Springfield Mall renovations begin

The long awaited Springfield Mall renovation project is now underway.

Demolition began Monday on the old mall, which has seen better days.

Shoppers and nearby business owners can't wait to see what's in store for the area.

The 80-acre mall was once a shopping hot spot. But in the last decade, it has become less popular and had numerous vacancies.

It has also had problems with crime.

Fairfax officials say the upgrade will benefit the county.

"What we approved a little over three years ago was a complete transformation of Springfield Mall to bring it back to all its glory...and then some," said Jeff McKay of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Phase one of the project will include one central mall entrance, a movie theater and a food court.

The Silver Diner is next door. Its owner, Baba Sarr, expects sales to jump $5,000 a week once the mall re-opens.

"For them to rebuild makes sense. There's nothing going on here. You only have three major stores - Macy's, JC Penney and Target. So I think it's a good thing," Sarr said.

Local shoppers are looking forward to the improvement.

Customer Kellie Henderson said, "The mall has been run down for the past several years, and I think it's a great opportunity to develop the area."

Renovating the 39-year-old mall will cost $200 million.