A planned outlet mall in Zion Crossroads is now on "indefinite hold," according to the Daily Progress. Bob Gibson, economic development director for Louisa County, told the Progress that the weakening economy—which is causing closures of retail space nationwide—is the reason why the plan has been axed.
The developer, Land Capital Group, had envisioned a collection of stores like Nike and Coach under the name Merchant’s Walk. But now the company’s put 170 acres of land at the site back on the market. A company spokesperson told the Progress that retailers had always seemed lukewarm toward the project; now that people are watching their budgets more closely, developers’ interest dried up.
Gas prices are another factor, since Zion Crossroads would have been primarily a shopping destination for residents of Charlottesville, Richmond and Northern Virginia; the local population is small.
With the mall project departing, so do hopes for millions in annual tax revenues for Louisa County. The Progress also quotes a local resident who’s disappointed about not getting a place to shop closer to home.
Zion Crossroads is something of a ground zero for the various fallouts of a changing economy. Two months ago, C-VILLE reported on the upcoming closure of a trailer park there. The park’s owner, R.S. Glass, had been put on notice in 2002 by the state Department of Environmental Quality when his water treatment facility was found to be discharging unacceptable levels of copper into a nearby stream. Though Glass’s inability to comply with DEQ standards is his stated reason for closing the park, as the C-VILLE story pointed out, the trailer park site also stood to be a prime spot for development as Zion Crossroads grew its retail and industrial economy.
Now, it looks as though that growth will be happening more slowly than expected.