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Lightfoot Marketplace in Early Stages to Replace Williamsburg Outlet Mall

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Lightfoot Marketplace would be a reverse of the existing Williamsburg Outlet Mall with five buildings around the outside and parking in the middle of the shopping center.

The Williamsburg Outlet Mall is in the early stages of planning Lightfoot Marketplace, a shopping area with a grocery store, drugstore, and other retail shops and restaurants.

The James City County Development Review Committee met Wednesday and heard a presentation on the preliminary plans from Guernsey Tingle Architects President Tom Tingle and Kaufman and Canoles attorney Paul Gerhardt. The presentation was to solicit comment from the committee, not to receive approval or denial.

Gerhardt began introducing the new plan, saying the outlet mall is a lost concept.

“We’re looking for a good reuse to it other than putting it back into some retail service in its existing format. It’s just not real suitable,” Gerhardt said.

A residential use was explored, Gerhardt explained, but the owner decided to stick with the county’s special use permit process, which would be required to execute the plan, rather than rezoning the property to allow a residential component.

The existing outlet mall sits in the middle of a piece of property mainly covered by impervious surface, or pavement, that doesn’t allow for drainage through the surface. The planned development would tear down the existing building and construct five new buildings around the perimeter of the property, allowing parking in the middle, Tingle explained. That would allow people to see buildings rather than pavement from the roads surrounding the property.

The plan would reduce the impervious surface by 20 percent, Tingle said, by incorporating landscaping and a stormwater retention pond.

The existing outlet mall is about 230,000 square feet; the planned shopping development includes about 120,000 square feet. The area would utilize existing road entrances but a traffic study will be completed to determine what the traffic increase to the area could be and if additional turn lanes would be needed.

A possible design for the proposed restaurant building by Bonstra Haresign Architects.

Bonstra Haresign Architects is working on the design of the planned buildings. Tingle said the firm was chosen because it has a commitment to sustainable design and has relationships with specialty retailers that would be desirable in this area. He said the purpose of constructing the new retail space is not to cannibalize existing stores in the area but to draw in new ones.

“It is a work in progress, but we think a work in progress that is a pretty nice contrast to some of the work that’s out there now,” Tingle said.

The committee members were interested in seeing sustainable design, possibly a Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design certification for the building. The proposed buildings’ street appeal was also an area the members wanted to see focused on; because the proposed buildings back up to the street rather than face it, they want to ensure passersby have a nice view.

Tingle and Gerhardt said the plan for seeking county approval is to submit a plan to go before the Planning Commission at its September meeting. Applying for a special use permit is a required part of the project; that process could go before the Development Review Committee again and would go before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for a public hearing.

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Posted by on June 27, 2013. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

35 Responses to Lightfoot Marketplace in Early Stages to Replace Williamsburg Outlet Mall

  1. Avril Purvis Reply

    February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Can anyone help me with the names of the 2 shoes shops. One was more casual yet comfortable shoes. That’s the one I’m trying to remember the name of.

  2. Pattie Reply

    January 3, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    My second job was at the Outlet Mall when I was 15 years old. My third and fourth jobs were there as well. Back then (when the mall was new), it was a great chance for local kids to find close work without having to go to the Pottery. But the dynamics have changed. The whole area has changed. I no longer live in Virginia so I am not qualified to make any recommendations other than to suggest looking at other similar communities and see what works for them and what doesn’t work.

    Out here in Utah, the outlet malls have also died (except for a specialty one over by Park City — where the wealthy tourists go). The outlet mall close to me has been transformed into a bowling alley, theme park kind of thing. Only a small portion of it is still outlet shops; the rest has found other more desired uses.

  3. Kteach Reply

    June 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Look around at all the empty store fronts and shopping centers, and you can see that we do not need any more! Why not use the area to help our local residents by creating an educational facility? There could be training for jobs needed in our community …beauty school, food preparation, childcare, home health care, etc. where other residents could go for services at a lesser cost done by those in training. The “graduates” would receive their licenses or permits necessary to apply for these jobs in our community.
    Space could also be used for unique markets such as we find on DOG Street on Saturdays. there could also be a small gallery such as the Charles Taylor Gallery in Hampton that hosts displays throughout the year. A cafe at the site would be another consideration.(Perhaps in conjunction with food prep, cooking school,as well as a place for residents to pick up a prepared meal to take home.)
    Given the location, it has to be a destination site, walk-ins just would not be there to support stores.

