A new three-story building in downtown Crozet is slated to bring several new businesses and apartments to the area, including a sky bar restaurant.
“Building a downtown is more than just the buildings,” developer Drew Holzwarth said. “It’s the makeup of the businesses, it’s the layout, it’s the use of indoor and outdoor spaces. It’s about building all these junctures, and we’ve incorporated all of that into Piedmont Place.”
Piedmont Place is situated on a half-acre on Library Avenue, directly across from the Crozet Library. Drew and Michelle Holzwarth purchased the property in June 2015 and broke ground on the site in December.
The building will feature a lower terrace level with a restaurant, an outdoor eating area and yoga studio and the main first level of the building will be home to the Piedmont Market, a hub of seven local businesses.
There will be four high-end apartments on the second floor and two apartments on the third floor, which also will have a sky bar and rooftop terrace.
Holzwarth said he and his wife — who have lived in Crozet since 2011 — took on the project after hearing a lot of talk about the future of Crozet, but seeing little action since zoning for the Downtown Crozet District was approved in 2008.
“We wanted to make sure that downtown Crozet was started in the right way, and we hope that people build upon it from here because we’re the pioneers. But we know that Crozet is ready for downtown and this will just be hopefully a jumping-off point for other people to help build the downtown,” he said.
The tenants are still being determined, but Holzwarth said the Morsel Compass food truck will be moving into a brick and mortar space on the main floor and Smoked BBQ Co. will move into the terrace restaurant and the sky bar.
“We’re calling it a ‘Southern comfort kitchen.’ We’re going to try to appeal to vegetarians, [people with] food allergies and the local community that’s within Crozet.”
Justin van der Linde
Holzwarth also said they are in talks with a homemade ice cream shop and are hoping to bring in an organic butcher.
Other possible commercial tenants include a coffee shop, a bakery and a local real estate office.
Holzwarth said he envisions Piedmont Place as an incubator for local entrepreneurs, too.
“Piedmont Place is, effectively, Crozet’s version of the [Charlottesville] Main Street Market, and so some of our leases in the market are as little as $500 a month and then they range to $1,500 or $1,600 a month,” Holzwarth said. “It’s an affordable way for an entrepreneur to kind of try their craft without going into a lot of debt or making a huge commitment.”
Some businesses might stay in Piedmont Place for a long time while others might grow out of the space, allowing new entrepreneurs to move into the building.
The energy-efficient building will have solar panels on the roof, low-flow water fixtures and LED lighting.
The design also features a stone material on the exterior of the terrace level that architect Bob Anderson said is similar to that used in the design of the Crozet Library and will contribute to a more cohesive downtown.
“It’s a natural material that sort of ties it into the natural environment, but it also does tie one building to the other,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the variety of commercial tenants will be a positive addition to the Crozet community and save people the time of having to make a trip into Charlottesville.
“It’s like a little village center,” Anderson said. “The [main level] is designed with an open hallway in the middle where tables and chairs can go. The end of the space, where you have a view looking out at the Blue Ridge, is going to be a little public area where people can sit there. Then there’s an outdoor seating area.”
Justin van der Linde, who owns the Smoked BBQ Co. food cart that operates on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, will be expanding his business into Smoked Kitchen and Tap on the terrace level and The Rooftop on the sky bar level.
“We’ve been approached a lot of different times to do things like this, and never really found the right fit for what we thought we would need to execute it,” van der Linde said.
Van der Linde said Crozet’s growth and Holzwarth’s commitment to entrepreneurship were two of the main factors contributing to the decision to expand operations to Piedmont Place.
“We’re calling it a ‘Southern comfort kitchen.’ We’re going to try to appeal to vegetarians, [people with] food allergies and the local community that’s within Crozet,” he said. “We are going to have our barbeque that we are known for, but we are going to try to balance that menu out with some options for everybody.”
Van der Linde said one of his goals is to become a hub for the Brew Ridge Trail, which includes Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton and Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet.
In terms of a timeline, Holzwarth said they hope to have the building completed by the fall.
“From this point forward, it goes really quickly,” he said. “When people walk in and see the first building, it’s going to be clear that we’ve made a significant investment in the future of downtown Crozet.”