From demolition to the Edge District — here’s what the city’s Economic Development talked about this week

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The Williamsburg EDA has approved a grant that will contribute to the demolition of 1800 Richmond Road. (WYDaily/Google Maps)
The Williamsburg EDA has approved a grant that will contribute to the demolition of 1800 Richmond Road. (WYDaily/Google Maps)

The Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority met Wednesday and discussed a number of items, from a demolition on Richmond Road to the new Edge District.

During a presentation from Aras Holden, vice president of Asset Management and Acquisitions for Broad Street Realty, reported that the redevelopment of Midtown Row will include 56,000 square feet of street-level retail shops that will create a space for 12 to 20 retailers. There will also be four additional stories containing 240 rental residential units that will accommodate 625 beds.

Rick Overy, vice chairman of the EDA, asked why the development plans did not include a fifth building. Holden said it was because a boutique hotel was the original plan at the Richmond Road and Monticello Avenue intersection, but when Marshalls had to be quickly relocated, adjacent parking was required in that area. In the future, the project will include sufficient parking, which should free up the area for a hotel.

RELATED STORY: Construction of 5-story buildings at Midtown Row expected to start this summer

Food, beverage and entertainment businesses are expected in the location. According to meeting minutes, construction is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

The EDA also approved a demolition grant for 1800 Richmond Road. The grant will provide 90 percent of the demolition costs to help with the redevelopment of the location, owned by Shree Hari of Virginia, LLC. 

With the grant, the EDA hopes to encourage the redevelopment of commercial properties that are not currently in use to help the vitality and aesthetic of the area. The grant will cover 90 percent of the cost for demolishing four buildings on the property. 

In addition, the city received a grant from the Virginia Department of Education that will cover 80 percent of the cost of a multi-use trail that would extend east parallel to Monticello Avenue from Treyburn Drive to College Woods to Ironbound Road. The rest of the $1.9 million will be covered by the city and William & Mary.

The board also approved a $2,000 appropriation to cover the cost of two signs reading “Support Our City Businesses” to be placed outside businesses as the widening of Monticello Avenue begins. 

Monticello Avenue is being expanded to five lanes, with one on each side for parking, two travel lanes, a center turn lane and a separated dual direction bicycle path. However, members of the EDA were concerned about how the construction would negatively impact the businesses in that area. The signs were approved with the hope that they will make drivers aware the businesses are still open during the construction. 

The EDA also appropriated $2,000 from its Existing Business Program budget toward the organizational expenses of the Edge District’s new merchants’ association. 

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Robby Willey, a member of the EDA, said representatives from businesses in the Edge District, which would run the mile of Merrimac Trail and Second Street, are considering forming a merchants’ association and developing a district brand. 

There are 17 businesses currently in the Edge District, which already has $2,000 committed from York County for setup expenses. Willey said it’s likely that James City County will follow and suggested the EDA should also consider appropriating $2,000 toward the merchants’ association.

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