Officials donned construction helmets and, armed with shovels, churned dirt to celebrate the Midtown Row development project Thursday.
From Williamsburg Shopping Center and Monticello Shopping Center will spring Midtown Row, a combination residential and business development which will feature organic grocery store Earth Fare. The ground breaking ceremony took place outside the future home of the grocery store, which will serve as the anchor for the development.
“I’d like to thank the community and the citizens of Williamsburg in their overwhelming support,” Broad Street Realty CEO Michael Jacoby said.
Broad Street Realty, based in Bethesda, Maryland, made its first foray into the Williamsburg area when it bought Williamsburg Shopping Center for $13.3 million in January 2017 and Monticello Shopping Center for $4.2 million in November 2017.
“The redevelopment of this area is something the community has been aspiring to for more than a decade,” Williamsburg Mayor Paul Freiling said.
“If we look back 10 years we would see two shopping centers that were doing reasonably well,” Freiling said. “Perfectly located. Lots of traffic. But just not quite living up to their full potential.”
The development’s offerings are not just a benefit for its future residents, but a benefit to all city residents. The residential development may give some citizens pause, but it’s necessary to help the development’s businesses succeed, Freiling said.
“It’s hard for businesses to succeed if they don’t have people nearby to patronize them,” he said.
Freiling called the upcoming Earth Fare a good addition to the city’s selection of grocery stores with its emphasis on organic foods.
“We are just delighted to be part of the community here in Williamsburg very soon,” Earth Fare CEO Frank Scorpiniti said.
Earth Fare is a specialty organic and natural foods store. The store is scheduled to open this summer, according to a Broad Street Realty news release.
More new stores are expected to set up in the development, Jacoby said.
“We’re having advanced dialogue with some awesome retailers and food purveyors,” he said.
At an October City Council meeting, council was informed the developer was negotiating with a pet supply store, an established microbrewery and hotel about becoming tenants at the development.
Other restaurants and businesses that already exist in the shopping centers, including Sal’s by Victor, the ABC store and Food Lion, plan to remain in the new development.
Jacoby announced a new lease has been signed with Ace Peninsula Hardware. The store will relocate from its current location in Williamsburg Shopping Center to Monticello Shopping Center.
Construction is already underway on the development, which is expected to be completed in 2020. Broad Street Realty expects to submit the development’s site plan to the city in late March.
“Stay tuned for some further exciting news coming in the next couple of months,” Jacoby said.
Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.