Fielder Plaza in Arlington is getting a makeover.
The 15-acre shopping center, which originally opened in 1978 on the northwest corner of Fielder Road and Randol Mill Road, will benefit from a reinvestment of more than $5 million from the Weitzman Group.
Today the shopping center is home to a Tom Thumb grocery store, Tandoor Indian Restaurant, Don Mario’s Mexican Cuisine, Starbucks and numerous other businesses. Weitzman’s reinvestment includes adding a new façade and signage, landscaping, parking and lighting to the busy center.
“The renovation is both designed to modernize the center and also make it more attractive for today’s tenants, and today’s customers,” said Randy Stebbins, senior vice president and director of asset management for Weitzman.
One of the biggest changes is the complete modernization of the Tom Thumb to provide customers with a more convenient shopping experience. Tom Thumb, the center’s anchor, held its grand re-opening in July.
Other improvements are aimed at making Fielder Plaza shopping center more pedestrian-friendly, including seating, arbors and green space. In addition, shoppers can see improvements to the parking lot, landscaping and signage as the center progresses.
“The center was in great need of upgrade and maintenance,’ said Bruce Payne, Arlington Economic Development Director. “It was not going to have a positive impact on the neighborhoods and communities surrounding that center for years. It wouldn’t have been good had it continued in its decline.”
The Arlington City Council approved up to $1.25 million in economic development incentives in June 2018 to help revitalize the aging shopping center, which was last updated in 1990, and to protect neighborhood integrity and property tax values. The Chapter 380 Program Agreement provides three separate grants, ranging from $400,000 to $450,000, after major project milestones are achieved.
“Everything being done is focused on making shopping at Fielder Plaza the best possible experience for our customers,” Stebbins said.
As part of the shopper-focused package, a full shopping center digital marketing package has been unveiled, including a website, social media pages, location-enabled retailer outreach programs and promotions.
Payne said that often the city calls on property owners to take full responsibility for renovations of their property. In this case, however, he said an exception was in order.
“This had a neighborhood impact, and we didn’t want to see a neighborhood brought down as a result of the decay,” he said.