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Pastor Waits Patiently as Cloverleaf Floats



The Bible teaches forgiveness, and the Rev. Steve Parson says he's still willing to "bail out" Chesterfield County and purchase the aging Cloverleaf Mall.

Last week, reports surfaced that the developer selected by county officials to redevelop the mall, Charlotte, N.C.-based Crosland Inc., had asked the county for more time before formally committing to the project.

In its arrangement with the county, Crosland had until Nov. 18 to file a rezoning request to develop the property. Crosland is asking the county to extend that deadline until Jan. 20, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Rev. Parson says he's ready and willing to step in if Crosland doesn't come up with the money to buy the property. The county expects Crosland to pay for most or all of the $9.2 million that Chesterfield spent to purchase the mall and surrounding property in 2004.

"We're waiting in the wings to bail the county out," Parson says. "My gist on it? I believe the Lord wants us to have this property."

Parson, head pastor of the Richmond Christian Center, says he's informed the county that he has the money, and is ready to cut a check for more than $9 million to Chesterfield today. He says his church wants to build a 5,000-seat sanctuary in the former J.C. Penney, and redevelop the rest of the mall "however the county wishes."

Crosland is the third developer the county has worked with on the redevelopment of the mall property. Chesterfield bought the property in 2004 shortly after county officials learned that Parson had been negotiating to purchase the mall. S

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