail space included in such mixed-use projects. Between 2007 and 2011, the percentage of all retail space built in the region included in such projects averaged 26 percent between 2007 and 2011. Since then, approximately 66 percent of all retail space built in the region has been part of a mixed-use project.

    The total is expected to increase once plans are finalized and construction begins on two notable redevelopment projects, White Flint Mall in Rockville and Landmark Mall in Alexandria.

    Other mall makeovers currently underway in the metropolitan area include the former Springfield Mall, where Vornado Realty Trust is razing and rebuilding 706,000 square feet of shopping, theater and restaurant space between an existing Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Target anchors. The project’s transformation into Springfield Town Center is slated to include 2,000 apartments, a 225-room hotel, and 1 million square feet of office space.

    In Laurel, a partnership between Greenberg Gibbons, Somera Capital and AEW Capital is turning Laurel Mall into Towne Centre at Laurel, a mixed-use project with a 435-unit apartment complex and 400,000 square feet of retail space. Groundbreaking is expected soon.

    The trend even extends to former retail strip centers, such as Federal Realty Investment Trust’s redevelopment of the former Mid-Pike Plaza in White Flint into “Pike and Rose.” The project’s master plan calls for 1,500 residential units, 1.1 million square feet of office space, a 350-room hotel and 450,000 square feet of retail anchored by a 44,000 square foot state-of-the-art iPic Theatres complex.

    This development trend shows no signs of slowing down as developers and retailers compete to stay one-step ahead of consumers’ ever-changing shopping and housing preferences.

    D.J. O’Brien is a research manager with CoStar Group in Washington.

    © The Washington Post Company

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  132. Springfield Mall was THE mall of choice for family and for shopping back in the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s. It was safe, accessible, clean, well-maintained and with lots of good shops and eateries. The mall had a Hot Shoppes and later, a Rainforest Cafe. And it was one of several area malls that had a Bennigan’s back in the day. They used to have nice after-work happy hours daily, good beers and cocktails and the world’s best, freshest, tastiest extra well-stocked salad bar. I actually ended up getting quite intoxicated there with a friend once back in 1993. lol. Ugh… that, I suppose, I could have skipped. But anyhoo, I miss all of Springfield Mall’s nice hangouts and eating spots, especially Bennigan’s. Of course all Bennigan’s are now long gone from the area, save one, but it’s way the hell out in Clarksburg, Maryland.

    Springfield Mall also had a massive, double-suite Fun Time game arcade that would pack out to the rafters evenings and weekends. It was literally on both sides of the corridor. It was huge!

    And let’s not forget Chuck Mangione. He made his big free (free to the public, at any rate) concert appearance in the main court area at Springfield Mall back in the very early 1990’s. Springfield Mall was the place!

    Alas, in times past, Springfield, Virginia was one of the very desirable close-in areas near to DC/metro. But by and by, the surrounding neighborhoods went to shit, crime rates in and around the mall rose sharply and retail began to taper off. It’s all so much dirtier and smellier and more run down than the good ol’ Springfield I remember as a teen. But I guess that’s just the way things go. Old, wholesome, clean money dies or moves further out while new, trashy, under-educated (lack of) money pushes in and sucks life and wealth out of a decaying community. It isn’t right. It just isn’t right.

    Back in the day, Northern Virginia was a select social, economic and cultural gem of the eastern seaboard. Nowadays, well, I just don’t know anymore. Good, clean, safe, healthy, thriving Northern VA communities are much harder to come about than they were back then. Such bastions do still exist, yes, but unfortunately, the city of Springfield proper is no longer one of them.

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  133. PREIT To Acquire Springfield Town Center For $465 Million

    Springfield, Va. — PREIT has entered into an agreement with Vornado Realty Trust to acquire Springfield Town Center in Springfield for $465 million. The approximately 1.4 million-square-foot mall is comprised of 642,000 square feet of anchor space and 703,000 square feet of non-anchor space. Target, Macy’s and JC Penney anchor the mall and remain operational while the rest of the mall undergoes renovation. Other notable retailers include Michael Kors, H&M, Chico’s, Pandora, Francesca’s Collection, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Yard House Restaurant, Wood Ranch BBQ, LA Fitness, Regal Cinema, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Topshop. The transaction is expected to be funded using $125 million in PREIT common and preferred operating partnership units, with the balance expected to be paid in cash. Vornado will continue the ongoing renovation of the retail center’s non-anchor space. PREIT and Vornado will jointly lease the space as a result of the transaction. PREIT has the capacity to develop 3 million square feet of additional retail, residential, office and/or hotel space, in compliance with existing zoning.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    http://www.springfieldtowncenter.com

    [Reply]

  134. Vornado sells another mall.

    Pyramid Management Group Acquires Interest In Manassas Mall

    Manassas, Va. — Pyramid Management Group (PMG) has acquired an interest in the Manassas Mall, in Manassas, Va. PMG will be taking over all leasing and management of the 935,000-square-foot regional shopping center. The closing, which took place on Feb. 28, is Pyramid’s first foray into Northern Virginia.

