The Charlottesville Planning Commission has backed a proposed apartment complex on West Main Street and a potential redevelopment of the now-shuttered Kmart site.
The commission voted, 4-2, to recommend approval of Milestone Partners’ request for a special-use permit for a 55-unit building at 602-616 W. Main St. at its meeting on Tuesday.
Commissioners Gary Heaton and Lyle Solla-Yates voted in opposition over parking concerns. Commissioner Hosea Mitchell, who is a member of First Baptist Church, did not vote because of his association with the congregation.
The request was tabled last month to allay concerns about the fate of a neighboring historic building.
The proposal is the second phase of an apartment complex that will include a 52-foot building with retail space on the ground floor facing West Main.
It would be constructed on property occupied by University Tire & Auto Center, which would be demolished.
The first phase was approved in 2016 and is scheduled for completion later this year. It will be a six-story apartment building behind the existing Blue Moon Diner with about 60 units.
The permit is required because 55 units creates a density of 120 units per acre, more than what is allowed by-right on the property.
The building would have a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with the possibility of three-bedroom units.
Units at the nearly completed building are advertised as $1,499 for a studio apartment and $4,090 for a three-bedroom apartment.
The main issue at the last meeting was the safety of the Holsinger Building at the adjacent First Baptist Church.
The 1912 structure is the church’s annex and the revised proposal has several stipulations to protect it.
The permit would require Milestone to create a protective plan for the Holsinger Building covering safeguards and monitoring procedures.
The plan must, at a minimum, include a baseline survey of the building, including written descriptions and visual documentation. It must include work with a third-party structural engineer.
Milestone must prepare a protective plan that includes seismic monitoring and any other measures recommended by the engineer.
The church must be given at least two weeks notice of demolition or construction activity at the site.
The report and plans must be submitted and reviewed by the Department of Neighborhood Development Services before any demolition or building permits are issued.
The application doesn’t say how the developer will meet affordable housing requirements.
Developer Jeff Levien proposed removing conditions for the permit requiring 53 underground parking spaces and limiting the building to four stories. He said the spaces were inserted in the application as a placeholder but aren’t feasible for the project.
“They aren’t going to fit,” he said.
Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg attempted to remove the requirement and instead hold the project to the zoning code requirements, but was unsuccessful.
The commission, acting as the Entrance Corridor Review Board, also recommended approval of signage for a proposed redevelopment of the now-shuttered Kmart site at Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29.
An artist’s rendering of the proposal, dubbed Hillsdale Place, depicts what appears to be a 40,000-square-foot department store resembling a Target.
The documents submitted to the city include Target’s signature red bollards and a bright red sign with an anchor where the store’s trademark bull’s-eye normally appears and the word “Anchor” where the store’s name would be, seemingly indicating the development’s anchor store.
On the opposite end of the development is a gray building labeled “Outdoor Outfitters” with the words “since 1938” above an entrance. Recreational Equipment Inc., an outdoor recreation retailer better known as REI, was founded that same year, and the design resembles some of the company’s other façades.
Other generic store names in the renderings include “Bells & Whistles,” “Sushi Dragon” and “WirelessOne.”
Hillsdale Place is about 6 miles south of the Target in Hollymead Town Center. Full-sized stores are about 130,000 square feet, according to the company’s website.
The smaller stores’ wares are stocked to reflect the needs of neighboring customers rather than an entire region, according to the company’s website.
Representatives from Target, REI and Riverbend Development haven’t confirmed plans for stores there.
The Kmart closed in July 2017, followed by the neighboring Gold’s Gym that fall.
The sign package now goes to City Council. If the council approves it, then the development will have all of the necessary approvals required to move forward.
In other business, Mitchell was appointed as the panel’s chair, succeeding Commissioner Lisa Green. Commissioner Lyle Solla-Yates was appointed vice chair.
The commission also recommended that City Council approve a special-use permit for 503 Rugby Road to allow Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority to renovate its building.