Carytown Place plans gaining momentum, includes Fresh Market

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Both excitement and disappointment now that a proposal to bring more shopping near Carytown is gaining momentum.

In a 7 to 1 vote, the Richmond Planning Commission approved a special use permit for Carytown Place which could be home to a Fresh Market.

But the shopping center with the possibility of a grocer at 10 North Nansemond Avenue isn't sitting well with the opposition. They're concerned about traffic and potential loss of business for Carytown shops. But supporters say those shops could only benefit from more people who visit the area.

Supporters and those against Carytown Place packed the planning commission meeting Monday. People who couldn't get a seat, stood outside, and waited their turn to speak.

"We majorly need the foot traffic in Carytown," said Kay Adams who co-owns a Carytown business.

Commission members also heard from people who live in the area.

"I've seen businesses go in and out of Carytown before and I thought if they do it right, this could be a really great thing," said one man.

"Carytown Place is bad for Richmond businesses," said Scott Dickens with the opposition group Don't Big Box Carytown.

"If I wanted to live near a suburban shopping center I would move to Henrico County," said Karen Kelly who lives near the area.

For the first time, we heard what could end up at the old Verizon building on North Nansemond.

"There's a memorandum of understanding, it's not a final signed contract with Fresh Market but it's an expression of very strong interest," said Rob Shinn, a spokesman for the developer.

Shinn said a specialty grocery store like that could rein people back in to the city to shop.

"This presents a different product that, as the planning commission staff report indicated, there's been a huge amount of leakage from the city in this category to the counties, so it should result in a large amount of tax revenue for the city," said Shinn.

"I don't think you're solving a problem by bringing in another grocer into that location which everybody knows is going to feed and cannibalize the competition from Ellwood's from Martin's from Kroger," said Adam Houck, a resident and member of the opposition group, Don't Big Box Carytown.

Earlier in the meeting, the commission approved an amendment to the city's master plan to allow for such a development.

Both the amendment and the development proposal will go before Richmond City Council for a final vote on February 28.

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