By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Friday, May 6, 2011

Construction will soon get under way for the Shops at Stonefield, a mixed-use commercial and residential development in Albemarle County.

Developer Edens & Avant has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for Tuesday at 10 a.m.

An early site plan for Stonefield. Sperry Marine is located in the center of the development. (Source: Edens & Avant)

“This is going to create for us a very dynamic new shopping, entertainment and residential district in the heart of the county,” said county spokeswoman Lee Catlin.

The Board of Supervisors first approved the project, which was originally known as Albemarle Place, in 2003. It will be developed in two phases.

The first will concentrate on the south side of the property and will consist of 270,000 square feet of commercial space. Two confirmed tenants are specialty grocery store Trader Joe’s and a 14-screen RegalTheater that will feature stadium seating and an IMAX theater.

“At its completion, the Shops at Stonefield will offer about 1.2 million square feet of retail and mixed uses,” Catlin said.

Catlin said Edens & Avant expects the project to generate 722 retail jobs, as well as 1,700 construction jobs as it is built.

Other tenants are soon to follow, but have yet been announced.

“We don’t discuss ongoing negotiations until they are finalized but you can be assured the merchandising mix will be reflective of the needs of the community,” said Robbie Robertson, a spokesman for Edens & Avant.

Robertson said construction of the first phase is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.

A 7-11 convenience store on the property has now been closed. Near that corner will be the home of the Trader Joe’s.

The county has issued a permit to allow crews to begin grading the site, even though a site plan has not been approved.

“A revised preliminary site plan has been submitted and we should have an action on it in about two weeks,” said Mark Graham, the county’s director of community development.

The first phase will also include construction of a new lane on southbound U.S. 29 from Westfield Road to Hydraulic Road.

Graham said VDOT has already issued permits allowing for work to begin on that section of the road.

However, the extension of the lane south to the U.S. 29/250 interchange will be delayed until Edens & Avant pays a $1 million proffer to the city. The city will use that money to help fund a final design of a $4.7 million project to improve the interchange.

Graham said the $1 million is expected to be released to the city as soon as the final site plan for Stonefield is approved.

“That will probably in the July or August time frame,” Graham said.


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