The Village at Shirlington

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The Village at Shirlington
Village at Shirlington.png
LocationShirlington, Arlington, Virginia
Coordinates38°50′27″N 77°5′16″W / 38.84083°N 77.08778°W / 38.84083; -77.08778Coordinates: 38°50′27″N 77°5′16″W / 38.84083°N 77.08778°W / 38.84083; -77.08778
Opening date1944
OwnerFederal Realty Investment Trust
WebsiteThe Village at Shirlington

The Village at Shirlington opened as Shirlington Shopping Center in 1944, and was the first large shopping center to open in the Washington, D.C. suburbs and one of the earliest in the United States. It is located along Campbell Avenue (formerly South 28th Street) at the intersection of Shirley Highway and Quaker Lane / Shirlington Road in Arlington, Virginia. The center has been known since the mid-1980s as The Village at Shirlington.


Entrance to The Village at Shirlington

The center was originally developed by Joseph Cherner, automobile dealer and banker, on a 23​12 acre site to provide for the basic shopping needs of the nearby sprawling Parkfairfax, developed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and the Defense Homes Corporation development at Fairlington.[1][2][3] He established the Shirlington Corporation in August 1943, and the first store opened in June 1944. The center expanded gradually, with an increasing variety of retail offerings. In 1947, the local women's clothing chain Jelleff's chain opened a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) store; its fourth branch and first suburban location.[4] It was also known as Shirlington Business Center. By the time of its fifth anniversary, there were 48 stores operating in the shopping center. In addition to Jelleff's, there was an Acme supermarket, F.W. Woolworth, Singer Sewing Center, Fanny Farmer candy, Firestone as well as standard local offerings, such as a Shirley Food Store.[5] In 1951, the center expanded with 25 additional stores.[6]

On September 14, 1959, the Lansburgh's department store opened its second suburban branch location at Shirlington.[7] The 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) store cost $2.5 million to construct.[8] It would be the center's only anchor department store. It closed in May 1973, and reopened as a Best Products store.[9][10]

The center declined during the 1970s because of the economic slump and growing competition from close by modern shopping malls, including Springfield Mall. In 1982, the Oliver T. Carr Co. unveiled a $250 million dollar plan to redevelop the then 425,000-square-foot (39,500 m2) shopping center.[11] Since then, the center has been expanded and renamed The Village at Shirlington.[12] It is now owned and managed by Federal Realty Investment Trust, which purchased it in 1995.

In 2005, after years of planning between Federal Realty Investment Trust and Arlington County, construction began on an expansion of The Village at Shirlington, which added 650 apartment and condominium units, doubled the length of the main street, more retail space including a Harris Teeter grocery store, a branch library, and a new home for the Signature Theatre. The goal is "to increase the number of people in Shirlington to create a round-the-clock environment there."[13]

As of 2012, The Village at Shirlington has a wide variety of eating options. Restaurants include: Aladdin's Eatery, Bonsai Grill, Capitol City Brewing Company, Robeks, The Bungalow, Aroma Indian Restaurant, Busboys & Poets, Caribou Coffee, Guapo's Restaurant, Luna Grill & Diner, Yogi Berry, Carlyle Grand Cafe, Subway, Best Buns Bread Company, Cakelove, Cheestique, Johnny Rockets, PING by Charlie Chiang's, and T.H.A.I in Shirlington.

As of 2019, some restaurants have closed and the village has added new ones. The new restaurants include Copperwood Tavern, Palette 22, Dudley’s Sports Bar and Grill, Dam Good Burger Moby Dick and Cafe Pizzaiolo. The Village also added nail salons, hair salons and an ice cream shop. Capital City Brewing Company has shut down rumored by bankruptcy. Ping by Charlie has permanently shut down, Cakelove also has permanently shut down and Bungalow, Luna Grill & Diner and Aladdin’s Eatery and Johnny Rockets has shut down.


  1. ^ "1000th War worker Family Settles Down in Fairlington," by Mary Spargo, The Washington Post, Aug 29, 1943, p. M10.
  2. ^ "Community Shopping Problems Met With Opening of a Supermarket," The Washington Post, Jul 10, 1944, p. 12.
  3. ^ "'Uncle Joe' Cherner's Saga Is Strictly 'Alger'," by John London, The Washington Post, Oct 13, 1949, pg. C1.
  4. ^ "Fourth Branch Store Opened in Shirlington by Jelleff's," The Washington Post, Dec 12, 1947, p. B2.
  5. ^ "48-Store Center Runs Gamut of Crullers to Cars," by Conrad P. Harness, The Washington Post, Oct 13, 1949, p. C1.
  6. ^ "Joseph Cherner Reveals Shirlington Plans for Expansion," The Washington Post, Nov 25, 1951, By Gershon Fishbein, p. M12.
  7. ^ "Lansburgh Dedicates New Shirlington Store," by Frank C. Porter, The Washington Post, Times Herald, Sep 15, 1959, p. B8.
  8. ^ "Lansburgh's New Store Hailed as County Asset," by Frank C. Porter, The Washington Post and Times Herald, Jul 2, 1958, p. D7.
  9. ^ "Shoppers Jam Lansburgh's for Its Final Sale," by Paul Hodge, The Washington Post, Times Herald, May 11, 1973, p. C1.
  10. ^ "Area Department Store Sales Soar," by William H. Jones, The Washington Post, Times Herald, Jul 21, 1973, p. C10.
  11. ^ "$250 Million Plan for Shirlington Unveiled," by Nancy Scannell and Kenneth E. John, The Washington Post, Jul 8, 1982, p. A1.
  12. ^ "Where We Live: Shirlington Renovation Causing Concern," by Sandra Evans, The Washington Post, Jul 22, 1989, p. E1
  13. ^ Daniela Deane, "Making Shirlington a Magnet; Developers Planning Stores, Theater, Condos to Bring More People to Village in Arlington," The Washington Post, January 29, 2005, p. F1.

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