Piedmont Place To Break Ground In Downtown Soon

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Piedmont Place builders Drew and Michelle Holzwarth with architect Bob Anderseon at the spot the new building will go.

Piedmont Place developer Drew Holzwarth presented his plans for the building that will go across Library Avenue from Crozet Library to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee at its September 16 meeting.

The four-story building will have a restaurant with a patio on its terrace level, its main floor will house Piedmont Place Market, a court of food-related businesses similar to Charlottesville’s West Main Market, and above that will be two floors of apartments, each with four units on the building’s corners. The partial fourth floor will have a sky bar restaurant with an outdoor terrace, part of it covered by a roof, that looks west to the mountains.

“We’ve been watching the need for someone to step up in downtown Crozet,” said Holzwarth, a vice president with Stanley Martin Homes. He and his wife Michelle bought the property from Katurah Roell, who had a county-approved plan for the site, and they are using his same building footprint, as well as retaining the same architect, Bob Anderson, to make modifications for the new plan.

“It will be the first new building in downtown and it will lead in to the lumberyard. We redesigned the building and it will provide a lot of brick and stone to coordinate with the library,” said Holswarth, who has lived in Crozet since 2011 and serves on the Claudius Crozet Park board.

“It’s something the people of Crozet will be proud of. We are focused on the architecture. The terrace level will have 12-foot ceilings. Its elevation is the same as the library’s. It won’t feel like a basement. That level will also have a studio space, but the windows in that space won’t be floor-to-ceiling.

“Up one level is Piedmont Place market. This is more risky. It could be office space, but then it would go quiet at night.” Holzwarth said he has interest in the seven available spaces from an ice cream store, a local food truck that wants an indoor location, and an organic butcher. He expects more interest once the plan for the building gets publicly known. “We envision it being very active from dawn on. We also see it as an incubator for businesses in downtown.”

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Piedmont Place

The two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floor are elevator-accessed and will be for rent, not sale. Each has a balcony. “They are designed to allow residents to stay in them,” explained Holzwarth. “We hope to have residents who want to be near these [first floor] establishments.” Foam insulation will sound-deaden the apartment levels.

The rooftop sky bar will have 12 to 14 tables and its panoramic view will be about one floor below the top of Mountainside Senior Living.

The parcel has 28 parking spaces. “Is it enough? I hope so,” Holzwarth said. The Downtown Crozet District zoning requires only one parking space per 1,000 square feet of building, partly because many existing lots do not have space for parking on them and partly because it’s assumed downtown will develop on a pedestrian scale with people walking between destinations rather than moving their cars.

“I’d love to connect trails to downtown.  We want people to walk, like down Jarmans Gap Road, to use the shops. If I come there, I’ll ride my bike.”

The county has approved the site plans, but the project has a date with the county’s Architectural Review Board, which has purview over buildings within sight of entrance corridors, in early November.

Holzwarth said they expect to break ground this month and start on site preparation.

In other business the CCAC reviewed a general plan for the development of the Barnes Lumber property presented by Crozet resident Paul Grady, a trained architect and a local contractor.

“This is going to be the center of Crozet,” Grady said. “You need to have people living here. The views from the upper floors of these buildings are going to be phenomenal.”

Grady’s plan emphasized under-building and under-street parking decks that he compared to the design used in Queen Charlotte Square in downtown Charlottesville. “You should incentivize underground parking by allowing more upper floors,” he suggested. The main problem with his design he said was that some businesses would face side streets. “This plan shows the greatest amount of building space and the most parking of any design, without needing a parking garage.”

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Paul Grady

Grady’s plan also proposed a second trestle underpass below the railroad tracks that would connect with the Crozet Shopping Center lot on the north side by using the spot now occupied by the car wash. The new road would curve west and connect to Crozet Avenue near the Rescue Squad. Grady’s plan shows a new town square on the parcel’s high ground.

County facilities director Trevor Henry informed the CCAC that the Crozet Avenue sidewalk project connecting Crozet Elemntary School to St. George Avenue is stalled because it was bundled with a now-stalled project on Pantops in Charlottesville. VDOT requires bundled projects to stay synched. Construction estimates made by the county were $300,000 off the lowest construction bid that was received. His office is now looking at what can be accomplished with available funding and expects to rebid the project with less being done at Pantops.

White Hall supervisor Ann Mallek said the county was ready to go two years ago and faulted the bundling arrangement for causing the delay.

Sidewalks from Cory Farm on the north side of Rt. 250 to the Blue Ridge Shopping Center (the Harris Teeter location) are in preliminary design. A roundabout in the highway is being considered at the entrance to the shopping center.  A public hearing on the design is expected to be held in Crozet sometime this winter.

The Western Albemarle High School Environmental Studies Academy is getting a 12,500- square-foot greenhouse built as well as a similar sized classroom nearby.

The need for a sidewalk at the Rt. 240 four-way stop to connect Dairy Queen to Over the Moon Bookstore was raised by CCAC members.

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