Development Digest
Development Digest is a weekly round-up of the most significant buildings being planned in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Related Articles
Event space, restaurant, and brewery to join WillowTree at Woolen MillsVinegar Hill Park plans unveiledDowntown businesses briefed on planned tech center

While still on track for its anticipated 2021 opening, the Center of Developing Entrepreneurs (CODE) building on the Downtown Mall has made some modifications to accommodate the impact of COVID-19. 

Changes include automatic doors that will allow for touchless entry and windows that will be able to be opened, the latter of which is not usually common in commercial office buildings. The design of the building also includes a central courtyard and rooftop terraces on the tiered levels of the building — making access to fresh air achievable for future tenants. 

“Coworking in the COVID environment is a tricky proposition,” said Andrew Boninti, president of CSH Development. “Fresh air is what we need; fresh air is what we have.”

Overall, he said that the CODE building has been designed with plenty of space to allow for social distancing. Presently leased at 60% capacity, Boninti says his team will have to see what the next year holds in terms of the pandemic and office space needs in Charlottesville. 

“This will be an attractive alternative for anyone looking for space,” Boninti said. “If this were a Monopoly board, I would think the Downtown Mall was and still is having the position of ‘Boardwalk’ on that board.”

The building also features amenities such as rooms for nursing mothers and various conference rooms. The nine-story building will host coworking space as well as private office space that can be leased to companies, as well as a podcast room, event spaces and a 225-seat auditorium. 

With sustainability in mind, CODE is designed to be LEED certified with energy efficiency. The rooftop terraces will feature green space and have been designed to harvest and reuse rainwater. The subterranean parking garage will include electric vehicle charging stations and bike storage. 

The property is owned by entrepreneur and investor Jaffray Woodriff. Wolf Ackerman with Eskew + Dumez + Ripple has served as the architect, while Hourigan has handled construction. The building is anticipated to open its doors in August of next year. 

  • Address: 218-230 W. Main St.
  • Scale: nearly 1 acre plot with a nine-story building
  • Amenities: Green space and patios, conference rooms and auditorium, EV chargers and bike storage

WillowTree welcomed Sen. Mark Warner to celebrate soft opening of new offices

IMG_7494

WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel (right) speaks with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (left) in the cafeteria of the company's new office space in Woolen Mills.

Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods / Charlottesville Tomorrow

One year ago, U.S. Sen.Mark Warner, D-Va., joined WillowTree officials around a table in a crammed conference room at the company’s former Downtown Mall office space. This week, he returned to tour the over 80,000 square feet of its new home. 

WillowTree’s new space in Woolen Mills has been completed on schedule, but the move-in of employees has unfolded more delicately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to WillowTree President Tobias Dengel, staff has been working mostly remotely and coming into the offices as needed, with social distancing. 

In addition to spacious room for the tech company to continue its work on app development, amenities include a café run by Meriwether Godsey Inc., access to walking and biking trails and the construction of a bridge to connect to the Rivanna Trail over Moores Creek. 

While many technology jobs funnel employees into areas like New York City or Silicon Valley, Dengel said WillowTree continues to aim for growth that brings more of these jobs to the Charlottesville and Albemarle County area. 

WillowTree’s offices are within the overall Woolen Mills redevelopment, to include restaurant and event space as part of The Wool Factory, named as an homage to the structure’s history.

  • Address: 1835 Broadway St.
  • Scale: more than 80,000 square feet of work space
  • Amenities: on-site cafe, access to Rivanna Trail