Architectural Review Board approves Midtown Row store materials, parking deck

At its Tuesday evening meeting, the Williamsburg Architectural Review Board approved an application for the materials and color scheme of another group of stores and a proposed parking deck in the Midtown Row commercial center.

The commercial building, dubbed Building Four by Broad Street Realty, the project’s developers, will face Monticello Avenue. Broad Street has not yet announced tenants that will occupy the retail space.

Robert McClennan and Adam Greene from Bonstra | Haresign Architects, the agency contracted to design the building, were on hand to present design concepts to the board. Much like Midtown Row’s Building Seven, which was approved by the Architectural Review Board earlier this month, the commercial building features modern, industrial design elements and a gray and yellow color scheme.

Board member Joseph Hertzler voiced his displeasure with the project’s proposed color scheme.

“I’m very much a fan of the project, but I’m not a fan of what you’ve done with it,” Hertzler said. “If you guys will remember the discussion on Building Seven, we asked them to take that yellow band out, but we’ve got a fairly large yellow band here. I know that I’m in the complete minority here, but I’d love to see that yellow band disappear.”

Vice-Chairman David Stemann and board member Andrew Edwards disagreed, saying the yellow trim along the side of the building adds more dimension to the shopping center.

The project’s developers also sought approval for a 285-by-124 foot parking garage facing Mt. Vernon Avenue and Monticello Avenue. McClennan, senior project manager with Bonsta | Haresign, says the one-story garage is mainly intended to be used by the residents of Midtown Row’s proposed apartments.

“It’s unique in that this is not intended for the retail customers. These are meant for the students, so while a lot of retail customers may want to know where they’re going, the assumption is that the students are already going to know where to park,” McClennan said.

The concrete garage will be situated toward the back side of the mixed-use commercial center and will be accented by a series of screens along the corners of the garage, which will have vines and other vegetation climbing up alongside them.

“It’s pretty minimal and it will require some maintenance, we understand that, but it’s important that this looks good for the students too, since the students will be parking here,” said McClennan.

Hertzler said the simple design concept for the garage will help it stand out among the rest of the more colorful buildings proposed for Midtown Row.

“The vines will certainly be a nice touch,” Hertzler said. “It’s a garage, but I think it’s the best-looking building on the whole site, and the reason I say that is because it won’t look dated, the rest of this is going to look so dated by the time it’s built.”

The Architectural Review Board was also expected to approve changes to the design of Midtown Row’s Building Seven, but representatives from design firm Little Diversified Architectural Consulting failed to appear before the body. The board is expected to consider the changes at its June 12 meeting.

Erin Burke, the city’s principal planner, says the project’s developers will present the entire Midtown Row site plan for approval at City Council’s June 14 meeting.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

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