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Tysons may be all the buzz in the Northern Virginia retail world, but big changes are happening in Fairfax, too. (If you ask nicely, maybe your Silver Line driver will take a detour.)
The second-largest mall in Virginia—Fair Oaks—is finishing a multi-million dollar renovation to modernize and bring in more light (bad news for the Macy's lamp section). The 34-year-old, 1.6M SF mall, owned by Taubman, now has bigger skylights, lounges with comfy seating (seen here), free wi-fi and outlets, and several new stores and restaurants. Whiting-Turner will finish most of the renovations by November.
Marketing and sponsorship director Ed Cassidy says several of Taubman’s malls are going through similar renovations. Destination shopping is making a comeback, and the mall has worked on moving around stores and bringing in new restaurants like Kona Grille, On The Border, La Crepe Bistro, and Brio Tuscan Grille. While malls like Springfield and Landmark get replaced with mixed-use projects, Fair Oaks is working with what it has. Ed argues that Fair Oaks is a type of mixed-use because it has a DMV and the Children’s Science Museum is coming next spring. Surrounding the mall is 10M SF of office space.
Ed says the mall suffered from a lack of signage or main entrance. People going to the mall to eat at the Cheesecake Factory didn’t realize there were 200 stores like Williams Sonoma and Michael Kors attached to it. The new entrance will have lots of glass and height to it, along with more signs around the circular structure. Ed says the mall will introduce an app this month to give shoppers sale alerts, and some stores will give shoppers a way to buy online in the store to end “retail showcasing.”