by Joan Tupponce
Katurah Roell wants to give Crozet a boost by converting an industrial site that is now a lumberyard into an attractive mall.
“I had a vision that this could be a great addition to downtown,” says Roell who is president of Piedmont Development Group. “I wanted some place that would be inviting to tourists and locals.”
The property that Roell is eyeing for the project is a 20-acre site owned by Carroll Conley. The parcel, now for sale, is the home of the J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Co. “They are looking forward to relocating as this project moves forward,” Roell says.
Albemarle County has designated Crozet as a growth area. Crozet, which has a population of about 3,000, is west of Charlottesville near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The conceptual plans for the mixed-use development show a pedestrian mall and a green space area surrounded by buildings housing everything from office and retail space to a senior living facility and an 80-room hotel.
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has endorsed a recommendation by the Crozet Community Advisory Board that the property be rezoned for a mixture of uses (office, research and development, flex, light industrial and commercial) with the goal of it being an employment area.
Roell hopes to create a sustainable development where the site and the buildings are “green” and energy efficient. He believes the project will attract high-tech companies and businesses that are expanding or relocating. “Even in poor economic times businesses move and grow,” he says.
Roell estimates it will take two years for rezoning and site plans to be completed. “During the site plan, we will footprint a building for a particular user [anchor] and that will kick-start the development,” he says. “I’m hoping the economy will recover [by then].”
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