Possible Crozet Redevelopment Raises Concerns Among Business Owners

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

May 31, 2006

A new and improved shopping center could be replacing more than half of Crozet's downtown businesses. Business owners there say they have mixed feelings about the proposal. The shopping center's owner, along with an architect met with the planning commission last night to get input on the proposed Crozet station. Even though the project is still in the early stages, some businesses owners there say they aren't sure what to expect.

Janie Beverly owns Pets R Us in the IGA shopping center which is set in the heart of Crozet's historical downtown. She has mixed feelings on a proposed development aimed to replace more than half of the downtown businesses with a new shopping center.

"I do have a small space and I have outgrown the space, so I'm looking forward to it; I'm concerned about some of the older tenants," said Beverly.

The plan which is still in the early stages, encourages the current business owners to move into the new three-story building. Included in the plan is more than 60,000 square feet of commercial and residential space. However, some business owners are worried about extra costs.

"We're concerned about the rent increase. It's going to happen," said Beverly.

Crozet resident, Mick Marshall, attended last night's meeting between the land-owner and the planning commission. Some of their concerns included the developments impact on parking and historical preservation.

"They were sensitive on the historic point, they agreed with the residential features, they pushed for a little bit more commercial footage," explained Marshall. "I thought all of that was reasonable."

Albemarle County officials hope to get more community feedback. In the meantime, Beverly's hopeful everything will fall into place.

"It's exciting to know that in a few years, we could have a nicer, bigger spot, a new spot," said Beverly.

Planning officials say it could be years before the project breaks ground.

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