View of a residential neighborhood from above

Chesapeake Square Mall

Challenge: An underperforming mall in Chesapeake, Virginia fell into foreclosure in 2016 after several anchor tenants closed their operations. The 717,000 sq./ft. mall quickly became an eye-sore to the Western Branch community as the lender refused to make any substantial investments. In 2018, Virginia Beach-based Kotarides Holdings purchased the property as part of a strategic plan to revitalize a large swath of the Portsmouth Boulevard corridor and making it a destination for new business and residents.

Solution: Gray Ryan Communications deployed a multi-faceted PR strategy designed to drive tenant interest, gain support from elected officials for rezoning requests, and increase support from area citizens. Gray Ryan leveraged its media contacts to secure signature stories in The Virginian-Pilot, Virginia Business, and other media outlets which effectively communicated the long-term strategy of the project as well as the transformational vision Kotarides had for revitalizing the Western Branch area. Gray Ryan also launched an aggressive social media campaign designed to connect with area influencers and decision makers who could help deliver the messaging of this vision to their neighbors and elected officials.


Bottom Line: The campaign’s success has led to significant milestones being met in the revitalization of the mall property. The media placements and grass-roots communications efforts have resulted in new tenants for the property as well as an expansion of existing tenants who understand the vision of the area. Furthermore, Kotarides has been able to secure additional rezoning requests as it begins the redevelopment process of the area including the development of a new 600-unit mixed-use community.


Successful rezoning


Local support for project


Tenant growth

Ready to Grow?