    • C Harris Reply

      August 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      People- the Williamsburg Outlet is falling down! It leaks like crazy with the smallest amount of rain. The owners have not been able to attract new tenants for more than five years. Vanity Fair/Lee Wrangler will be moving locally. So will Pendleton, Avon, and Country Treasures. Why does everyone assume that the businesses will close when the mall does? There are many empty retail spaces for lease in Williamsburg. If local shoppers had supported Williamsburg Outlet Mall as much as they support Premium Outlets and New Town, maybe the mall owners would not have lost so much money from business moving out. The time for support of Williamsburg Outlet Mall has passed.

    • C Harris Reply

      August 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Thomas Nelson Community College will be building a tech school on their property in the near future. They will offer culinary, automotive, HVAC, cosmetology and so on. The “graduates” will receive their license and permits as required by the state. Duh.

  4. Samantha Dails Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I cannot believe the support for yet another BJ’S , COSTCO, or Sam’s Club. Talk about a monsterous atrocity! The asthetics of this county has diminished substantially over the last decade. Very careful thought and an eye to an attractive, useful facility needs to be considered. A quick fix and another ugly big box is NOT the answer.

  5. People Please Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    C’mon people. The reason that the Outlet mall is going out of business is because too many of you use the place as your personal fitness center and not enough of you buy something, and too make matters worse, you then go on to complain that these types of business cater to tourists. Well guess what, if you don’t support these places by spending money and you don’t want pesky tourists spending money, then you deserve what you get and that is yet another failed business in this town.
    Wake up people!

  6. bmt Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

    We really need a Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club. The old Outlet Mall site could be a great location, and the total square footage and shape of the property should be workable. I’d also like to see an IKEA at the Marquis Shopping Center at the other end of Rt 199.

  7. Carmen Lancellotti Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

    You mention the Rec Center as having a walking track but it costs money to join! The Mall offerred an indoor walking venue at no cost which is especially important for seniors on fixed incomes. This is vital for persons with health conditions that prohibit walking in the heat or the cold/slippery weather. I will not shop at Prime Outlets because it is too far to walk outdoors between shops. The Pottery has become too expensive. If the county cannot cater to locals, we will have to go elsewhere. Why don’t the hospitals offer an indoor walking course?

  8. more mix use and retail? Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 8:29 am

    i don’t believe the county needs more mixed use and retail. While it is the owners property and he can decide the chances of success Are minimal with this plan. There has to be some reccomended ratio of retail space vs ppopulation size (inc tourist) and we have to already be out of line. and it will only pull business out of existing space or not at all. Either way not good. Owner needs another strategy. I drive buy it everyday it is becoming an eyesore. How about an indoor mixed use sports facility. Wisc is busting at the seems.

    • Barry Mowday Reply

      June 28, 2013 at 11:09 am

      The county approved a car wash less than 100 feet from my front door last year. It’s made my condo an unpleasant place to live. Just this morning they had a tractor trailer idling some 40 feet from my bedroom window. Very audible inside the condo.
      No other business has tractor trailer trucks idling on the street to make deliveries.

      If the county had maintained the same separation from my condo to the business as was done for other businesses, there’d have been no problem.

      But since you can’t count on the county to maintain standards, folks thinking about buying a residence in a mixed use area in James City County need to be very, very careful.

      • Mmmmmm Reply

        June 29, 2013 at 10:09 am

        If you had done due diligence prior to your Condo purchase, you would have known the area surrounding you was zoned for commercial, including auto parts stores, fast food and such. This was a case realtors and home owners not being aware of their surroundings. There was no change that took place, the only issue involved was a carwash.

        I was equally upset when they removed the beautiful mature trees to build your condo unit, and those of others years ago. If the County had only controlled the growth in the 90′s.

