Thursday, June 11, 2009

Charlottesville Albemarle Commercial Sector Shows Signs of Life. Sort of.

The Daily Progress' Charlottesville Business Journal reports that there seem to be some signs of life in the commercial sector. As reported by The Hook in April, Wendell Wood has clearcut a patch of land up 29 for a hotel, bank, and proposed chain restaurant. And Octagon Partners have proposed a Kohl's and hotel at Hollymead Town Center, home to Target.

(Meanwhile, "Albemarle Place" remains, literally, a sign with a telephone number on it, and Whole Foods has been downsized.)

The caveat in the article? "But challenges remain. Vacant storefronts and empty commercial space persist across the area, and shopping center owners are offering incentives to attract businesses."

Not much has changed in the past few months. We looked at commercial RE for sale and lease in March. There are four more lease properties available for a total of 252; and only one property has sold or delisted, leaving 154 available for purchase.

Additionally,
there are many "For Sale" signs on undeveloped land zoned for business/industrial use on Rte. 29 and just off the corridor. There are also properties available for sale or lease that aren't listed on the MLS.

The concern here is not with chains--it's with the individual store owner or business person. A trip to the Downtown Mall remains distressing when faced with so many empty storefronts.

But any hotel or chain that can bring jobs to the area? Great. And Rep. Tom Perriello (D.-Ivy) just announced 125 new manufacturing/defense jobs in Albemarle County. No indication of when they'll start or what they'll pay.

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