Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Monticello Shopping Center receives city, state grants for asbestos removal

The Monticello Shopping Center. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

The redevelopment of one of Williamsburg’s shopping centers just got a boost from local government.

The City of Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority approved a grant Monday, in the sum of $50,000, for removal of asbestos in the Monticello Shopping Center.

Broad Street Realty, based out of Bethesda, Md., has the shopping center under contract for purchase. Broad Street has also purchased the adjacent Williamsburg Shopping Center, and has plans to redevelop the properties into a retail and residential hub named Midtown Row.

Both sites are located along Monticello Avenue.

Asbestos was discovered in the buildings during Broad Street’s assessment of the property, and will need to be removed before redevelopment can begin. Removal of the asbestos will cost $191,600, according to EDA meeting documents.

The EDA grant was made possible through the city’s Demolition Grant Program, which provides grants to underused commercial properties to encourage private-sector redevelopment.

With the grant’s approval, the city matched another grant provided by the state. Virginia offers the Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund, which “was established to provide either grants or loans to local governments to promote the restoration and redevelopment of brownfield sites and to address environmental problems or obstacles to reuse so that these sites can be effectively marketed to new economic development prospects.”

The state grant requires a matching grant from local governments, which the EDA approved. While EDA Chairman Adam Steely said $50,000 is a lot of money, he said the opportunity to redevelop such properties into positive businesses is an opportunity both the city and state have identified as a goal.

“I think anytime you can have private entrepreneurial investment partnered with local municipal investment partnered with a city-targeted fund like that, that’s sort of the stars aligning,” Steely said. “As the EDA, our sense is we are happy to be able to be the agent that allows local business developers to partner with the state and locality to leverage those assets in a way none of us could afford to do on our own.”

The city has used funds from the state grant previously, including for demolition of the Super 8 motel on Richmond Road and two hotels on Capitol Landing Road, according to the meeting agenda.

After the two $50,000 grants, Broad Street will pay the remaining $91,600 for the asbestos abatement.

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