Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Is Pottery Barn Coming?

I just returned from an early-morning Spotsylvania round table that the Chamber hosts at Wythestone in Spotsylvania County.

I went to hear any news about the Spotsylvania Towne Centre, which was the subject of the event. A bunch of business owners gather at tables, share cards, stories, and then listen to a guest speaker. Today, it was Mark Gentry, the mall’s property manager.

The mall is a hot topic right not for many reasons: the Harrison Connector Road and the renovation of the mall are just two items of discussion.

People want to know which stores the mall is going to bring to the mall and its new lifestyle center. Is Pottery Barn coming?

Yes, I said POTTERY BARN. Are you all going to be mad at me when I say I don’t even know what Pottery Barn is. I’m not a shopper. Heck, I bought new clothes for the first time in five years because the paper won’t allow me to wear jeans at work.

Anyway, back to Pottery Barn. Gentry said it MIGHT be coming here. The mall is talking to them. They are also talking with Cheesecake Factory, Johny Rockets, Bravo, Ruths Chris Steakhouse and others I never heard of and can’t remember the names.

Ruths Chris said the area is “too green,” Gentry said, and probably won’t come here.

Another interesting factoid is how the bargaining works. These big-ticket stores demand incentives. “You want us, then pay us,” is basically the mantra. It’s similar to what the Board of Supervisors did for Cafaro Company; the county government is giving Cafaro $22 million in incentives if it reaches revenue goals. The mall is the county’s biggest revenue stream for commercial entities. By approving the $90 million renovation rezoning, supervisors are hoping the mall adds even more revenue to their coffers, and they are willing to give some of it back to Cafaro.

Cheesecake Factory wanted at least $20 million in incentives, Gentry said. It’s not an easy call for a developer to make, dolling out that amount of cash to bring a company here that you have to determine will pay off in the long run. So, it’s not clear if Cheesecake Factory is coming, either.

The Muvico movie complex, as we published months ago, is coming. Gentry said it should be open by 2009.

Gentry said 50 percent of the lifestyle center has letters of intent from stores, but he couldn’t name them today. Oh well…we’ll find out sooner or later for you all.

Sorry I couldn’t break any news for you today about which stores are coming. But it’s interesting to me what it takes to get some of these stores to come  here.