Former Albemarle Place awaits start

A long-awaited development slated for the corner of Hydraulic Road and Route 29 North in Albemarle County is officially ready for construction. The Shops at Stonefield—the 1.2 million square-foot development formerly known as Albemarle Place —will break ground in the coming months, according to its developer, Edens & Avant. However, a formal date has not been set.

The Shops at Stonefield promises to bring $1 million in road improvements to the Hydraulic/29 corridor.

The development will include a 12,500 square-foot Trader Joe’s grocery store, much to the delight of locals who spent the last two years driving to Short Pump because the chain’s local future seemed tenuous. The specialty grocery store first applied for a license with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in May 2009, only to withdraw it in July 2010. The application listed the grocer’s address at 1080 Seminole Trail.

According to ABC, however, there are no current applications for a Trader Joe’s in the area. It can take up to three months for an establishment to obtain an ABC license. Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe’s spokesperson, confirms to C-VILLE that the grocer will open in 2012, but no additional details are available at this time.

The Shops at Stonefield will be constructed in two separate phases. The first phase of the development will include 270,000 square feet of retail, a central plaza, “pocket parks,” and a 65,000 square-foot, 14-screen, IMAX movie theater. The second phase includes a 135-room hotel and residential properties.

Robbie Robertson, communications director for Edens & Avant, tells C-VILLE that after Phase One is finished, the hotel and residential areas will follow. More details about the planned hotel and the number of residential units will be released in the coming weeks, says Robertson.

A steady flow of positive news would be a change for the project, which encountered several hurdles. The Meadow Creek interceptor, the main sewer line that runs along Route 29 and will be utilized by the development, was deemed at maximum capacity even before the former Albemarle Place was put on paper. Built in 1950 by the City of Charlottesville and later conveyed to the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority, the interceptor serves both city and county residents and is undergoing renovations. Back in early 2008, Whole Foods, formerly slated to be included in the development, announced that it would build its own 55,000 square-foot store just a short distance away on Hydraulic Road.

Most recently, as a matter of re-branding, Albemarle Place changed its name.

“We felt that The Shops at Stonefield is a more accurate reflection of the development, one that speaks to the natural beauty, history and cultural vibrancy found in and around Charlottesville,” says Robertson in an e-mail. He adds that the name “evokes the natural elements of Central Virginia, incorporating an organic and environmental feel to a much-anticipated community focused retail center.”

The 65-acre development was approved in October 2003 with a set of proffers from the previous owner, the Cox Company. However, in August, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning that would allow the project to be built in two phases with a set of amended cash proffers. The proffers include $1 million for the construction of an additional travel lane from Westfield Road up to Hydraulic Road and money for other improvements, such as the entrances and exits of the 250 Bypass. Faulconer Construction Company, the same construction firm that has worked on the county portion of the Meadowcreek Parkway, has been awarded the contract. 

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