For a second time in the last year, Colonial Williamsburg has again withdrawn its application for the controversial Goodwin Square project.
Since its first proposal last fall, Goodwin Square has garnered both support and opposition from local residents and business owners. Some said the project would hurt business, while others said it would improve visitation to the area.
Now, Colonial Williamsburg says the departure of its CEO Mitchell Reiss and the transition to new leadership this month calls for full withdrawal of the application for the project, which would remove 40 of 48 parking spaces from the P3 lot.
The city announced the change Thursday in a news release, just hours ahead of the monthly City Council meeting where elected leaders would vote to approve, deny or delay the application.
The news release included a copy of an Oct. 9 letter to City Manager Andrew Trivette and Director of Planning and Codes Compliance Carolyn Murphy. It was written by Jeff Duncan, vice president of real estate for Colonial Williamsburg, and requested applications for two special use permits relating to Goodwin Square be withdrawn.
It also requested an application for grant funding — which would give $400,000 annually for five years toward the project — under the Tourism Development Fund grant be withdrawn as well.
“As you are aware, Colonial Williamsburg is now in a period during which we are transitioning to a new CEO,” Duncan wrote. “Consequently, we have decided to delay moving forward with the Goodwin Square project during this pending transition in leadership. The future of the project will be determined at a later date.”
The foundation publicly announced Reiss’s departure in June, less than two weeks before Colonial Williamsburg began publicly pursuing both approval of Goodwin Square and the grant funding from the Tourism Development Fund.
“This project generated lots of conversation with valid positions shared on all sides,” Trivette said in a prepared statement. “Through the collaborative efforts of many, our community has grown stronger. Partnerships were forged and genuine effort made to establish a plan that satisfied much of the concern. I am proud of that outcome and thankful for the leadership of the Council and the Foundation who were willing to work for compromise.”