Broad Street Realty LLC, a commercial real-estate developer based in Bethesda, Md., presented its plan for redeveloping the Williamsburg Shopping Center to the City of Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board on July 11, 2017.
“We have worked hard with stakeholders in the community and city representatives to come up with a shared vision for what could be accomplished at the premier gateway location in Williamsburg,” Michael Jacoby, CEO of Broad Street said in the release.
The developer purchased the shopping center for $13.3 million in Jan of 2017. Broad Street hopes to entice a boutique hotel or select service hotel into the property it is calling Midtown Williamsburg. Sal’s by Victor, the Virginia ABC store, and Food Lion will all stay in the shopping center, according to Broad Street’s application to the city.
Andrew Moore and Aaron Chupp, of Glave & Holmes Architecture, the applicant’s representatives, introduced the project. Mr. Moore briefly discussed the site plan and then described the details of the structure, stating that they were seeking compatible and reminiscent of the architecture seen on the campus of William & Mary. The architectural style is intended to be similar to classical buildings like the Business School on Campus.
Broad Street’s redevelopment strategy calls for the addition of landscaped pedestrian boulevards, a public plaza, art, sidewalks, bike lanes, new residential buildings, new storefronts and a new hotel.
“The intention here is to create a walkable destination, to create a place, to create a center,” said Robert McClennan with Bonstra Haresign Architects in his presentation to the ARB. “We see this as a place students will be walking to and citizens of Williamsburg will walk to…what we’re trying to do here is create a sense of place.”
The developer is proposing 250 apartment units that will be geared toward students and young professionals to be located above the retail stores.
“My concern is the height,” said ARB Chairman Robert Lane about the proposed 5-story mixed-use buildings. “There’s a reason we have that restriction in Williamsburg…I see no reason to make an exception [here].”
A number of residents in attendance and the review generally supported development on the property but did express concerns about the height and mass of the project.
Broad Street will appear before the ARB again after they apply for a Special Use Permit which will likely be this summer.