CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- In his State of the City address, Mayor Rick West has announced that a local developer has purchased Chesapeake Square Mall in Western Branch.
Mayor West said on Thursday that the developer, Kotarides, has bought the entire mall.
"Ever since I joined the City Council, when we heard from the people in Western Branch, the chorus was the same – “Do Something About The Mall.” Well, we’ve heard you and today I’ve got an exciting announcement," Mayor West said.
"The Mall has been sold and its future is already brightening. You heard that right, Chesapeake Square Mall has a new owner, following a purchase by the Kotarides Companies. They’ve got some great things planned for that area, anchoring a continued resurgence of Chesapeake’s western border."
It is not known at this time what the developer plans to do with the mall space.
Kotarides said they purchased the aging mall for $12.9 million.
“The Western Branch community is such as special place and we are committed to realizing the full potential of the area," said Charles Einwick, Director of Finance for Kotarides Holdings. "Through our outreach efforts, we will be working with leaders and residents from throughout the Chesapeake community to revive the stature of Chesapeake Square Mall.”
The developer said it currently has two other projects in the Western Branch area: Clairmont at Jolliff Landing apartment community and the Townhomes at Jolliff Landing. Both are located off Portsmouth Boulevard, west of Interstate 664.
Built in 1989, Chesapeake Square Mall is currently anchored by JC Penney, Burlington Coat Factory, Target, and Cinemark Chesapeake Square.
Businesses inside the mall say an ownership change can’t come soon enough.
“I have lost money with this mall but I’m not going to allow myself to continue to lose money with the mall,” said Mark Skinner, Owner of Addicts clothing store.
His employees were tearing down mirrors and shelves on Thursday. They are just days away from closing, joining the likes of Sears and Macy’s.
Skinner said mall ownership has failed when it comes to marketing their tenants.
“Marketing is the engine to the business, the business is only the body of the car, the marketing is the engine, the car won’t move without the correct marketing, you have to market,” said Skinner.
Skinner said he’s willing to give Kotarides a chance, but the clock is ticking, he wants to hear their future plans within the next few days.
“I do have a U-haul truck, I have another store opening up in Newport News, I’m not going to sit here and not focus on other places where the traffic is very very busy when I know this mall doesn’t have as busy traffic as it could have,” said Skinner.
Greg Edwards has been spray painting shirts at the mall for ten years. He said the first thing the new ownership needs to do is listen to those businesses that have stuck it out.
“We do have the pulse of the community and all of us have good ideas to kind of rejuvenate Chesapeake Square Mall,” said Edwards who owns Greg's Airbrushing.
Edwards also hopes the new owners can finally, once and for all, dispel rumors that the mall is on the verge of closing.
“We need a mall, we are ready to support the mall, we don’t want to lose our mall so to speak, and we believe there is some life in the mall left,” said Edwards.