McLEAN, Va. (AP) Virginia’s largest shopping mall will get a little bit bigger, as Tysons Corner Center announced plans this week to expand with a megaplex movie theater anchoring a new dining and entertainment wing.
The mall, located just outside the Capital Beltway, will renovate and expand the recently vacated J.C. Penney store, with plans for an 18-screen movie theater, five or six new restaurants, a second food court, a bookstore and other retailers.
Construction on the $100 million project is planned to begin in January, with the new wing opening in August 2005. Rochester, N.Y.-based Wilmorite Properties expects the wing to generate 700 new jobs.
The departure of J.C. Penney allowed the mall the opportunity to modernize and expand to meet the needs of an increasingly upscale clientele, said Wilmorite chief executive John Anderson.
”Shoppers today are looking to be entertained, they’re looking to spend their leisure time’ in a mall setting, he said.
The Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County can face heavy congestion at times, and Anderson said the mall is taking steps to ensure that the expansion won’t harm traffic.
Parking at the mall is being increased by 10 percent, even though the mall’s 2.1 million square feet of retail space is only increasing by 5 percent. Also, the road that encircles the mall is being upgraded and mall officials are advocating that Metrorail extend to Tysons Corner, Anderson said.
A movie theater is already located across the street, but Chuck Stilley, president of AMC Realty, said the AMC theater chain is confident their megaplex will succeed because of the customer trend toward megaplex theaters with stadium seating and other amenities.
”The older, sloped floors associated with the old multiplex theaters have really seen their day,’ he said. ”The customer has spoken.’
Tysons Corner is the largest mall in both Virginia and the metropolitan Washington area, and is 10th largest in the nation, said mall spokesman Eric Kulczycky. It draws 20 million shoppers annually.