Sales  ·  Retail

Largest Mall in Virginia’s Loudoun County Sells for $46M

Srinivas Chavali is “emotionally attached” to the property, which helped inspire his career

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Srinivas Chavali attended the opening of the regional mall in Sterling, Va., back in 1999. Having recently emigrated from India, Chavali was struck by how large the complex was. He had never seen a shopping mall of that size before. 

Now, Chavali is the owner of that mall — the largest in Loudoun County. 

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The CEO of Virginia Property Investments purchased Dulles Town Center at 21100 Dulles Town Circle from New York Life Insurance for $46 million, as well as the adjacent former site of a Sears for $6 million. The deal was finalized on Tuesday, according to Chavali. New York Life could not immediately be reached for comment. 

“I never could have dreamed of owning Dulles Town Center and I never could have imagined over my life that I would own a 1.2 million-square-foot mall and very few people know my name,” Chavali told the Commercial Observer.

New York Life acquired the mall via deed-in-lieu of foreclosure from Lerner Enterprises in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The value of the mall at the time was listed at $55 million, according to property records — a far cry from its $300 million evaluation in 2008. Dulles Town Center has faced the same challenges from declining foot traffic as other regional malls around the country, a trend COVID-19 exacerbated. The mall also lost its anchor stores of Nordstroms, Lord & Taylor and Sears in 2017, 2019 and 2021, respectively. 

Chavali acquired some of those anchor stores as well, in separate transactions. He purchased the still operating JCPenney last year for an undisclosed sum and the currently vacant former Lord & Taylor earlier this year for $8 million, according to property records.

Despite the state of brick-and-mortar stores in recent years, Chavali said that he is emotionally attached to the property. 

After spotting Ted Lerner at the grand opening back in 1999, Chavali said that he became inspired by the real estate mogul’s story and success. Chavali, who has lived in the area since 1999, soon received his real estate license and began selling homes in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, before switching to commercial real estate in 2015. Chavali said that he owns a Hilton hotel in Baltimore, two multifamily developments in downtown Washington, and a pair of office buildings just a few miles from Dulles International Airport

“I came to this country 25 years ago with $100 … it feels like the American dream,” Chavali said. “If you work hard, the sky’s the limit in this country.”

As for the future of Dulles Town Center, Chavali said that he plans to renovate parts of the mall, attract new entertainment-focused tenants, and eventually build mixed-use developments on the property. 

Nick Trombola can be reached at NTrombola@commercialobserver.com.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that Chavali purchased the former site of a Sears adjacent to the mall for $6 million.