ROSE HILL, VA — The Rose Hill Mall could be in for an overhaul if a redevelopment proposal gains community support and moves forward. The mall owner is currently seeking feedback from the Rose Hill Civic community before proceeding.
The mall owner Combined Properties presented the proposal at a meeting of the Rose Hill Civic Association on March 23. The plan foresees the replacement of the existing shopping center by two apartment buildings with parking lots and commercial spaces on the ground floor. A third building would be intended to house a grocery store or other large retail business. The existing McDonald’s would remain at the corner of Franconia Road and Rose Hill Drive. The proposal also sets aside open space for pedestrians and community events along Rose Hill Drive.
The existing Rose Hill Mall is an approximately 154,000 square foot strip mall anchored by Safeway, as well as home goods store Walgreens, Dollar Tree and Tuesday Morning. The mall is surrounded by houses and close to the Rose Hill apartments. The John Marshall Library and several public schools are minutes away.
Greg Riegle, a land use lawyer representing Combined Properties, said at the March 23 meeting that retail has seen some of the most significant changes of the pandemic.
“We’ve all found that we buy differently, we engage differently,” Riegle said. “That’s a lot of what brought us here tonight in terms of repositioning Rose Hill to respond to those realities and perhaps respond to more changes to come.”
During initial discussions, Riegle said he and Rose Hill Civic Association President Carl Sell agreed that the mall should remain economically viable. Riegle said the redevelopment would only provide retail opportunities for now, but a gathering space for the community.
“It’s more than just a fresh coat of paint or reworking the panels and things like that,” Riegle said. “We think it’s hard work, and it’s an investment that Combined is willing to make in the community.”
Andrew McIntyre, executive vice president of east coast development for Combined Properties, said the changing nature of retail didn’t start with the pandemic. For a decade, Combined Properties has been anticipating a decline in retail users. This trend has been accentuated during the pandemic.
Landlords have also seen businesses struggle with rent as early pandemic restrictions prevented certain types of businesses from opening up to customers. McIntyre said Combined Properties has about 580 tenants across its mall, and about 85% of those businesses applied for rent relief at the height of the pandemic. Combined Properties was able to help most tenants through methods such as rent deferral or cost absorption.
If the Rose Hill Mall redevelopment goes ahead, it could start in 2027 at the earliest with construction taking 24 to 32 months, according to the civic association.
Combined Properties has previously worked on two recent mixed-use developments in Northern Virginia. The owner is also behind Scout on the Circle Apartments in Fairfax City and the future South Alex on Richmond Highway, both developments for residential and commercial use. South Alex was the site of a massive fire in 2020, but Combined Properties worked to rebuild the development. This development is on track to open this summer.
Combined Properties is seeking community input through the Rose Hill Civic Association before moving forward. Combined Property Redevelopment illustrations are not final proposal plans. See the images presented during the meeting here.
Patch contacted the Rose Hill Civic Association for further comment on the association’s position on the potential redevelopment.