WALNUT MALL
South Crater Road / US 301 and Walnut Boulevard
Petersburg, Virginia

The second fully-enclosed mall in -or around- Richmond was built on a 16.9 acre tract, located 27 miles southeast of the Richmond CBD, in the Independent City of Petersburg. Encompassing 267,000 leasable square feet and approximately thirty-five stores and services, WALNUT MALL opened for business November 3, 1966.

The single-level, community-class shopping center was anchored by a 1-level (67,000 square foot), Richmond-based Thalhimers and a 2-level (100,000 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Inline stores included Peoples Drug, Rucker-Rosenstock, So-Fro Fabrics, Thom McAn Shoes, Kinney Shoes, Lerner Shops, Sandler's, Morton's Jewelers and Ward's TV & Appliance (a precursor of Circuit City).

The Neighborhood Theatres Walnut Mall Theatre, an east parking area outparcel, opened February 9, 1967. The single-screen (850 seat) venue was twinned in the late 1970s, becoming the Walnut Mall I & II. It would be shuttered in 1990.

Billed as "The Shopping Showplace", WALNUT MALL prospered until the completion of SOUTHPARK MALL {3.5 miles north, in Colonial Heights} in 1989. The newer, regional-class complex immediately snatched the older center's Penney's.

However, the WALNUT MALL Thalhimers remained open, competing with a new SOUTHPARK store, until it was permanently shuttered in May 1991. By this time, WALNUT MALL was virtually vacant. It was closed, boarded-up and sat, derelict and decaying, for 15 years.

The first redevelopment plan, circa-1995, included plans for a new Home Depot and Kroger supermarket. This plan fell through. A second scenario proposed a new public library for the site. This never came to fruition, either.

Demolition of the mall structure finally commenced in August 2006, with the cinema outparcel left standing. This was incorporated into WALNUT CENTRE, an open-air strip complex, featuring a (35,000 square foot) Food Lion supermarket and eleven inline stores. The new shopping venue was dedicated May 23, 2007.

Sources:

www.labelscar.com / "Caldor"
Michael Lisicky
Information from "Straywulf"
www.cinematreasures.org