From today’s C-Ville, written by John Borgmeyer -
With the promise of 1.8 million square feet of new construction—including a hotel, restaurants, a cinema, retail outlets, a grocery store, a two-storey department store and up to 800 residential units—Albemarle Place would be the latest incarnation of Albemarle County’s “neighborhood model.” Adopted in 2001, the neighborhood model asks developers to create more “urban” landscapes by building according to 12 principles, including “pedestrian orientation,” “buildings and spaces of a human scale,” “relegated parking” and “affordability with dignity.”
It seems the developers are fairly confident they will receive approval, yet not a word about infrastructure in this article. To get an idea about how slowly the development process moves, read this article at The HooK, (in 2003) with the statement about Mr. Cox – Now in his fourth year of trying to get Albemarle Place built … but I digress. Oops, here too – Cox estimates a late summer 2005 groundbreaking, at the earliest, and construction duration of 16 months. The development process is indicted once again.
Bob Burke with Bacon’s Rebellion remarked earlier this year:
By traditional planning logic, the Albemarle Place project is in the worst possible location: The trips generated by thousands of additional residents and workers should turn U.S. 29 into a poster child for gridlock. But the Albemarle planners know what they’re doing. In fact, the rest of Virginia should watch this development closely because it may offer a way to harness economic growth into a mechanism for transforming the disconnected, traffic-plagued development of the past four decades into something far more livable.
What makes this project different is its approach to moving people between home, work and daily errands, trips that otherwise would crowd existing roads. The development follows the precepts of New Urbanism: a pedestrian- friendly mix of residential, retail and commercial that gives people a chance to live near where they work and shop.
One of the engineers stated in 2003 (again with County bureaucracy’s stagnant pace) in a Lisa Provence article in The HooK -
“To critics who say Albemarle Place will only make the Hydraulic/29 intersection worse, Cox answers, “The traffic at Albemarle Place will be inconsequential.”
Nice. No matter how you look at it, this project will be completed. The timeline is more extended that perhaps ever imagined, and the infrastructure is inadequate, but it will be built. I apologize for the tone of this post, but I will be directly impacted. My office is less than a half-mile from this development; if you’re curious, see the map below. Albemarle Place is the open space at the top, between Hydraulic Road and Greenbrier Drive (but doesn’t encompass all of that space).
To really get into the nitty gritty, spend some time here looking at proffer data on Albemarle’s site.
This is a good article from the Virginia Business Online on this subject.
I am working on another post about the public’s perception of their involvement. I think this development is a key example.