Fashion Square continues to rent following the purchase of Home Depot | Community

BRYAN MCKENZIE

Even though Home Depot has signed deals to buy Fashion Square Mall, you won’t be buying two-by-fours or washing machines there anytime soon.

Fashion Square continues to operate as usual, continuing with new tenants and leases, according to documents filed with the Albemarle County Planning Department. Mall officials said retailers currently in the mall will continue with their leases.

Court documents obtained by Sean Tubbs of Town Crier Productions and shared with The Daily Progress show the mall has new tenants who are expected to move into the mall while others may leave.

Among those entering the mall is the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, which plans to open a 2,500-square-foot health insurance counseling office in the mall’s south wing, next to the Eddie Bauer store. .

“We are pleased to be able to offer in-person guidance for this open enrollment season and [we’re] grateful to the new owner for working with us,” said Randy Rodgers, Director of JABA’s Insurance Advisory Program. “To be able to provide more people with this important service, we needed more space. And by having this site at Fashion Square Mall, with Zoom and phone appointments, we hope to be able to help many thousands of people.”

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Mall officials confirmed this week that Home Depot, the Georgia-based big-box home improvement retailer with more than $150 billion in revenue, purchased the mall, excluding women’s store Belk and of the former JCPenney storefront. The Belk men’s storefront, which is separate from the women’s store, is included with purchase.

Home Depot’s national competitor, Lowe’s, has an outlet about a mile from the mall.

Attempts to reach Home Depot for comment on the sale or plans for the mall were unsuccessful. The purchase price has not been announced.

Home Depot and the local holding company that bought the mall at a July 2021 foreclosure auction on the county courthouse steps reached an agreement to sell on July 8 this year with a release date. effective July 31, according to Tubbs.

Tubbs was a reporter for local news agencies for 30 years. He now produces the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast.

On September 2, the Charlottesville Circuit Court entered three documents between Home Depot USA and Charlottesville JP 2014-CP, the holding company that previously owned it.

One of the documents is a deed of negotiation and sale without a clear sale price, and another is a detailed list of the plots concerned. Another document releases Home Depot from a ground lease and sublease that governs the property.

This document refers to the bankruptcy of Sears, Roebuck and Company, which anchored one end of the mall and was part of the mall’s original operating agreement.

Sears filed Chapter 11 in US bankruptcy court in 2018 and closed the Albemarle County store early the following year.

Albemarle County online records do not show an updated mall ownership. However, these records often lag behind.

County assessor records show the land the mall sits on is valued at $8,796,000 as of Jan. 1. The building and site improvements are valued at $7,329,900 for a total valuation of $16,125,900.

The assessed value is what the county uses to determine tax bills.

In a separate transaction, Fashion Square Assets LLC, a company associated with developer Richard Hewitt, purchased the former JCPenney space on September 10, 2020.

Earlier this summer, Albemarle County agreed to lease part of the space for use as a public safety facility, including vehicle parking and maintenance bays.

Albemarle County Fire Rescue maintenance crews would be at the site, and Albemarle County Police will station the department’s traffic unit there.

The county will pay $3.1 million to redevelop the site and $558,000 for first-year rent.

The sale is the latest in a series of ownership changes for the once-bustling 570,000-square-foot indoor mall that has struggled for relevance in the wake of online sales and the pandemic.

Built in the early 1980s, the mall was once the driving force of retail sales in Central Virginia. Like other indoor malls across the country, its popularity faded as people shifted to online shopping and many retailers left or went bankrupt between 2015 and 2021.

The mall was purchased by Simon Property Group in 1997. It was awarded to Simon’s spin-off company Washington Prime Group in 2014. The spin-off company owned the business of Simon’s Mall and smaller enclosed malls. It merged with Glimcher Realty Trust in January 2015 and became WP Glimcher.

In late 2019, the mortgage secured by Fashion Square was transferred to special service after the borrower informed the lender that projected future cash flows would be insufficient to ensure future compliance with the mortgage.

After a request from Midland Loan Services, Fashion Square’s special repairer, a judge in March 2020 approved the appointment of a special repairer. In 2021, the mall was auctioned off to the lender after defaulting on the loan.

Sean Tubbs of Town Crier Productions contributed to this report.

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