Military Circle Mall

Coordinates: 36°51′07″N 76°12′22″W / 36.852°N 76.206°W / 36.852; -76.206
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Military Circle Mall
Entrance to food court at Military Circle Mall, July 2011
LocationNorfolk, Virginia, United States
Address880 N. Military Hwy.
Opening date1970
Closing dateJanuary 31, 2023
DeveloperHarvey Lindsay Jr.
ManagementThe Woodmont Company
OwnerTorchlight Investors
No. of stores and services65
No. of anchor tenants6 (3 open, 3 vacant)
Total retail floor area963,000 sq ft (89,500 m2) (GLA)[1]
No. of floors1

Military Circle Mall, known as The Gallery at Military Circle Mall from 2002 to 2015, is a soon to be demolished enclosed shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia. The mall opened in 1970. In October 2016 the Virginia Beach City Council rejected plans for an oceanfront arena. This vote triggered discussions for the Military Circle area to include the construction of a 20,000 seat multi purpose arena. However, rising city debt and other priorities appear to negate any near-term plans for a new arena to the area.[2] The anchor stores are Ross Dress for Less, Optima Health, and Movement Mortgage. There are 3 vacant anchor stores that were once Cinemark, Sears, and Macy's. The mall permanently closed to the public on January 31, 2023. [3]


Military Circle Mall opened in 1970, developed by Harvey Lindsay Jr.[4] Original tenants included J.B. Hunter (later Thalhimers), JCPenney, Smith & Welton, and Leggett (a division of Belk), a Sheraton hotel,[5] and a 6-screen AMC Theatres multiplex.[6] Thalhimer's became Hecht's in 1992,[7] and Macy's in 2006. Smith & Welton closed in 1990.[8] Renovations in 1996 included the addition of skylights in the concourses, new entrances and a 600-seat food court.[9] AMC Theatres, located in the middle of the mall, closed in the mid-90s; a Cinemark multiplex opened a few years later in a different section of the mall.[6]

In 1998, Belk vacated the former Leggett building. A year later, then-owner Urban Retail began a renovation of the center, which included the addition of a Sears in the former Smith & Welton space, returning Sears to Norfolk after its previous store in the city closed in 1993.[10] In 2000, an 18-screen Cinemark movie theater also opened on the site of the former Leggett/Belk.[11][12] Thor Equities bought the mall in 2002[13] and renamed it The Gallery at Military Circle while continuing mall-wide renovation.[4] Ross Dress for Less opened in 2004, taking space previously occupied by a McCrory dime store.[14] KB Toys filed for bankruptcy and closed in 2009, followed soon by the closing of Suncoast, and Waldenbooks stores.[15]

Sears closed its Military Circle store on March 28, 2012 as part of a nationwide series of closings.[10] The JCPenney store at Military Circle was named as one of 33 stores JCPenney announced on January 15, 2014, would close later in the year.[16] The Norfolk Economic Development Authority then bought the vacated anchor that December so the city would have a strategic say in the future of the mall property.[17] The Macy's store closed in early 2016.[18]

On April 16, 2015; it was announced that the entire Gallery at Military Circle property was placed under foreclosure.[19] On July 15, 2015, the entire mall property was put up for public auction in the Norfolk court.[20] [21] However, the mall did not change hands. On January 7, 2016; Macy's announced they were closing the Gallery at Military Circle location and many other locations as part of a massive restructuring;[22] one of three in the Hampton Roads region and one of 40 overall closed in early 2016.

In February 2021, it was announced that the Cinemark 18 was now permanently closed. Signage was removed and a memorial for the theater was erected by former patrons in front of the theater.[23]

Current tenants[edit]

In 2014, the City of Norfolk purchased the J.C. Penney building for $2.5 million.[24][25] As of 2018, Optima Health and Movement Mortgage lease space in that building.[24][26]


  1. ^ "Military Circle Norfolk VA 23502 US - Thor Equities".
  2. ^ "The Virginian-Pilot, Ryan Murphy. "Norfolk has $1.1 billion in debt, likely delaying major projects" 2018-05-24".
  3. ^ "Military Circle Mall shop owners counting down the days until they move".
  4. ^ a b Virginian-Pilot. "The Virginian-Pilot Archives".
  5. ^ Spalding, Christopher (May 24, 2013). "The Mallmanac: Extant Assets - The Gallery at Military Circle, Norfolk, VA".
  6. ^ a b "AMC Circle 6 in Norfolk, VA - Cinema Treasures".
  7. ^ "Thalhimers Tradition Ends".
  8. ^ Virginian-Pilot. "The Virginian-Pilot Archives".
  9. ^ Virginian-Pilot. "The Virginian-Pilot Archives".
  10. ^ a b "Sears closing raises concern of vitality of Military Circle".
  11. ^ "Cinemark 18 in Norfolk, VA - Cinema Treasures".
  12. ^ Virginian-Pilot. "The Virginian-Pilot Archives".
  13. ^ "Cloudy forecast at Gallery at Military Circle".
  14. ^ Virginian-Pilot. "The Virginian-Pilot Archives".
  15. ^ "Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, VA —".
  16. ^ Russolillo, Steven (January 16, 2014). "Here's the List of the 33 Stores J.C. Penney Is Closing". Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ Kleiner, Sarah (December 19, 2014). "Development authority buys J.C. Penney building". The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, VA.
  18. ^ "Macy's to close three stores in Hampton Roads". WTKR TV. January 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Horne, Chris (April 17, 2015). "Military Circle Mall shoppers, merchants wonder what's next".
  20. ^ "The Gallery at Military Circle is headed for auction". Inside Business: The Hampton Roads Business Journal. Norfolk, VA. June 26, 2015. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Legal Notice: Trustee's Sale". Inside Business: The Hampton Roads Business Journal. Norfolk, VA. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  22. ^ Virginian-Pilot, Mike Connors, Margaret Matray and Katherine Hafner The. "Macy's at Chesapeake Square, Military Circle to close".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "The mall scene in Norfolk is changing". Inside Business: The Hampton Roads Business Journal. Norfolk, VA. January 15, 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Optima Health Moves into part of former J.C. Penney Space", WAVY-TV 10 (March 8, 2017)
  25. ^ "Development authority buys J.C. Penney building", Virginian-Pilot (December 19, 2014)
  26. ^ "Military Circle Mall JCPenneys announcement", Channel 13 News (March 18, 2017)

External links[edit]

36°51′07″N 76°12′22″W / 36.852°N 76.206°W / 36.852; -76.206