Can Crozet have Three Centers?

With the proposed pedestrian mall in downtown Crozet, the question is – Can Crozet support Three business/residential/mixed use centers?

Crozet has become much more self-sufficient over the past five years – adding two gyms, another grocery store, two coffee shops, a bookstore … but it’s lacking substantial employers. For the right price, this could provide the last leg of the three-legged stool, the first two being retail and housing. How many small businesses would (re)locate to Crozet if this mall comes to fruition?

Downtown Crozet needs to do something to combat the challenges put forth by:

– The 250 West Corridor – Anytime Fitness, Harris Teeter, medical and dental offices, restaurants, office space … residential housing

– Old Trail Village – ACAC Fitness, Trailside Coffee, restaurants, Augusta Medical facility, Advanced Center for Physical Therapy (awesome place – they helped me rehab my ankle after a soccer injury) … residential housing in Old Trail Village.

Is the answer a pedestrian mall á la Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall?

– Housing would probably increase in value – houses that are close to stuff are more valuable. (Disclosure: I live within walking distance of the proposed site).

– Traffic would increase.

– Do pedestrian malls bring good paying jobs?

– What kinds of businesses, realistically, would want to locate here? R & D? Really?

This could be a big win for downtown Crozet and Albemarle County.

Charlottesville Tomorrow reports:

A group that oversees planning in Crozet has endorsed a new concept to redevelop a lumber yard on the Square into a walkable and livable community similar to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.

“We need a pedestrian mall in Crozet,” said Mike Marshall, chairman of the Crozet Community Advisory Council. “This comes into Crozet’s life at a very fortunate time for us.”

The CCAC voted Thursday to recommend rezoning the 14.74-acre J. Bruce Barnes Lumber Yard and CSX railroad property to allow for future development as part of the Crozet Master Plan.


“If you imagine Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, it’s a complete mixture of uses,” said Katurah Roell, president of R.E. Lee Construction and a representative of the lumber yard. “This is a very small scale, a version of that, but what it does create is the ability to have a gathering space and some place where people love to go [in] Crozet.”

Under this concept, the lumber yard would be redeveloped into a space that would be open to a mixture of uses. The concept provides 100,000 square feet of light industrial building space and would account for almost one-fifth of development for light industrial use in the Master Plan, according to Roell.

“From [research and development] business to office space, restaurants, retail [and] some housing,” Roell said, “it will provide a variety of opportunities for people to locate their businesses, live, work, play and entertain each other.”

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As an aside – what would the community do without Charlottesville Tomorrow? The comprehensive transparency they provide is unparalleled. I just donated a little bit of money to them; if you find what they do valuable, consider giving them a little bit as well.

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  1. John August 23, 2010 at 13:42

    This is indeed a Golden opportunity. The space at Barnes gives Crozet a once in decades chance to have a center that is well planned for personal and business connections, something it always lacked to have a real town feel. It may well struggle at first, but if done well it will provide a venue for the community to feel just that…a real community, in this day and age. Invaluable. I don’t live there but I would spend time and money at this center.

  2. Edward Strauss August 24, 2010 at 00:08

    Crozet has been a real community for decades. It is not a town. It is a shame that you
    can not realize that. You do not always have to create community. It is something that grows…

  3. Jim Duncan August 24, 2010 at 06:35

    “You” who?

    The best community in my opinion is the organic kind, and the kind that has been growing in Crozet for the past decade. I can’t speak to what it was like before then as I wasn’t there then.

    Maybe this is the next evolution, maybe it’s not. But it’s worth discussing.

  4. working 9 to 5 August 24, 2010 at 09:42

    “Can Crozet have Three Centers?” — this is where Charlottesville area diverges from most towns.
    Many restaurants, boutiques, and businesses are artificially supported. Speaking in broad terms and not specific to the shops in these centers, many of these owners have money (family $$) and are in it for a hobby
    So, yes, it probably can support 3 Centers. And if it doesn’t, you won’t really know until their owners get bored.

  5. John August 26, 2010 at 00:15

    A house can become a good home I’m sure without any architectural plan. But the last house I built I used an architect and greatly improved many aspects of our living and family interaction. The design and layout of a town are the same. It’s a shame you don’t realize that. (Just kidding Edward !).

    1. Edward Strauss August 26, 2010 at 00:43

      You have a point but, a home is built for a single family using their money.
      A community, which Crozet is, evolves from a period of time through many people.
      County Gov. is not engaged enough to really know the needs of the people. It has
      a basic framework that came from somewhere else, Streetscapes. They applied it
      to Scottsville, they are going to do it here and in Rivanna whether people want it or not. And, we have to pay for it. You feel that you need an architect for your home
      and government planning for the area you live in, thats fine. It’s a shame you brought that attitude to this area…

  6. John August 26, 2010 at 11:52

    I did not bring “that attitude ” of planned town improvement to this area. I don’t live in your area. I’m afraid the “shame” came from another source. What I did bring was a wealthy business investor to Charlottesville (from another country) in June. When he experienced the downtown mall, he decided to invest in your area. We visited the Barnes site. Perhaps you don’t want a downtown area. Perhaps you don’t want investment there. Leave Crozet alone, right?
    Even in a recession this site has written that Old Trail is succeeding. I think it’s succeeding because Crozet itself did not have it’s planning game together (what planning?) , and because Old Trail has built a center, even in this recession. And because Old Trail is PLANNING for community activity, walking, and interaction. If other observers don’t weigh in on this that WILL be a shame. I would hate to see interesting business investment lost and this Golden opportunity for Crozet wasted.

  7. Edward Strauss August 27, 2010 at 00:38

    Bringing foreign investors to the area is not my idea of anything positive. If you like
    Old Trail fine but, I feel that these tract housing, bedroom communities are not worth
    what the type people they attract demand. We have a great community now. We still
    attract more people than we need. Why waste taxpayer money changing a place that
    everyone claims to fall in love with. Once developers and realtors get involved in an
    area it is usually over. I’m sorry that your occupation has been reduced to this level…

  8. Pingback: Albemarle County Seeks to Facilitate Crozet getting a Hotel - RealCrozetVA — RealCrozetVA

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