  9. Kimberly Reply

    June 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I do not shop the Prime Outlets because I prefer to park once and walk INDOORS from store to store. I utilized this shopping mail for Dress Barn, Totes, and especially Bon Worth – and met my girlfriends after work to walk sometimes — which menas looking into the shop windows.
    I will really miss that. It’s been sad to see it become empty stores.
    I agree there are too many empty retail stores already. Why not do a single level business type with apartments on second and third levels like they do in Europe? We certainly need more of those.

  10. Maestro Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Perhaps this would make a good sport for the 4th middle school.

  11. The Owner of the Property will Decide Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    As a reminder, the owner of the property will decide what is built on this site. As the article states, the owner decided to stick with the existing use. The Board of Supervisors can tweek it here or there but as long as it conforms, the owner’s plan will prevail.

  12. Funny Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Is anyone aware that the County can not dictate what store would go there? Is anyone aware that it has been over-reported that Costco will not located in this small of a market? Is anyone aware that this is a re-use site, not a new location!? Is anyone aware that this location currently has environmentally unfriendly designs? Is anyone aware the new site would improve that? Is anyone aware that the current mall is under utilized, and stores leave because of poor business? Is anyone aware this is a business and not a health club for walking, that it would be nice if people actually supported the stores in a meaningful way? Is anyone aware there is an indoor track at the Rec Center for walking?

    Just asking.

  13. jon Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    people need places to live here need apts people would love to live here and pay some taxes here but as it is right now i work here get paid and spend it in newport news

  14. Pearl Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Costco’s would be wonderful..they pay their employees decent wages with benefits…..a win/win for our community.

  15. GalleryGal Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    We clearly do not need another grocery or drug store combo. I agree with the folks who like the fact that this is our only indoor shopping place. I personally will miss the Pendleton outlet, Vanity Fair, and a few others. I will also miss walking indoors in the most inclement weather. All that aside, please don’t put another cookie cutter mall in there. At least, get something we don’t already have abundantly here and everywhere else in the country. I wish it could be a city marketplace with local farmers and fresh local produce, dairy, artisan breads and cheeses and other products, like honey, jams and jellies, crafts, wearable art — something organic and original and PLEASE not another colorless and impersonal food/drug chain.

  16. Smudge Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Yes!! A big box store for those that pay taxes here, not some knock-off NewTown. Maybe we all should protest outside the Planning office?

  17. Terri Bolt Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    More stores. That is not smart when there are so many empty retails spaces all over the county. I wold prefer a Costco or a Sam’s or a BJ’s. Take out the hotel behind the Mcdonalds and give enough space for a large wholesale business. We are tired of having to go to NN for bulk items. When is the county going to listen to the residents?

    • People Are Stupid Reply

      August 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

      “Take out the hotel behind McDonald”? That hotel is owned by someone and pays people work there. How selfish and ignorant to make a statement like that. Lets close the business in which you work and you can see what that would be like!

  18. Nancy Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    The owners are sadly hanging on to an outdated retail concept. Just look at all the empty retail spaces that are already sitting nearby. I’ve heard local commercial realtors say our area is already overbuilt with retail space so the vacancy rate is going up. This concept will just make the problem worse. There is more to life than shopping, please put the land to an alternative use.

  19. voice o'reason Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Tear it down and leave the lot empty. Repeat this process all over town.

  20. JSmith Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    The mixed use developments seem unsuccessful around here. New Town does alright, High Street is worse. Also, all the strip malls seem increasingly vacation and the Pottery doesn’t seem to attract much people at all. The Premium Outlets seem like the most successful shopping venture locally.
    I think the “if you build it they come mentality” is run amok and that’s why this area has so many empty storefronts. All the closest big cities have their own versions of New Town so it is illogical to think that many would bother to come up this way for essentially the same experience.
    I think that the real shopping niche here is historical items (CW stores), outlets, and the old version of the Pottery. This community needs more well-run local business that offers something special to the community and visitors. There is nothing interesting about going on vacation or a day trip and visiting all the same boring chain stores and restaurants that you usually visit.

