NORFOLK, Va. — On Wednesday, a decision years in the making was finally approved by Norfolk Economic Development Authority board members: Military Circle Mall will close by the end of the year.
City leaders said many business owners got a letter from mall managers explaining that about 95 businesses will have to relocate before demolition starts on December 31 of this year.
“I’m kind of in shock and even at the same time, I’m not. But this is not a wonderful feeling,” said Sykes Health Zone owner Kathy Sykes.
Sykes said she has owned her health store for five years. Many impacted businesses are inside the mall, but for Sykes, her business sits across from the mall.
“I’m a little disappointed because I just signed a new lease like probably three weeks ago,” said Sykes.
Sykes got her letter to relocate just hours after the decision was made on Wednesday.
“To me, that’s kind of harsh at the last moment to tell somebody you got three months to get out,” said Sykes.
Officials with the Economic Development Authority said a tenant relocation plan is in place for current tenants. Sykes said she will start looking for a new place for her business and her customers.
“My customers are like my family, and I just can’t leave them hanging,” said Sykes.
City officials said once the mall closes, it will remain as a passive open space while ideas are made about the property’s future. There are three big proposed projects under review.
Sykes said she plans to see her future store back inside the Military Circle Mall area.
“I will be a part of the new development,” said Sykes.
In the letter sent to tenants, the mall's management team said they are holding a private meeting for all business owners next week to answer any questions.