By the end of the summer, the Village at Leesburg will have filled more than 70,000 square feet of retail space over the past 18 months, and a visual makeover there will be complete.
The shopping center’s boom comes three years after its draw for retailers lagged and its occupancy hovered between 60 and 75 percent.
“Retailers are attracted by other retailers,” said Jarnell Bonds, senior marketing director for Rappaport, the leasing company that oversees the Village. “They see activity has sparked at the Village, and it’s becoming a magnet.”
That more than 70,000 square feet of new retail that’s arrived during the past seven months included Smokehouse Live, a barbecue restaurant and live music venue that opened two weeks ago.
Others will soon follow.
In the food category, Rita’s Italian Ice soon will be serving up Italian ice and frozen custard next to a new kids play area. Also this summer, the popular Korean-style fried chicken chain BonChon will open its doors. And this fall, Mexican restaurant Plaza Azteca will add yet another dining choice.
“We have great food options in numerous categories,” Village at Leesburg’s Marketing Director Staci Harris said.
Other new businesses include Hair Cuttery, set to open its fourth Leesburg location in June, and Banfield Pet Hospital, which will begin taking customers in the late fall or early winter.
European Wax Center, a salon specializing in wax services, will begin serving its niche clientele in the fall, and Spokes Etc., voted among America’s Best Bike Shops in 2014 by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, will open in August.
“It’s a community center that’s got something for everyone,” Bonds said.
On top of the new business openings, the Village Market Square, right in the center of Village Market Boulevard, is undergoing improvements to entice patrons into enjoying the outdoors.
Enhancements include a children’s pop-up water fountain, with daily bubble shows, to complement the existing kids climbing and play area. An area for expanded outdoor seating options, new landscaping and a dual fire pit and water fountain will be added. Concerts on the Village Market Square also are in the works.
“We wanted to create a warm, welcoming gathering space,” Harris said.
Also, a series of kinetic wind sculptures, some as tall as 30 feet, has been built by artist Lyman Whitaker at each entrance to the main retail strip.
All of the work is slated to be complete before the Village’s sixth annual Summer Block Party on July 25. Another big event in the near future is the June 27 Wine and Food Festival, featuring more than 220 wines from 20-plus wineries.
“We hope to keep up this pace because it’s an attractive demographic,” Bonds said. “It’s becoming an entertainment and dining mecca.”
For more information, go to villageatleesburg.com.