Final draft for "Carytown Place" accepted by city planners

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After listening to the people who live and work there, a Maryland developer has made changes to the plan for a proposed shopping center near Carytown. But the old Verizon building on North Nansemond could still be turned into "Carytown Place" offering you more shopping choices.

The final draft for Carytown Place has now been accepted by the City of Richmond. Developers made some changes including restricting hours of operation and eliminating one public entrance to the underground parking garage.

The changes reflect what developers heard from Carytown merchants, people who live near the old Verizon building and the city.

"As the facts are understood the support is growing," said Kevin Nielsen, a member of the local development team.

Maryland Financial Reality wants to convert the existing 50-year-old building into a shopping center. This is what it could look like should city council give the green light. What you won't see: a hospital, nursing or funeral homes, drive through operations like banks or a Walmart.

"Basically what we're going to do is make it all grade level so the second floor goes away we'll have higher clear rights and the parking garage we'll be able to utilize the basement for additional parking," said Nielsen.

Developers eliminated the public entrance on North Nansemond to the underground parking garage. It will be now used for emergencies only.

Under the final draft, retailers would only be allowed to operate between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. with the exception of restaurants that could stay open until midnight.

"The support right now and momentum is real positive and we really had a late start in getting the facts out there because we were working with the city, and we had the opposition out there the Don't Big Box and the facts were just incorrect," said Nielsen.

According to the city, the planning department has received 21 letters or e-mails and a petition of 62 signatures opposing the project. 93 letters or e-mails in support of the project have been sent to city planners.

The plan could go before the planning commission in early January.  Again, city council would have the final say.

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