Woolen Mills redevelopment


Brian Roy is planning to turn the old Woolen Mills site in Albemarle County into a mixed-use development.

An agreement between Albemarle County and the developer of a site in the Woolen Mills neighborhood likely will be extended by six months.

In exchange for a $1 million county grant, developer Brian Roy is required to provide 10 parking spaces for public use, build a pedestrian bridge to connect to the Rivanna Trail across Moores Creek and pay up to $40,000 for the first year of shuttle service connecting the site to downtown.

At its meeting last week, the county Board of Supervisors approved changing the completion dates in the performance agreement with Woolen Mills LLC from Dec. 31 to June 30. The term of the agreement also would be extended to Aug. 31.

Roy, who already has received the funding, said construction on the building is moving along as anticipated, but that the pedestrian bridge requires approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because it potentially will alter a floodplain.

“FEMA isn’t a quick process, so we decided to ask for a longer period just to make sure we get the approval from FEMA that we need,” he said.

Roy has been working for years toward redeveloping the former factory, and in 2018 WillowTree Inc. announced that the site will house its headquarters. The state is giving $2 million in grant funding for the project, and the company will receive additional funding from the county when it reaches certain milestones.

A 12,000-square-foot event space, restaurant and microbrewery also are planned in a space that will be called The Wool Factory.

Roy said the initial agreement with the county was based on an original construction schedule, but it wasn’t considered final.

“We just moved it to be more reflective of the actuality that WillowTree’s not moving in until April 1,” he said.

At the board meeting, Supervisor Liz Palmer said she was concerned because the county already has given the $1 million, and she requested a construction update, which will be coming to the board in November.

Senior Assistant County Attorney Richard DeLoria said the county’s Economic Development Authority still would need to approve the amended agreement, and the county attorney would need to approve the final form. Roy, the authority chairman and County Executive Jeff Richardson still would need to sign the amended agreement, as well.

The development authority was supposed to meet Tuesday, but did not due to the lack of a quorum. The amended agreement was on the agenda.

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