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RICHMOND, VA-It’s a first for the city. The doors of the 1.2 million-sf Short Pump Town Center, the city’s first upscale open-air shopping mall, have opened two years after the fall 2000 groundbreaking on the project. Six years–from concept to realization–and $360 million in the making, the gargantuan retail and entertainment destination is expected to yield $193.5 million in new net tax revenue for Henrico County over the next quarter-century. “Short Pump is a great example of our commitment to both upholding the tradition and fueling the economic progress that are so much a part of the Richmond community today,” says Charles A. Ratner, president and CEO of Forest City Enterprises, the developer behind Short Pump.

Named for a short-handled water pump from a tavern that occupied the site in days of stagecoaches and the like, Short Pump Town Center sits on nearly 150 acres on W. Broad Street at the intersection of I-64, I-295, and Route 288. Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, and Forest City executive architect KA Associates designed the two-level property, which is highlighted by a pedestrian-friendly urban streetscape style. In addition to its 100-plus specialty shops, 13 fast food and fine restaurants, the mall is flanked by five anchors including a 75,000-sf Dick’s Sporting Goods, a 200,000-sf Dillard’s, a 200,000-sf Hecht’s, a 140,000-sf Lord & Taylor to open in 2004 and a 120,000-sf Nordstrom. For Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom, the store openings mark debuts in the city. “From fine dining to home décor, from accessories to arts to entertainment, from fashion to fun, Short Pump offers what Richmond has been waiting for–great style to match its southern roots,” adds shopping center general manager Craig White.

Development of the ambitious project, however, did not come without its hindrances. The scheduled spring 1999 groundbreaking had to be delayed one year due to a massive overhaul of the design, and accusations that the $22 million in proceeds from Henrico County-issued special assessment bonds that the developer received was illegal. Additionally, the mall lost some big-ticket retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, to another new shopping center–the $115 million, 700,000-sf Stony Point Fashion Park, which is scheduled to open later this month.

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