Monticello Shopping Center just weeks from purchase, developer says


The same Maryland-based company that recently purchased the Williamsburg Shopping Center is close to acquiring the adjacent Monticello Shopping Center.

Broad Street Realty bought the Williamsburg Shopping Center for $13.3 million in January. In July, CEO Michael Jacoby said he expected the 78,396-square-foot Monticello Shopping Center to be under Broad Street’s control by the end of the calendar year.

“I’m happy to say we’re maybe two weeks out,” Jacoby said this week. “It shouldn’t be too much longer.”

City Council approved a special-use permit that will allow Broad Street to redevelop the Williamsburg Shopping Center. They envision the area as a residential and retail hub that could include a hotel, a Whole Foods grocery and other developments.

To get approval of their plans for that purchase, developers went through the Architectural Review Board, then the Planning Commission and eventually City Council.

Principal Planner Erin Burke does not anticipate the same process this time around. The distinction? Broad Street needed a special-use permit to convert their purchase into residential space. They plan to keep the stores in the Monticello Shopping Center as commercial properties.

“If they would like to keep the property as commercial property, they do not have to go to City Council,” she said. “Any exterior changes would go to the Architectural Review Board.”

Nawab Indian Cuisine, Soaps and Suds laundromat and CHKD Thrift Store are among the stores in the center. Jennifer Ann Thurman, owner of Retro Daddio, said her store would be leaving because the new rents would be too high.

“We’re leaving, and it isn’t voluntary,” she said.“They originally said we needed to be out by mid-December. I convinced them to let us stay through the end of year so we could be here through the holidays. We are a gift shop, after all.”

In a Facebook post, Thurman wrote on the company’s page that Broad Street representatives told her many of the center’s current businesses would be evicted.

The city is paying Newport News-based consulting firm Kimley-Horn to help redesign Monticello Avenue, a major corridor for people entering and leaving the city. Those changes will happen in concert with Broad Street’s work on the shopping center.

City economic development director Michele Dewitt said the city appreciates Broad Street’s purchase of the center, but that it is just one step of many.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Jacoby said he’s optimistic developers and the city can attract tenants into the center.

“We’ve done our due diligence,” he said. “Now, we’re just essentially bringing it in.”

Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.

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