    Pyramid plans to remix the mall with a balanced mix of fashion retail, dining and unique entertainment offerings. In addition, Pyramid will update the shopping center with a redesigned interior, new common area with soft seating and a modernized food court.

    Pyramid, known for developing Destiny USA in Syracuse, N.Y., is the largest privately owned developer of shopping centers in the northeastern United States. Pyramid has focused on retail-based tourism and entertainment industry for more than 40 years.

    “We look forward to evolving the Manassas Mall into a shopping center the city of Manassas and its residents deserve,” says Stephen Congel, CEO of Pyramid Management Group.

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  135. Here is a vintage commercial for Another Universe, my favorite former store from the old Springfield Mall:

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  136. Let me know when they decide to bring back one of the best stores at Springfield Mall in the 90s — Another Universe.

    The “X-Men Wedding” event was massive.

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  137. Washington Post

    Can a shopping mall renovation revive a tired suburban community?

    By Antonio Olivo June 27

    It is a far cry from the leafy parks, glistening office buildings, hotel and homes that are planned for the Springfield Town Center, part of the rebirth of a once-popular shopping mall that was darkened by crime and economic decline.

    But with a new mall layout, more projects on the drawing board and talk of a potential home for the FBI’s new headquarters across the street, the 78-acre site is again drawing crowds, sowing a mixture of hope and skepticism in an older suburb struggling to recapture the glory of its better days.

    At a time when many traditional shopping centers are dying, the eight-month-old Springfield Town Center mall is being touted as a catalyst, a destination even before the hoped-for high-rise projects and pedestrian-friendly streets transform the area into something that looks more like a real town center.

    [Walking and biking in Tysons Corner?]

    “It’s taken way too long to get to this point, but we’re there now,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee), who grew up in Springfield and represents the residents of the brick rambler homes and quiet neighborhoods that dot the area, just off the “Mixing Bowl” interchange of Interstates 495, 395 and 95.

    But Carolyn Clark, whose Olive Vine Gourmet wine store is one of the new mall’s homegrown offerings, said that with some storefronts empty, the economic rebirth is still a spark rather than a steady flame.

    “Things aren’t busy enough,” Clark said one recent afternoon, standing with two workers in an otherwise empty store. “We’re not booming like we’re supposed to be.”

    From boom to bust

    In its heyday, the Springfield Mall was a cradle of suburban memories — a place of first dates at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, long afternoons at the arcade and shopping for prom outfits. Princess Diana and Prince Charles visited during their 1985 U.S. tour, lending glamour to a place that helped define American suburban culture.

    Farrell’s hummed with activity, with lines out the door on Saturday afternoons, said Springfield resident Lisa Wheeler, who worked in the store as a teenager.

    Whenever someone ordered the restaurant’s specialty — a 30-scoop concoction called “The Zoo” — workers would put the dessert on a runner and parade it throughout the mall, ringing cow bells for astonished shoppers, before returning to the restaurant and delivering it to its owner.

    “It was just a wild place,” Wheeler said.

    Birgitt Wolf, who also lives in Springfield, got a foothold in American consumerism at the mall, when the Montgomery Ward store that operated there approved her first-ever credit card.

    “My first impressions of the mall were all impressive and rather grandiose,” said Wolf, who migrated to the United States from Germany in 1992.

    The luster gave way to darker moments in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The mall roofs leaked during rain. Fights broke out in stores. Car break-ins and parking-lot carjackings became a regular worry.

    Stores closed one after another, some replaced with niche retailers selling cheap, trendy items to teens.

    In 2007, a 19-year-old Falls Church man was fatally shot outside a mall restaurant by alleged members of a rival gang, a crime that shocked longtime mallgoers.

    The following year, two teenagers abducted a 60-year-old Alexandria woman walking to her car on a Saturday afternoon, driving her in her vehicle to the ATM while she frantically called her husband to ask him for the PIN.

    Barbara J. “Bobbie” Bosworth died of injuries suffered when her abductors crashed her car.

