University Mall Set for $25 Million Upgrade
Construction begins in June.
University Mall will undergo a $25 million renovation starting this summer.
“Right now, people go right by University Mall without giving a second glance, but this will make people stop,” said Rick Wolff, president and CEO of George H. Rucker Realty Corporation, which owns the mall.
The mall at the corner of Braddock Road and Route 123 was built in the late 1970s. The renovations, which would be completed by the fall of 2013, would bring the shopping center from 125,000 square feet to about 200,000 square feet.
Current tenants, including Giant, Cardinal Bank, and the University Mall Theatre, will remain open throughout construction. Giant will expand their store, while Cardinal bank will move to a new building on property.
“We are still talking to other tenants. We are 80 percent listed now and we are getting a lot of calls,” Wolff said.
The mall will get some aesthetic updates, including the removal of the cedar roof, replaced by colorful awnings over the stores.
“It will be very inviting and a huge change from what it is now,” Wolff said. “Someone said to me it’s not a renovation it’s a transformation. That’s really the case.”
Area residents had the chance to give their input on the redesign over a series of public hearings on the project. Braddock District Board of Supervisor John Cook said that the response from residents has been largely positive.
“I think everyone is looking forward to having it done,” Cook said. “A lot of the concerns they had were met during the planning meetings.”
Some of the concerns included how the project would impact planned road improvements at Braddock and 123, along with improvements at George Mason University, which is just across the street.
“There is now a design on the plan for intersection improvements and University Mall accommodated that,” Cook said. “There has been a lot of cooperation between the county, GMU and the mall on traffic changes. So everyone is working together to make the intersection work better.”