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West Elm plans Virginia Beach Town Center store

VIRGINIA BEACH

West Elm, another coveted retailer that sells furniture and home decor in about 50 U.S. locations, plans to open its first Hampton Roads store at Town Center.

“West Elm doesn’t even have a store in Richmond,” said Gerald Divaris, CEO of Divaris Real Estate, which handles leasing for and partly owns Town Center. “They have been very, very careful.”

Based in San Francisco with its parent company, Williams-Sonoma Inc., West Elm had a store at Short Pump Town Center near Richmond but closed it in early 2010. Its closest location now is at Tysons Corner in McLean.

With this latest in a string of new retailers slated to come to Town Center, the mixed-use development is helping to turn Hampton Roads into a hot spot for shopping. Later this year, popular women’s clothing and accessories chain Anthropologie plans to open its first regional store there, and its sister chain Free People intends to add a Town Center location as well.

Anthropologie and West Elm will anchor the now-under-construction Block 11 of Town Center, each with about 10,000 square feet of space.

West Elm specializes in contemporary, minimalist furnishings with clean lines and neutral colors generally targeted to an urban customer. It launched in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2002 primarily as a furniture store but has since added decorative items, cookware and even food.

Carolyn Shapiro, 757-446-2270, carolyn.shapiro@pilotonline.com

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