Carytown merchants want to hear more about shopping center plan

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A developer is eyeing a piece of property near Carytown to add more retail, but the idea is already ruffling feathers.

Maryland Financial Reality wants to convert the Verizon building on North Nansemond Street into a shopping center. The developer has filed for a special use permit with the city of Richmond for the Verizon building, which is for sale.

One concern is traffic, another-- what stores will be brought in. The Carytown Merchants Association plans to meet with the developer next week.

The Verizon building near Carytown could look something like this. Maryland Financial Reality included renderings in its June application for a special use permit to turn the two story building into a shopping center with an underground parking garage. The head of the Carytown Merchants Association has already listened to residents' concerns.

"I think that's kind-of the concern, if you're going to develop that as retail, that you bring in stores Carytown needs; bring in stores that compliment what's already there," said Bob Broomfield.

The development could include restaurants, art galleries, and banks. A specialty grocery store could be among possible tenants in an area already saturated by supermarkets. Ellwood Thompson's is a half a block away. Martin's is just across the street and Kroger is one street over.

"Putting in a grocery store would seem to be counterproductive," said Broomfield.

Another concern is traffic.

"The 98 car parking garage comes out onto Floyd - the entrance and exit and they feel that's where the danger may actually be," said Broomfield.

Despite concerns, Broomfield is keeping an open mind.

"We should try to approach this less as an adversarial thing, and more as an opportunity to create a partner," said Broomfield.

City officials told NBC12, the planning department has requested the developer complete a traffic study on the area. Meanwhile, the city is expected to respond to the developer's application for a special use permit in a month or so.

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