Developers behind the long-awaited Center of Developing Entrepreneurs on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall are ready to raise a building.

Officials held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the project’s progress, provide a public timeline and give a peek behind the fence around the site on the mall.

Mike Castle, project executive with Hourigan, said all underground work has been completed and crews are ready to build up.

The CODE building is being constructed on the site of the former Main Street Arena, which closed in 2018.

Over the winter, crews extracted some pieces of the former ice rink and demolished the arena. Local hockey enthusiasts hope to reuse some of the arena’s elements in a proposed ice rink in Albemarle County.

Jaffray Woodriff, founder and CEO of the Charlottesville-based Quantitative Investment Management, a $3 billion hedge fund, purchased the property for $5.7 million in 2017. He is the main financial backer of the CODE project.

The planned 140,000-square-foot building will mostly serve technology firm startups and business ventures. It also will include retail, a co-working area, collaborative space and an amphitheater.

“What we’re hoping to do here … is build a multigenerational building to anchor the west end of the mall and reinvigorate the west end of the mall,” said developer Andrew Boninti of CSH Development Inc.

About 60% of space has already been leased, Boninti said. The project is expected to finish in the summer of 2021.

Developers plan to give quarterly updates on the progress of construction; the next will occur this winter.

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City hall reporter

Nolan Stout is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274,, or @nstoutDP on Twitter and Facebook.

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