    Evidence gathered for a civil suit indicated that Bosworth’s captors obtained a fake gun at a store in the mall just before the abduction and that the mall manager had repeatedly told his supervisors there was a growing problem of gang activity at the mall.

    [The death of Bobbie Bosworth]

    As the mall declined, Springfield residents increasingly shopped at Tysons Corner or headed to the newer stores in the Kingstowne planned community a few miles away.

    Then the 2008 recession gutted home values, paving the way for a wave of foreclosures and business failures. The mall became an emblem of the community’s broken state of mind.

    “We had kind of lost our civic pride,” McKay said. “We weren’t feeling good about living in Springfield.”

    Better days ahead

    Vornado Realty Trust bought the mall for $36 million in 2006, with plans to re-imagine the area into a village of high-rise apartments, office towers and parks similar to Crystal City in nearby Arlington.

    Fairfax County officials approved the zoning in 2009. But the recession stalled plans for the mall renovation that was to be the first stage of the project.

    The mall closed for renovation in 2012 and reopened last October. It has a movie theater with reclining seats, a spa, a children’s lending library and a lounge area with a gas fireplace.

    In March, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust — which owns several large malls around the country — purchased the mall and surrounding land from Vornado — for $465 million.

    Today, “coming soon” signs are posted throughout the two-level shopping center, advertising new businesses. The food court is starting to fill. The mall’s general manager, Eric Christensen, said the hope is to keep people lingering.

    “We want to create this as a destination that people will seek out because they want to be here, not just for shopping, but because it really is a town center,” he said.

    [The mall will host some World Police & Fire Games this month]

    Business experts say the town-center concept is a way for malls to stay relevant in a retail landscape that is increasingly dominated by online sales, and where older shopping centers face competition from newer neighborhoods that mix stores, homes and parks in close proximity.

    Since 2010, at least two dozen enclosed shopping centers around the country have closed, and an additional 75 are in danger of failing, according to Green Street Advisors, a California-based real estate research firm.

    In response, mall developers are building their stores around housing, restaurants and other attractions, said Maureen McAvey, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute.

    “If your mall is going to be successful, it has to be a place that is rich in amenities, where people want to go,” McAvey said.

    Christensen, the mall manager, said there are no definite dates yet for building the homes, retail space and offices. “We’re working through a lot of the leasing and redevelopment still,” he said.

    Springfield’s real estate market has lagged behind markets in other parts of Fairfax, with fewer homes and other amenities under construction. That puts extra pressure on the mall to thrive.

    McKay is optimistic, saying the reopening has inspired local developers to approach him with proposals for buildings. There are plans, for example, for four office buildings near the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station, about half a mile from the mall.

    And if Springfield beats out two Prince George’s County sites and lures the new FBI headquarters, the area will experience an influx of thousands of workers who will need places to shop, eat and live.

    But some community leaders take a more tempered view, having watched other revitalization efforts in Springfield start and fail. Most notable among them: Plans for a large development about five miles from the mall that included homes, offices and stores collapsed after the investors pulled out in 2008.

    “That one hurt,” said Bruce Waggoner, president of the Springfield Civic Association. He calls himself a “healthy skeptic” of the town center’s long-term chances.

    The seeds of success

    On a recent Saturday at the mall, Frank Constantino, 77, basked in the tranquility of a garden-like seating area as he waited for his wife to finish an errand.

    “There’s a lot of optimism in the area,” he said about the new mall’s effect on his community. “To get on the Beltway and go to Tysons? A lot of people just want to stay around here.”

    But Jonelle Epps, who brought her daughter from Woodbridge, Va., to find a dress for her eighth-grade dance, wasn’t impressed. “The parking is terrible,” Epps said. “In the stores that they have opened, I didn’t find anything in them.”

    Outside at the farmers market, sausage vendor Ed Smith did his best to lend folksy charm to the experience.

    “Y’all come back. And tell your friends about us,” Smith told one woman, who wiped her brow in the heat rising from the asphalt.

    Smith, a former tobacco farmer in South Hill, Va., who recently turned to sausage making, said he’s relying on the town center to boost his income.

    “The people here are super nice,” he said. “They seem excited to be here. I just hope they keep feeling that way.”

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  138. I had forgotten about the numbered entrances. This is one of two malls I went to often as a kid in the early to mid 1980s. (The other was Fair Oaks Mall, which was pretty new when we arrived in the area in 1982.) I remember the closed Korvette’s, too. My Dad and I went to see Return of the Jedi at Springfield Mall while the pet store located in the mall cleaned up our Scottish Terrier puppy. I haven’t been there since the spring of 1986 when food courts were the latest thing in mall development.

    [Reply]

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