Home Depot, the Georgia-based home improvement big box retailer with more than $150 billion in revenue, has purchased Charlottesville Fashion Square Mall, mall officials confirmed Wednesday.
The sale does not include the Belk women’s storefront or the old JCPenneys store.
Officials said the more than 30 mall tenants will continue their leases.
“We will keep the community apprised as plans develop,” said Athena Emmans, specialty leasing and marketing manager for the mall.
Home Depot sells tools, construction products, appliances, and services and is the largest home improvement retailer in the country.
Its national competitor, Lowe’s has a retail outlet about a mile away from the mall location.
The mall has recently been the site of a large COVID vaccination center, drive-through COVID-19 testing in the parking lot and has traditionally hosted the annual Toy Lift Christmas toy drive in its parking lot.
The sale is the latest in a series of ownership changes for the once-bustling 570,000-square-foot indoor shopping center.
Like other retailers, Fashion Square has struggled for relevance in the wake of increasing numbers of shoppers using online sales to replace storefronts and the year-long lockdown pandemic.
Built in the early 1980s, the mall was once the moving force in retail sales in Central Virginia. Like other indoor malls across the country, its popularity faded as people switched to online purchases and many retailers left or went bankrupt between 2015 and 2021.
The mall was purchased by Simon Property Group in 1997. It was assigned to Simon’s spin-off company, Washington Prime Group, in 2014. The spin-off company held Simon’s strip center business and smaller enclosed malls.
That company merged with Glimcher Realty Trust in January 2015 and became WP Glimcher.
In late 2019, the mortgage loan secured by Fashion Square was transferred to special servicing after the borrower notified the lender that future projected cash flows would not be enough to ensure compliance with the mortgage loan.
After a request by Midland Loan Services, the special servicer for Fashion Square, a judge in March 2020 approved the appointment of a special servicer.
In 2021, the mall was sold at auction to the lender after the business defaulted on the loan.
It was most recently owned by Charlottesville JP 2014-C21, LLC, a Virginia corporation with its agent located in Overland, Kansas.