CLOVERLEAF MALL
Midlothian Turnpike / US 60 and Chippenham Parkway
Chesterfield County, Virginia

Greater Richmond's first regional-class shopping mall was developed by South Florida's Leonard L. Farber, Incorporated. It was built on 83 acres, located 6.5 miles southwest of the center city. The fully-enclosed complex was situated at the "cloverleaf" intersection of US Route 60 and Chippenham Parkway.

The Phase I CLOVERLEAF MALL was officially dedicated in August 1972. Anchoring the single-level retail hub were a 2-level (179,200 square foot) Sears and 1-level (123,000 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Among the forty-five charter tenants were Harmony Hut Records, Peoples Drug, Waldenbooks, Kinney Shoes, Hofheimer's Shoes, Stuarts Ready-To-Wear For Ladies, a Piccadilly Cafeteria and J.G. McCrory 5 & 10. The District Theatres Cloverleaf Mall Cinemas I & II was accessible from the interior mallway.

In July 1973, the Phase II section of the mall was dedicated. Anchored by a 1-level (63,000 square foot), Richmond-based Thalhimers, the addition included twenty stores and services. CLOVERLEAF MALL now encompassed approximately 741,400 leasable square feet and was promoted as "The Fashion Center of Richmond".

Regional-class rivals soon appeared. REGENCY SQUARE MALL {7.2 miles northwest, in Henrico ["hen-riy-ko"] County} opened in 1975. Although not a large-scale shopping center at first, CHESTERFIELD TOWNE CENTER (1975) {4.2 miles northwest, in Chesterfield County} was to eventually expand to over one million leasable square feet.

The Plitt Theatres Cloverleaf Mall Cinema 8, a freestanding multiplex, was built at the southwest corner of the site. This venue showed its first features March 31, 1982. An interior and exterior face lift of the shopping center got underway in February 1987. During the remodeling, the original twin-plex cinema was shuttered and rebuilt into an 8-bay Food Court.

The only anchor store rebranding in the history of CLOVERLEAF MALL took place January 23, 1992, when the Thalhimers chain (which had been acquired by May Department Stores) was merged with Arlington, Virginia-based Hecht's. By this time, the CLOVERLEAF location had been expanded into a 2-level (126,000 square foot) store.

CLOVERLEAF MALL was beginning to decline by 1996, when a brutal double murder occurred at the shopping center. Some locals also feel that the image of the mall was hurt by the proliferation of unruly teenagers who began to frequent the complex, scaring off droves of shoppers in the process. To displel the mall's negative image, a second facelift was performed in 1998.

The renovation failed to reverse the mall's downward spiral. J.C. Penney became the first anchor store to close down, in October 2000. The 8-plex cinema was shuttered in October 2001. Sears, which had been downsized into a 1-level operation, closed in January 2003. Hecht's followed in July.

The final nail in the proverbial coffin was driven in 2003, with the dedication of STONY POINT FASHION PARK {4.1 miles northwest, in Richmond}, a lifestyle-format complex.

In the ensuing years, redevelopment plans for the the anchor-less and abandoned CLOVERLEAF MALL came and went. One of the more noteworthy transpired in 2004, when Richmond-based Faith Alive Ministries offered to buy the mall and convert it into a mega church complex.

The powers that be of Chesterfield County balked at this offer. Some opined that a church-based development, producing no tax revenues, would not be lucrative for area. In the end, the county itself bought the property.

Two different developers were enlisted to assist in remaking the mall, all to no avail. A third company, Charlotte-based Crosland Investments, came on the scene in January 2007. Crosland proposed a mixed-use project, anchored by a 123,600 square foot Kroger Marketplace. Tentatively known as CHIPPENHAM PLACE, it was to include 400,000 square feet of retail, office spaces and three hundred and fifty residential units.

On February 29, 2008, CLOVERLEAF MALL closed for good. In October, STONEBRIDGE MARKETPLACE was adopted as the official name of the complex-to-be. The Great Recession resulted in progress on the project being delayed during 2009 and 2010. CLOVERLEAF MALL sat decrepit and decaying, as proposed demolition dates came and went.

Demolition finally got underway in October 2011, leaving only the Penney's / Firestone Auto Center and Bank of America outparcels standing. Construction of STONEBRIDGE MARKETPLACE Phase 1, which included Kroger, soon began. This store opened for business December 5, 2012.

The first tenants in the second segment of Phase 1 opened in the fall of 2013. Included were Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt, Qdoba Mexican Grill, ABC Liquors, Great Clips and Subway. The first 600 units in the Element at Stonebridge "upscale apartment" complex, were completed in August 2014.

Sources:

www.richmond.com
The Chesterfield Observer
www.labelscar.com / Comment post by "Bobby"
Michael Lisicky
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.cinematour.com
http://www.chesterfield.gov
http://stonebridgerichmond.com


FAIR USE OF CLOVERLEAF MALL IMAGES:

The images from The Chesterfield Observer illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.