WHY YOU KNOW HIM: Pruitt and his family’s Pruitt Associates were 50 percent owners of Short Pump Town Center until summer, when he agreed to a deal that left Pruitt with 33 percent ownership of the mall, Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc. with 34 percent and a new partner, Australian investment firm QIC, with 33 percent. The mall, built in 2003 on 146 acres owned by the Pruitts, is scheduled for a major remodeling in 2014.
UPDATE: Pruitt said he remains an integral part of Short Pump Town Center’s progress.
“I like to get involved in the design part of it,” he said. “I leave the operations up to Forest City. I’ve been fortunate to have a great partner in Forest City. Now we have a third great partner.”
He said people are asking why the mall — with about 140 stores and 1.3 million square feet of retail space — is being remodeled now. “They say it looks great the way it is. But you have to stay ahead, and that’s why we’re going to do some very extensive renovations.
“You don’t build these things for five years,” he said. “You build them for 30 or 40 or 50 years.”
He said some of the changes are aimed at making sure Short Pump remains “a mall where you could have a nice time even if you weren’t shopping. We’re making the central plaza even more pleasant — a place where you can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee from Starbucks.”
The Pruitt family also owns a farm of more than 90 acres bounded by a long white fence on the south side of West Broad Street across from the shopping center. It could be prime commercial property, but Pruitt said there is no thought of selling that land.
“None whatsoever,” he said. “My father was born in that house in 1925, and my parents both live there. They’ll stay there for their lifetime, and any decision about the property will be made not by my generation, but the next generation — way down the road.”