JAMES CITY - A plan to redevelop the Williamsburg Outlet Mall received five thumbs up Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
The new shopping center, dubbed Lightfoot Marketplace, will feature a Harris Teeter grocery store, a Walgreens and four other commercial and retail buildings.
"I think it'll be a great project," supervisor Mike Hipple said. "It'll make the whole area smoother, work better... It'll be a pleasure to see it transform into this."
The struggling outlet mall closed at the end of 2013, a victim of the recession and changes in consumer shopping preferences.
The new center is designed to serve the the Sandy Wanner Stadium, Warhill High School, Thomas Nelson Community College campus and the James City Law Enforcement Center across Centerville Road.
A couple of supervisors and a few citizens, however, said they did not like the Guernsey-Tingle Architects design for the center. Both John McGlennon and Jim Kennedy said the county should take a wider view of the Lightfoot area, perhaps in concert with York County, to develop some design guidelines for redevelopment. Neither wanted to hold up the development for that process, though.
Both supervisors also said they were concerned with the too-familiar mix of a new grocery store coupled with a pharmacy.
"It's just a continuance," Kennedy said. "I don't mean to offend anyone, but it's just the homogenization of James City County."
He also said he hears concerns from residents, and is himself concerned, that the area has become overbuilt for retail. "If this wasn't a revitalization site, I doubt I'd support it," Kennedy said.
In the end, all five supervisors supported the redevelopment, which is projected to increase sales by 500 percent on the site while reducing impervious surface, providing intersection improvements in the area and pedestrian and public transit connections.