Springfield Mall/Town Center To Begin Renovations in July?

That post title comes with a question mark because we have been promised the renovation since the mall was purchased six years ago.

According to reports from tenants who received their lease-required 120-day notice on Monday, the Springfield Mall—with the exception of the anchor stores Target, Macy’s and JC Penney—will be gutted in July and rebuilt during the next two years around the anchors, with one central entrance.

The Fairfax Times reported that the owner of The Barber Shop and Company, Randy Dingus, said he received his notice and learned about the long-delayed renovation in a meeting with mall management.

“I was in shock,” Dingus said. “It was devastating news. Five years ago the mall told us it would be completing its renovations in sections and asked us to move to another part of the mall. We spent a fortune putting in a new store and now we have to take it back down and then move out completely. The mall pretty much told us ‘so long, see you later.’”

Vornado Realty Trust, the mall’s owner, and Michael Lowe, the mall’s general manager, did not return calls seeking comment.

“That news and that time frame is not inconsistent with what I’ve been told by Vornado,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee). “I know that leases were structured be able to complete the construction. A 10-year redevelopment of the mall, split into four phases, was scheduled to begin this summer,” McKay said.


FHA Fees To Increase April 1

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Monday that the cost of mortgage insurance for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-guaranteed mortgages will increase on April 1, and again on June 1, 2012. The increase is necessary to protect the FHA’s mandated reserves, and, potentially, encourage the return of private capital to the national mortgage market (the idea being that if FHA-insured mortgages are more expensive, others will enter the market to compete).

The “upfront” premium, paid at purchase, will increase from 1.0% to 1.75% on April 1. On a $300,000 mortgage, that’s $5,250 instead of $3,000; however, FHA will still allow the upfront premium to be added to the loan amount so it does not increase the amount of cash a borrower needs to bring to the table (still a minimum of 3.5% of the purchase price).

The “annual” premium, which is now 1.15% of the loan amount if you put less than 5% down, or 1.10% otherwise, will also increase on April 1 by 0.10% for all loans. On the $300,000 mortgage, that’s about $25 per month. On June 1 , the annual premium on loans over $625,500 will increase by another 0.25%. At that point the annual premium rates will be 1.25% for loans under $625,500 and 1.50% for higher amounts, with a small 0.05% discount if you put at least 5% down.

If you are thinking about using an FHA-insured loan to buy a home – and if you don’t have 20% for a down payment, you should be – act now. Your application to a lender to purchase a specific home must be entered by April 1, meaning you can’t wait much longer to start the process. The same advice applies if you are considering a refinance.

Another Card

This one is a birthday card – no, not mine, one given to my wife by one of her “friends.”

She hasn’t had any parts replaced, though some have been disabled. I’ve had only one small part replaced, and another disabled, although it’s certainly true that some others are outdated, and others just don’t work like they used to . . . heh, heh.

Renaming the Parkways (?)

And renumbering them, as well.

The Fairfax County Parkway (Rt 7100), and it’s offshoot the Franconia-Springfield Parkway (Rt 7900) will be renamed and renumbered this Spring. This is one result of converting the roads from “secondary” to “primary” roads so that they can receive additional funding for paving, guardrail and bridge improvements among other things.

Why aren’t they already “primary” roads, you ask? After all, they see up to 75,000 vehicles per day! Well, to be designated primary roads and receive enhanced state and federal funding, they have to meaningfully meet the majority of criteria specified by the Commonwealth Transportation Board; apparently the completion of 7100 finally enabled the criteria to be met.

Pain in the patootie – but perhaps we can now get them repaved instead of merely “potholed.”

The roads are being renamed as follows:

Fairfax County Parkway will become State Route 286, with temporary signs noting “Old Route 7100”;


Franconia-Springfield Parkway will become State Route 289, with temporary signs noting “Old Route 7900.”


Maybe it’s just me, but I like my roads to have a memorable name, and those don’t fit. How about you?

Kingstowne Wegmans Anticipates Spring 2014 Opening

Hilltop Village CenterL.F. Jennings, a Falls Church and Richmond-based general contractor, has started work on the first phase of the 370,000-square-foot Hilltop Village Center in Alexandria. The 33-acre Hilltop site at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Beulah Street has a 100-year history. Originally a chicken farm, it was later used as a quarry, a landfill and a golf course. Hilltop will be a mixed-use development.

The builder says it will construct four buildings for a total of 125,000 square feet of retail. This phase will coincide with the construction of a 140,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store.  The project will also include two bank sites and a future office building. Hilltop is about 67 percent preleased.  Wegmans and other retailers anticipate a spring 2014 opening. Hilltop team members include KLNB Retail, Rounds Vanduzer Architects and Dewberry Engineers.

source: VirginiaBusiness.com