Regency Square Mall has started to undergo a $30 million renovation to refresh its look and bring in new retailers.
Joint owners Thalhimer and Rebkee received approval from the Henrico County Planning Commission to begin the project, which started in April. The mall was constructed in 1974.
Steven Bonniville, the mall’s general manager, said the project’s goal is “to create a dining and retail atmosphere that appeals to our neighbors and shoppers. We envision this as more of a mixed-use development when everything is complete.”
As part of the redesign, Regal Cinemas will replace Macy’s as the mall’s anchor. Moreover, the parking deck on the north side of the mall will be demolished to make way for an additional 12,000 square feet of retail space.
A three-story parking deck will be constructed on the south side of the mall, with apartments to be built around it in the second phase of construction. J.C. Penney will remain as the mall’s anchor retail store because ownership of that building is not under Regency Square Mall.
“This will be a multi-phased project,” Bonniville said. “Our intention is to start the first phase of construction this summer and have that wrapped up by early 2018 when we will move into phase 2.”
The current flyover entrance to the mall will be reconstructed to be an even-level entrance with a traffic signal. New signage and landscaping will come with the redesigned entrance. Sidewalks and other road improvements will be made so that the new entrance is more accessible and visually appealing.
“There will be some impact as we start the demolition and reconstruction of the Quioccasin Road work, but the end result will be worth the minimal impact,” Bonniville said.
“The new navigation patterns will create a more driver and pedestrian friendly environment allowing Regency Square and the surrounding areas to work in harmony more so than they do now. Currently getting from one place to another is difficult and requires a number of turns and stop lights. We are simplifying that for everyone involved.”
The existing vacant Bank of America building will be repurposed to house new retail space, including Chipotle and Seattle-based MOD Pizza. Starbucks will join as a new retailer in a separate building along the entrance.
Local residents are happy to see the mall get a new lease on life. Shauna White, who has been a resident of Henrico County for more than 20 years, is excited to see the facility being renovated.
“This mall has been dying for years. Nobody comes here anymore, so I’m really happy that it is getting a second chance,” she said. White said she will definitely make plans to visit Regency Square Mall more often when the redevelopment is complete.
The mall’s proposed master plan included a request to increase the ceiling heights in both former Macy’s buildings. The proposed increase would accommodate businesses and activities such as movie theaters, breweries, laser tag and trampoline parks, Mark Slusher, vice president of Thalhimer, told the Henrico County Planning Commission in January.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project, saying the area needs revitalization. Bonniville said shopping centers must evolve as the retail landscape changes.
“When Regency was built back in the ’70s, the dynamic was mostly retail with a restaurant or two. As retailers have changed how they operate, so must the rest of the industry,” he said. “This means more experiences, and restaurants play a much more prominent part in that equation. We are adapting in order to bring our customers the experience and shopping environment they want to see.”
Words by Ben Burstein