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Towne Centre food court's latest improvements
Spotsylvania Towne Centre food court opens; more stores coming

 Callum McDaniel (left) and his brother, Brogan, of Fredericksburg try some samples in the patio area.
SCOTT NEVILLE/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/8/2007

BY EDIE GROSS

Local residents for 40 years, Larry and Rennie Szczur remember when the Spotsylvania Towne Centre was nothing but farmland.

Yesterday, the Stafford County couple joined several hundred others for a peek at the 26-year-old mall's sparkling new food court.

"We're retired," said Rennie Szczur, shrugging. "We don't have much else to do."

Though the restaurants themselves weren't open yet--they're expected to start serving in the next few days--the shopping center provided platters of deli sandwiches, shrimp, pizza and cake to those who turned out for the festivities.

The $6 million food court next to Sears, complete with skylights and seating for 500, is part of nearly $100 million in renovations and additions taking place at the mall.

Parent company Cafaro hopes to unveil its crowning achievement, a 295,000-square-foot "lifestyle center," next fall.

The outdoor, village-type complex is described as "Colonially inspired," with brick streetscapes and old-style storefronts. It will feature high-end retailers and restaurants, a Residence Inn hotel and a 14-screen Muvico movie theater, said Gary Geramita, the project's leasing coordinator.

Cafaro is negotiating with about 50 different retailers right now, he said.

Joy Plaia said she's hoping for a Gap Kids or a Baby Gap. Her friend Sharon Leaman is holding out for a Pottery Barn or a Crate and Barrel.

"I don't know if I'd buy anything, but it's nice to go and look," said Leaman, who also praised the food court. "They've done a nice job. It's upscale."

Visitors to yesterday's event received free tricorner hats. They chatted with actors in Colonial garb while a string quartet serenaded them.

"I think it's beautiful," Rennie Szczur said of the former Spotsylvania Mall's airy, new look. "I don't even feel like I'm in Fredericksburg. It's kind of like I'm on vacation."

Four of the eight slots in the food court have been filled. Geramita also announced expansions and renovations of about a half-dozen existing stores in the mall, as well as the opening of several new ones.

Jesse East of King George praised Ohio-based Cafaro for the improvements.

"To have a company that far away come in here and plug money into the economy so you can one-stop shop, I'm glad they're here," he said.

Cousins Roberta Armstead and Myra Robinson said they're looking forward to the new additions.

"I come out here all the time, and now I'm really coming here," said Armstead of Fredericksburg. "I'm loving it."

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428
Email: egross@freelancestar.com


TOWNE CENTRE PLANS $6 million food court, including Famous Teriyaki & Sushi, Famous Wok, Sbarro and Great Steak and Potato Co.

$12 million remodeling

$80 million "lifestyle center" with high-end retailers, a Residence Inn and Muvico theater

$30 million, four-lane highway connecting State Route 3 to Harrison Road

EXPANDING/REMODELING:

Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Finish Line, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, Friedman's Jewelers and Pearl Vision

RECENT ADDITIONS

Hollister, New York & Co., Charlotte Russe, Cinnabon, Sweet Factory, aerie, Cancun Mexican Margarita Bar & Grill and Buzzy's Play Park

Stores coming soon

Build-A-Bear/Ridemakerz, where children can build toy bears as well as toy cars

Club Libby Lu, a girly shop featuring everything from ear-piercing to dress-up stations

Journeys, a shoe and accessory store

Gordon's Jewelers

Starbucks coffee

Papaya clothing

Le Gourmet Chef cookware and gourmet foods