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The Williamsburg Outlet Mall will be closing its doors for business Dec. 31 this year.
A local, family-owned group, 6401 Richmond Road LLLP purchased the mall in August 2003. Mary Digges, general partner in the LLLP, said the property was originally purchased as a redevelopment opportunity, but instead the mall continued to operate.
The mall was at about 60 percent occupancy when it was purchased. At the prime point of the LLLP’s ownership, the mall surpassed the 90 percent occupancy mark. Now out of more than 70 retail spaces, just 18 are occupied, including a candy dispensing station and three businesses Digges owns.
A lack of retailers coming into the mall has led to its closing, Digges said.
“It’s not being closed because someone wants it empty; it’s being closed because it costs me too much to keep it open,” Digges said.
The decision to close was not easy for her to make: She wants to continue to support the businesses in the mall. All sidewalk sales and customer appreciation events the mall has held in the past will continue throughout the remainder of the year.
In response to rumors last September among the mall’s merchants that the mall was being sold, Digges said she warned them it would have to close at some point if the mall could not attract new merchants — not that the mall was definitely closing. Last week, Digges told the merchants the mall would close at the end of the year.
“How much can you continue to lose every month until you make the decision?” she asked.
Overall, Digges wants to be as accommodating as she can to the existing merchants and give them the best sendoff possible. The holidays typically bring the best business while the early months of the year are slower. With the mall closing in December, the stores get to see one more rush of good business and can move out in January and February when things slow down, she said.