Meadowbrook Shopping Center Credit: Credit: Melody Robbins, Special to The Daily Progress

The owner of the Meadowbrook Shopping Center has filed plans with the city of Charlottesville to redevelop the site, adding two five-story buildings and 128 apartments.

“This is a housing project that is multi-story, self-contained and in a hopefully architecturally pleasing building,” said Clara Belle Wheeler, one of two partners in the development.
 
The project at the corner of Emmet Street and Barracks Road would be known as Meadowbrook Flats and developed in two phases.
 
The first would include a new five-story building with loft-style apartments on currently undeveloped land.
 
During the second phase, the shopping center would be demolished and replaced with another five-story building featuring 12,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and four stories of apartments above it.
 
“The second phase is not going to happen immediately,” Wheeler said. “The locally owned businesses there will not be impacted” for a while.
 
Current tenants include the Meadowbrook Pharmacy, Martin’s Tailoring Center and El Puerto. Wheeler said they all have secure leases and their existing spaces will not be redeveloped for many years.
 
Representatives of several businesses declined to comment until they had learned more about the project.
 
The site plan shows that the Tavern restaurant building and Anderson Carriage House both would remain.
 
Emmet Street is a main corridor in the city of Charlottesville and the Comprehensive Plan encourages a mix of uses,” said Missy Creasy, the city’s planning manager.
 
The Tavern closed in December 2011 when Wheeler declined to extend the restaurant’s lease. There are no plans for its redevelopment.
 
Wheeler said Anderson Carriage House might remain at least until February 2017, when its lease runs out.
 
Nearby ALC Copies is not involved in the development.
 
The project requires a special-use permit because the requested density and height both are higher than allowed under zoning requirements. 
 
The Planning Commission and the City Council plan to hold a joint public hearing on the permit in May. The Board of Architectural Review also will consider the project’s aesthetics. A critical-slopes waiver will be required.
 
Yates Nobles, who owns an adjacent property, said she is worried about traffic at the entrance to her neighborhood.
 
“I am concerned about the unreasonable number of cars that will be using an already congested street,” Nobles said. “There are already long lines to get through that intersection.”
 
Nobles called for a traffic study and said she wants to know more about the ecological impact. 
 
The development would increase the share of impervious surface on the site from 50 percent to 75 percent. The site plan includes details about how stormwater would be managed.
 
“Other departments and divisions review plans, as well, for compliance [with] other city codes and standards: building division, engineering, traffic engineering, fire, police, utilities, as well as design review for [the] entrance corridor,” said city planner Ebony Walden, who has been assigned to review the project.  
 
The site is zoned “urban entrance corridor.” 
 
“The intent of the urban corridor district is to continue the close-in urban commercial activity that has been the traditional development pattern in these areas,” Walden said. “Development 
in this district is both pedestrian and auto-oriented, but is evolving to more of a pedestrian-centered development pattern.”
 
Nobles questioned whether the intersection would be safe for pedestrians.
 
“It is already dangerous and this will put more people there,” Nobles said. “Somebody is going to be killed.”
 
Wheeler said she is not concerned about additional traffic because marketing will be directed to graduate students.
 
“The ideal [tenant] would be someone who comes there and lives there and parks their car and only uses it on the weekends,” Wheeler said.
 
The shopping center was developed by Wheeler’s father in 1950.
 
“I think my parents would be pleased with this,” she said. “My family has been here since before the Revolution. You have to grow and change with what the community wants.”
 
Wheeler said construction would begin immediately following approval. She said she is partnering with Pinnacle Construction on the project.  
 
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