Richmond City Council approves Carytown Place project

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A huge upset for those against plans to bring more shopping near Carytown. Richmond City Council unanimously approved a special use permit for Maryland developers to move forward with Carytown Place on North Nansemond.

This was a major hurdle overcome by the developer, which is excited about taking the next step. More than two dozen people stood before council both for and against. But things got heated right after the vote.

Tempers flared moments after the crucial vote.

"I'm ashamed of you, (Well I understand, said councilman Bruce Tyler), No I don't think you do because you don't live there," said Susanne Arnold who lives near the site where developers want to put a shopping center.

Arnold lashed out at Bruce Tyler who was the first of council members to speak on this night in support of the special use permit for Carytown Place.

Along with approving the permit, council members also adopted an amendment to the city's master plan for that area from transitional office to community commercial.

"I think the cards pretty much fell the way we felt they were going to fall," said Adam Houck.

Houck stood in line with more than a dozen others for a chance to change council members minds.

"I think this development will ruin what I've come to know as home," said Jeff Wilson.

"I don't care about competition, I see this as a beginning of huge change. It's a bad thing, anti- small business," said Tanya Cauthen.

Opponents worry about increased traffic. They'd rather see families move in to the space.

Councilman Marty Jewell called the old Verizon building an old bomb bunker.

"Think you could convert to residential is ludicrous," said Jewell.

The line among those in support was almost as long.

"We are revitalizing an old vacant abandoned building," said Aaron Ruby.

"I love walking to Carytown and appreciate more upscale grocery to shop at," said Crystal Johnson.

Along with the Fresh Market, Rob Shinn with the developer gave me more insight as to what to look for as possible tenants.

"A cafe a partly outdoor café, restaurant, I think you'll hear more in the next few weeks," said Shinn.

Shinn tells me the developer hopes to begin construction this summer and to be in business one year later.

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