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13News Now Vault: Greenbrier Mall celebrates 40 years in Chesapeake

We are diving into the 13News Now archives to show you the opening day of the mall: October 7, 1981.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — October 7 marks the 40th anniversary of Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake.

According to the 13News Now archives, the nearly 900,000 square-foot mall opened for the first time in 1981 to a “sea of cars and waves of people.”

A lot has changed since the '80s. For starters, its longtime anchor store, Sears, closed in 2018 after nearly four decades in the spot. It was an opening-day anchor at the mall, along with other anchor stores Miller & Rhoads (sold to Hecht’s in 1990), and Leggett.

Ethel Lawrence remembers it well. In the late 1980s, she was a custodian at the mall.

“Seen plenty of people walk through this mall," she said.

The mall went through an extensive renovation in 2003. It received a new color scheme, and the former Leggett/Belk/Dillard’s building was converted to a JCPenney store.

Most recently, the Chesapeake City Council withdrew a project proposal that would bring a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium to the old Sears site. Traffic concerns were the main reason the project was shot down.

CBL Properties owns the mall, and while Rosie's proposal didn't work out, Marketing Director Kristina Circelli said they hope to pursue similar projects in the future.

“Really, what we are looking at now is entertainment," said Circelli. "What can we bring to the community that’s new and different.”

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