Friday, January 27, 2023

City holds off redeveloping razed Super 8

The razed property where the Super 8 once stood along Richmond Road. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
The razed property where a Super 8 once stood along Richmond Road. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

A city-owned hotel on Richmond Road has been reduced to rubble and will likely remain in that state until developers release their plans for two nearby shopping centers.

The City of Williamsburg purchased the Super 8 — which once sat at the corner of Richmond Road and Monticello Avenue—in August, with the intent to sell it to developers. The Economic Development Authority requested proposals for redevelopment in December and began demolishing the hotel later that month.

The Super 8 has since been demolished, but the now-vacant property will sit idle for the time being, according to Economic Development Director Michele DeWitt.

“The Economic Development Authority has reviewed the proposals for 1233 Richmond Road and recommends to City Council that no further action be taken at this time, due to multiple other factors which affect the value and goals for this property,” the EDA wrote in a closed session resolution during their March meeting.

DeWitt said other factors considered by the EDA include two nearby properties — the Williamsburg Shopping Center, which was sold to Broad Street Realty in January, and the Monticello Shopping Center, which is now for sale.

The former Super 8 property will lay dormant until the city receives updates on the development of the two shopping centers, she said.

“We’re just recommending [City Council] not accept any of these bids and wait for another time to try to sell it to the private sector,” Dewitt said.  “We’re not saying, ‘Don’t sell it to the private sector at some point.’ We’re just saying, ‘This isn’t the time.’  We need to wait to see what happens with some adjoining properties.”

There is no timetable for the development updates, DeWitt added.

Councilman Benny Zhang said conversations between city officials and Broad Street Realty have been ongoing in recent months. He and other council members are comfortable waiting to see the fate of the surrounding properties before restarting the search for developers of the city-owned property.

That way, Zhang said, the redeveloped property on Richmond Road may complement the redeveloped shopping centers.

“Right now it’s all about negotiating,” Zhang said. “Strategically it just makes sense.”

Zhang added the discussions have included the city’s Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes, as well as shared beliefs and competing interests between the city and Broad Street. The City’s GIOs list the redevelopment Midtown — the area surrounding the intersection of Richmond Road and Monticello Avenue — as a priority.

“When these developers make those investments, they’re quite interested to see the city’s vision for it,” Zhang said.

The City’s vision for the area focuses on a pedestrian-friendly economic and entertainment destination, which could include two or more stories of commercial and residential properties.

Broad Street Realty Chief Executive Officer Michael Jacoby confirmed city officials and Broad Street have shared thoughts and ideas with one another.

“The city reps have very clearly communicated their vision for not just the shopping center, but that whole midtown corridor,” Jacoby said. “I think they have a very good vision and we’re trying to incorporate their ideas and our ideas into a real bricks and mortar version of some high level ideas.”

Jacoby added Broad Street Realty has yet to settle on plans for the center, but will continue to hold discourse with city officials.

“Stay tuned,” Jacoby said.

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