2013-04-24 / Front Page

New retail tenants filling Stonebridge

Economic Development Authority
By Michael Buettner

Davis Davis The developer of the high-profile Stonebridge project may have found a surefire way to lure passing motorists off Midlothian Turnpike and into the former Cloverleaf Mall site.

Project developer Stonebridge Realty Holdings has unveiled a list of businesses that have signed leases for about 80 percent of the 20,400 square feet of retail space in the second phase of the planned $100 million mixed-use project.

The most visible new tenant will be a new stand-alone Krispy Kreme outlet on an outparcel fronting Midlothian Turnpike. The North Carolina company’s signature glazed doughnuts have inspired an almost cult-like following over the years, and new-store openings are often major events. Last year, for example, dozens of customers camped out overnight to be first in line at the opening of a new Krispy Kreme store in Charlotte, N.C.

Stonebridge Realty, the local affiliate of North Carolina-based Crosland Southeast, also said it has signed up enough other tenants to occupy about 80 percent of the space in the six buildings it’s currently putting up within the 83-acre project site. They are:

• Qdoba Mexican Grill

• Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt

• Sleepy’s Mattress Professionals

• Great Clips for Hair

• Subway sandwich shop

• Lee Nails

• Virginia ABC

Garrett Hart, assistant director of the county Economic Development Authority, told the agency’s board last week that leasing agent Thalhimer expects the remaining retail space to fill up as work progresses on the 600 upscale, neo-urban-style apartments planned for the site. He said the apartment developer, Boyd Homes of Virginia Beach, expects to break ground on that part of the project in late July or early August. The first units are expected to be ready for tenants in mid-2014.

Even without the adjoining residential component, Hart said, Stonebridge’s existing tenant, a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace megastore that opened in December, is already pleased with the business it’s drawing.

Hart said Kroger representatives have said the new store is generating about 27,000 checkouts a week, which it considers a high number.

Economic Development Director Will Davis said company officials “are surprised it’s becoming a destination store,” drawing shoppers from farther away than the typical supermarket.

Part of the attraction is the fact that as one of Kroger’s “marketplace” stores, the Stonebridge location offers home furnishings in addition to the usual supermarket inventory. As a result, Hart said, the company is “very much looking forward to the apartments going, because not only can they sell groceries to [the residents], but also furniture.”

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