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The Village Shops at Kingsmill might become an apartment community for seniors — if a rezoning plan converting the land from business to residential is recommended by the York County Planing Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The deal is still under contract and if approved, an independent senior living apartment complex with 150 single units would take the shopping center’s place.
While the Village Shops at Kingsmill has had many vacancies over the years, there are still a few tenants and their businesses present there.
So the question still remains, what happens to them and their businesses?
Renee Grazes, co-owner of Classic Consignments, chalked up most of the talk regarding the sale of Village Shops and the proposed apartments to rumors.
Regardless, Grazes said she reached out and spoke with someone from York County who told her “we don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When WYDaily asked what Grazes planned on doing with her business, such as relocating or shutting it down, she noted York County’s silence in the matter and has made no future plans to move as of yet.
“Nobody’s telling us anything,” she said. “When somebody tells us what’s going on then I’ll decide what I’ll do from there.”
It’s unclear who Grazes spoke with from York County.
Tom Trimble, who owns Trimble Collection, an art gallery known for its art restoration and hand-painted 18th and 19th century maps, has been at the shopping center for 37 years.
“It’s sad,” he said. “I had hoped to stay on for another 25 years.”
While Trimble is aware some of the shops have been unoccupied for years, he expressed concern about the future of businesses leaving the shopping center, adding some businesses that left in recent years, their clients didn’t follow them to their new location.
Trimble said he was told several months ago about the proposed project by the owner of another shopping center.
He plans to move to Williamsburg Crossing Shopping Center in August and in the meantime will be paying two leases starting in June.
“The handwriting’s on the wall,” he said. “It’s a done deal ––– York County would make 100 percent revenue then it would make off this shopping center.”
“I have no clout,” Trimble said. “You’re at the mercy of whatever the good old boys do.”
WYDaily reached out to several other tenants, such as Doraldo Restaurant and left voicemails for shops, many of which have closed.
Doraldo Restaurant was not immediately available for comment.
A WYDaily reporter also reached out to Haus Tirol Needlework on Wednesday.
After the reporter identified herself, the person who answered did not wish to speak to the media and said WYDaily should have spoken to the business before publishing the previous story about the Village Shops at Kingsmill rezoning application.
“Too late,” she added.
Matt Leffler, senior vice president from Harvey-Lindsay Real Estate, who manages the Village Shops at Kingsmill, said the property has been for sale since 2016.
While there was a false start with a previous developer to make other plans for the space, he said the fate of the current tenants and businesses does not lie with management.
“The new owner would make that decision, but it’s not approved yet,” Leffler said, adding the current or future owner would make that decision.
Leffler said the tenants were informed about the rezoning application.
“They have been updated pretty regularly by the property manager,” he said. “I don’t know if they have been told technical aspects.”
By technical aspects, Leffler meant the specific details of the plan — he noted the rezoning application is public record.
In the meantime, tenants are encouraged to keep doing businesses.
“There’s a lot of time and a lot of steps between now and future changes,” Leffler said. “In commercial business, we don’t try to make too many assumptions.”
Hunter Reeves, senior communications specialist for Ameritas, provided general background information about the contract negotiations between the life insurance corporation and Marlyn Development.
While Reeves confirmed Ameritas is the current owner of the shopping center, he said they are not in charge of what will happen to the tenants and any further inquiries should be made to Marlyn Development.
WYDaily reached out to Timothy Trant II, who represents the Marlyn Development. He was not immediately available for comment.