Sporting goods store leases former Toys ‘R’ Us space to Short Pump

Academy Sports + Outdoors has leased the former Toys ‘R’ Us-Babies ‘R’ Us combo store space at 11861 W. Broad St. and plans to open its first local store there in the fall. (Photo by Jack Jacobs)

A Texas-based sporting goods retailer has accelerated its move into the Richmond area at a former toy store.

Academy Sports + Outdoors has leased the former Toys ‘R’ Us-Babies ‘R’ Us combo store at 11861 W. Broad St. around the corner from the Short Pump Mall.

The chain has taken over the approximately 60,000 square foot co-anchor space, which Toys ‘R’ Us vacated amid its 2018 bankruptcy.

Academy is expected to open this fall, company spokesman Allan Rojas said in an email Thursday. This would be the company’s first location in Virginia.

Academy sells sports equipment and apparel, as well as hunting, fishing and camping gear. It also offers services like grill and bike assembly and propane exchanges. People can also purchase hunting and fishing licenses from Academy stores.

The Company’s stores carry brands such as The North Face, Under Armor and Yeti, in addition to house brands Magellan Outdoors, O’Rageous and others.

The store will have around 60 employees.

Connie Jordan Nielsen of Thalhimer handled lease negotiations for the tenant. Alicia Brown and Nicki Jassy, ​​also of Thalhimer, handled lease negotiations on behalf of center owner Rebkee Co. Thalhimer announced the lease this week.

The Kroger-anchored mall is also home to Bassett Furniture, Gelati Celesti, which is expanding its ice cream shop there, as well as the Clean Eatz restaurant and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Rebkee purchased the center in 2011 and expanded it over the following years. The building formerly occupied by Toys ‘R’ Us was constructed in 2012.

Academy currently has 259 stores in 16 states in the South, Midwest and Southeast. The company plans to open eight locations in 2022, including the first in West Virginia, Rojas said.

Its move into Short Pump is one of the largest commercial leases in the area since Container Store and Arhaus took over a former HHGregg store across from Short Pump Town Center.

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