The long-anticipated extension of Hillsdale Drive in Charlottesville may have hit another potential snag.
Staunton-based Heritage Hospitality Management has purchased the former movie theater on India Road as an “investment,” according to the real estate broker who completed the deal on behalf
of the Regal Entertainment Co.
“The purchaser is aware of the impact of the proposed road extension and I assume their development plans work with the plan for the road,” said Lee Warfield, president of Thalhimer, a commercial real estate firm.
Hillsdale Drive Extended is a planned two-lane road that will travel behind the U.S. Post Office facility from Greenbrier Drive south, connecting to Hydraulic Road. A 5-foot-wide sidewalk will be built on one side, with a larger mixed-use path on the other side for cyclists.
The road has been designed to carry an average daily traffic count of 16,200 vehicles with a speed limit of 25 mph. New traffic signals will be installed at the Greenbrier and Seminole Court intersections, with a roundabout to be built at Zan Road in the Seminole Square shopping center.
Heritage Hospitality Management purchased the 6.5-acre site from Regal Cinema for $3.25 million, significantly under the $4 million assessment for the property and the building.
Calls to Triangle Realtors, the firm that handled the transaction on behalf of Heritage, were not returned.
The Regal relocated in November to a new 14-screen theater in the new Stonefield commercial center across U.S. 29.
In the spring of 2009, Regal Entertainment announced it was going to upgrade the former theater by adding five more screens. However, those plans were dropped in 2009 in favor of developing in a new location. The Stonefield Regal 14, which features stadium seating and IMAX screens, opened in November.
In July, the Commonwealth Transportation Board allocated $13.8 million to construct the Hillsdale extension. The board vote was predicated on an expectation that landowners along the route
will donate the right of way because the road will facilitate redevelopment of the existing shopping center.
Jim Tolbert, Charlottesville’s director of neighborhood development services, said the sale just meant that the city would have to negotiate with different owners.
“The fact that there is new ownership makes it no more or less difficult to build Hillsdale,” Tolbert said in an email. “As a road project, eminent domain is possible but not the preferred method to acquire.”
The Federal Highway Administration approved the project in March 2006 when it issued a “finding of no significant impact” for the road’s alignment.
The road’s southern terminus was built as part of the development of the new Whole Foods Market on Hydraulic Road in Charlottesville and opened in the fall of 2010.