New Purcellville shopping center breaks ground for facelift
Loudoun Valley Shopping Center was once among the only shopping centers in western Loudoun before the 1980s, according to Mike Holden, whose father owned the shopping center from 1966, when it was built, until 2000. Now owned by White Star Investments Principal Rueben Bajaj, the shopping center is to be renamed The Shoppes at Main & Maple and will be receiving a facelift along with the addition of a Walgreens at the former location of Al’s Pizza.
“The entire center is going to be touched in some sort of way,” Bajaj said. “We are renovating the existing center, giving it a new facade, making it look newer and having architectural wrapping around the columns, taking down the center piece where the sign band is – basically we’re going to make it look pretty.”
According to Holden, whose father Charles Holden Jr. was one of the four people in the partnership that owned the shopping center, started out with a Safeway and a Drug Fair. Over the years, many tenants left. And once the Blue Ridge Shopping Center, where Food Lion, now Bloom was constructed, many stores moved to the newer site.
When Holden purchased the shopping center from his father in 1992, 70 percent of the storefronts were vacant. But by the end of 1992, the stores were again occupied.
It’s been 10 years of push and pull from town residents and tenants since Bajaj’s mother bought the shopping center in 2000.
“There’s been issues, a lot of friction between my company and the town,” Bajaj said. “Those frictions eased over time and I think we all wanted the same thing. At the end of the day we came to an agreement of to what was acceptable to the town and what we could deliver.”
According to Bajaj, the main reason for the renovation of the shops is that he thinks most of the town is tired of looking at an “ugly center.”
“I think we’ve all stared at it and said that’s a 1964 shopping center something needs to be done with it. I just think the prettier the town is when you come into it, the more at home you feel,” Bajaj said. “We’re going to make this place look like it should be and make it look like it belongs in Purcellville.”
The plan is to start with a pad site for Walgreens to move in and then the next step is to expand the BB&T building – adding additional office space.
“It’s very exciting,” Channing Jones, an employee of BB&T said. “It’s been a long time in the making.”
On Aug. 31 Bajaj, Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro and council member Joan Lehr, along with Walgreens Washington, D.C. District Manager Rick Connor put their shovels to work on breaking ground on the new center.
“It’s good for the tax pace, it’s good for jobs and it’s all the things that folks are asking for,” Lazaro said.
Existing stores like the shoe repair shop, Eden Cleaners, the Purcellville Marketplace, BB&T, Mickey’s Barbershop and Vocelli will remain tenants in the new shopping center. During the construction process, each tenant will temporarily vacate so workers can remove asbestos and rebuild.
“People are delighted. Even before I was elected people would say, ‘What are they going to do with that shopping center, it’s so sixties.’ So no doubt about it people are happy,” Lazaro said. “These people are making a great investment too, architecture is very nice, new jobs for the community, and Purcellville has a thriving tax base.”