Taubman Centers’ 690,000-sq.-ft. Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond, Va., may have landed the distinctive upscale tenant roster it needs to compete with rival Short Pump Town Center. Short Pump is a 1.2 million-sq.-ft. development of Forest City Enterprises being built in nearby Henrico County. Both regional centers feature open-air upscale formats and both are reported 80% leased and scheduled to open in September 2003.

Short Pump scored big by signing the state’s first Nordstrom store as an anchor. Added bonuses to its tenant lineup include upscale home favorites Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma and locally owned luxury mainstays Fink’s Jewelry and Peter Alexander Jewelers. Additional anchors include Lord & Taylor, Hecht’s and Dillard’s.

But on Friday, Taubman weighed in with its own new tenants, including high fashion brands that could give Stony Point the cache needed to establish itself as the ultimate spot for upscale retail in Richmond. Louis Vuitton, Coach, Johnston & Murphy, Adrienne Vittadini, Betsy Johnson and Restoration Hardware have all signed leases at Stony Point, which also features the state’s second Saks Fifth Avenue store as an anchor. Taubman also announced Galyan’s will fill Stony Point’s third-anchor spot, offering a competing draw to Short Pump’s multi-level Dick’s Sporting Goods store. Stony Point and Short Pump will have several tenants in common, including AnnTaylor and Dillard’s.

The battle between the two new centers is expected to be fierce, with both competing for the market’s limited supply of upscale consumer dollars. In fact, Brian Glass, senior vice president of locally based Grubb & Ellis/Harrison & Bates, doesn't even think the market can support high-end department stores. "The stakes are pretty high, particularly for Taubman," Glass told Shopping Center World in May. "Richmond does not have an upper-end mall. But there is a question out there on whether the market can support upper-end department stores.

Taubman owns the city’s former dominant regional center, the Hecht’s, JCPenney and Sears-anchored Regency Square. According to pundits, Regency Square will likely lose a lot of traffic to the two newer centers. But president and CEO Bob Taubman says Stony Point will act as a sister property to Regency Square, providing a more upscale alternative to the older mall’s more middle-of-the-road tenants.