  21. Dorothy Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 10:09 am

    This was the only indoor mall in the area where we could shop in inclement weather or walk on a hot day. The problem isn’t an indoor mall, it was the stores that were missing and the general condition of the existing property. If you had many of the same stores, some service stores (like a beauty salon or cleaner that would bring people there regularly) and a “real” sit down restaurant, so that shoppers could refresh themselves, this mall could have thrived. As a woman and a shopper, I can tell you that I don’t visit Prime Outlets that often because it is outdoors. I prefer to shop where I can walk indoors from store to store. You will be forcing shoppers like to me travel to Patrick Henry Mall.

  22. Harriet Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I understand Costco is looking for a site for a new store. Great place for their building. We already have two generic stores in the area. We need a Cosco or SAMs in Williamsburg.

  23. Bob White Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 9:19 am

    BTW, I noticed that you have a link to Bonstra Haresign Architects website, why not a link to Guernsey Tingle’s website?

    • Brittany Voll Reply

      June 27, 2013 at 10:47 am

      Hi Bob,
      Thanks for reading and for your comment! A link to Guernsey Tingle’s website has been added to the article. Thank you again!

  24. Bob White Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I agree that a costco would be nice, but the average square footage of a costco is 145,000 s.f. The proposed plan, as described, has a total of 120,000 s.f. for all five buildings, so there is no way that they are planning for a costco in that location. Something like a whole foods type grocer would be a great addition to the area and a better choice. In fact it would have to be a specialty grocer in order to have a chance, or at least a grocery that we don’t currently have, and perhaps that’s where the special relationship comes in from the out of town architect being chosen to attract someone like that. The decision for a grocery does seem odd though, considering there is a turn key facility for a grocery to move into right around the corner at the old ukrops location next to home depot. I do appreciate that this concept is attempting to revitalize that retail location rather just letting the current site deteriorate and become more of an eyesore than it already is, which probably contributed a large part to it’s ultimate demise as a viable shopping center.

    The pottery is failing because they don’t have a clue about how to make it successful, their merchandise is way overpriced and not unique in any way, and they no longer offer anything that makes it a destination worth going out of your way to go to. No matter what anyone says though, I think everyone can at least appreciate that what they have built there is significantly better than the old crumbling warehouses that used to be there.

  25. Nate Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 8:40 am

    There is an empty Ukrops right across the tracks.

  26. Lightfoot Resident Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Living in the area and knowing most of the type of residents, what is needed is something affordable. NOT an Au Bon Pain where a just a sandwich meal will set you back $12 or more!! NOT a Pottery where a small berry colander cost $8 that I went to Ross and got for $3!! The economy has hit us “little people” really hard…I agree with a Costco…at least then I can buy food in large quantities that I can provide for my large family easier. Before the County decides anything, they should ask the residents. I know you want to drive tourism but when I visit other cities, I want to go where the locals go…NOT an outlet that charges more for Levi jeans that I can get at Walmart for a LOT cheaper! The County needs to do more to keep the locals happy…we are here year round!!

  27. maggie Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 8:24 am

    We like this just the way it is . There are several SENIOR CITIZENS who enjoy coming here to shop and also to walk because the area it inside and out of the bad weather (heat,summer–snow or ice in the —winter. There is not other place to go and walk and enjoy talking and sharing.
    Also there are younger people who also come here. Most of the people who walk here are doing it to recover from surgery etc etc etc. and in general for maintaining good health.

    GO SOMEWHERE ELSE like the old UCROPS building on Mooretown Road there are lots of empty spaces there.

  28. Alicia Reply

    June 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I really hope the “Grocery Store” is a Costco or Sam’s Club – that is what the Burg area needs, not another generic (Food Lion and Farm Fresh are right up the street!) or specialty grocery store (Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s yet again right up the street!). What makes the owner think they will do well with this concept when the Pottery just down the street is failing miserably?

    • maggie Reply

      June 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Do you live on Centerville Road? It is already to many housing projects now and to add Costco or Sams YUK YUK YUK . This is not a good idea at all.

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