Wilmorite Properties, the owner of Tysons I shopping mall, last week announced a $100 million redevelopment plan for the former site of a Woodrop and Lothrop store on the east side of the mall.
Mall management will visit a national leasing convention in Las Vegas next week to seek tenants for about 30 national retailers and another 20-25 restaurants, a mix of both “white table cloth” restaurants and family-style fast food outlets for a new food court.
The new construction will add 50 percent more square footage to the former site of Woodie’s and JC Penney, and ADC will locate an 18-screen movie theater there with stadium seating.
Already 230,000 square feet, another 120,000 square feet will bring the total size to 350,000 square feet.
The theaters plan an August, 2005, opening. Construction will begin in January, 2004. The theaters will have stadium seating with 18-inch risers for unobstructed viewing and “loveseat” seating, with an extra six inches of legroom and armrests that lift out of the way so viewers can sit closer together.
Kathy Hannon, general manager at Tysons, said the addition will take the mall from 10th to sixth place in size in the nation.
Smaller specialty stores reflect Tysons’ market niche as the largest mall in the Washington area and the first to land trendy new stores. But existing retailers don’t want to give up their space, so the new addition will allow a new mix of stores.
Tysons has several opening soon, including Inner Self, a lingerie shop for older women, and Dry Ice, a new store for the rapidly shifting tastes of teenaged girls.
After Woodie’s closed in 1995, JC Penney took over the site, but its attempt to upgrade its image to meet Tysons high-fashion standard was unsuccessful.
Tysons I presently has a food court corridor, which it will keep, but will add two more dining areas, Hannon said.
On the first floor will be five “white table cloth restaurants” and on the third floor of the new area there will be an entirely new food court for families and children with as many as 12 food outlets.
The new construction will consume the at-grade parking lot outside the east entrance to JC Penney and a smaller lot that is rarely used.
To accommodate parking, a new deck will be built on the north side of the expansion, which will have 1,675 spaces.
Hannon showed a photo taken on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving Day last year. It shows the roof of an existing parking deck on the south side of the redevelopment area that is less than half full.
To access that area, a new “speed ramp” will be constructed. Cars can access the roof quickly, without circulating around internal ramps, and the occupants will already be on the third-floor level of the movie theaters, which they’ll access directly from a bridge without going outside.
Hannon said the hours when people go to the movies complement office hours, which will spread the traffic more evenly in the area.