A two-story, contemporary-styled building will be built on the north side of Library Avenue—across the alley from the back of B&B Cleaners—marking the first major new construction since the downtown Crozet zoning district was created in 2006.
The building, designed by architect Bob Anderson in collaboration with Katurah Roell of Piedmont Development Group, will be mainly of brick with some limestone at its base, according to Roell. The parcel it will go on, now owned by Carroll Conley, will be conveyed to Roell in June.
“It will use high-grade, classic materials,” said Roell, “and be blended with sustainable design features such as awnings and high ceilings. It’s a building meant to last.” Roell showed preliminary drawings to the county’s Architectural Review Board for a reaction last month when the ARB was reviewing the design of Crozet library. A formal appearance before the ARB for approval is expected in six weeks, he said. “We gave consideration in the design to being opposite the library, but we didn’t want to replicate it.” Roell said the design has so far evolved through more than a dozen iterations.
The upper level, containing about 5,200 square feet, will be configured into one, two, or three spaces depending on the needs of tenants. Roell imagines them as restaurants or retail spaces. The main level also includes a covered terrace that could be an outdoor eating area. The lower level will contain two office suites. Lauren Morris’s State Farm Insurance office will occupy one of about 1,266 square feet and the other, about 700 square feet, is available.
Six parking spaces will be created along the alley to serve the insurance office and another 20 spaces will be built on the upper level behind the building. A small section of road will be built connecting to Library Avenue and extending toward The Square, a road the Crozet Community Advisory Council recommended be named Barnes Avenue.
Roell said the change of grade on the site drove design considerations. Given that the downtown zoning requires relegated parking (parking behind buildings), Roell said a building running the length of Library Avenue is essentially dictated. Downtown zoning would allow a three- or four-story building, but a lack of parking for residential units decided him against adding apartments in a taller structure.
The building, dubbed Claudius Place, is expected to take six months to constuct and to be finished by next spring.
“We want to get downtown Crozet kicked off and make something happen there,” said Roell.