Yet Another Shopping Center

This May, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will look at rezoning the recently-bulldozed ex-forest-land across from Hollymead Gardens Cemetery on 29 North to create yet another shopping center, “Hollymead Town Center.” (Not to be confused with the shopping center planned for the Hydraulic/29 intersection, Albemarle Place, nor the shopping center planned for the corner of the corner of 29 and Proffit Rd.) This one will contain the much-discussed Target, plus a Giant, 1,300 apartments and townhouses, and 300,000 square feet of office space. The developers tout it as another Downtown Mall. County planning staff have recommended that the project be denied, who did so, hence the appeal to the Board of Supervisors. David Dadurka has the story in today’s Progress.

136 thoughts on “Yet Another Shopping Center”

  1. This disgusts me in so many ways that it’s really hard to keep track of them all.

    “Briarwood resident Jeff Cushing has been baffled by the absence of trendy retailer Target in this area ever since he moved to Albemarle County.
    ‘I’m tired of going out of the area to shop,” Cushing said, adding that he and his wife recently drove to Fredericksburg and spent several hundred dollars at a big-box retailer there.”

    Hey, Jeff? How about you and the little lady move to Fredericksburg, or wherever you moved here from? I don’t think we’ve got what you want.

    “The Target, Wood said, will be one-of-a-kind, because the company agreed to include fake windows and add Jeffersonian colonnades to the front of the building, something the retailer has never done before.”

    How stupid do they think that we are? “Gosh, honey, that looks like a huge, huge big-box store…but with those fake windows and plastic columns…well, I think Jefferson designed it! Take a picture, would you?” There’s this attitude among developers that you can fake history. That somehow people’s eye for reality is so weak that the mere addition of faux Jeffersonian columns to even the most pathetic structure renders it not just nice looking, but actually historic.

    “Wood also pointed out that the project must be done in stages.
    “‘I would love to develop that project all at one time, but that?s not economically feasible,’ he said. ‘Look at the Reston Town Center, it’s 15 years old and still being developed.'”

    Sweet Lord, did he have to bring up the Reston Town Center comparison? Reston Town Center is a little hell on earth. Why we’d want to emulate that is a complete mystery to me.

    “Board of Supervisors Chairman Lindsay Dorrier said the project certainly would bring more revenue to the county.
    “‘That takes pressure off the real estate taxes to fund the needs of citizens,’ he observed.”

    I would really like to see the math on this, because I don’t believe it. The first problem is the 1,300 residential units. Each new county resident costs the county more than the amount of revenue that they generate. Yes, adding residents is a money-losing proposition. The more that we have, the greater the need to either raise taxes or find alternate revenue streams. And, really, how excited can you be about 300 people finding minimum-wage jobs? I mean, unemployment around here isn’t exactly terrible. I understand that you’ve got to have minimum-wage jobs and people to fulfill them, but I’d like to see the county working to create jobs at businesses that are local, such that the money stays in town, and not wetting their pants with excitement whenever some big chain comes in and offers to pay 300 people $5.35/hour. The build-out cost alone in terms of adapting route 29 to handle that traffic flow surely outweighs the tax benefits for some number of years, and I want to know what that number is.

    I’d also really like to know if anybody’s doing the math on the amount of retail space that we’re going to have along 29 in the next five years. Are we going to have rows and rows of empty big-box stores in a decade? Or is the county planning on allowing the population growth to continue at such a rate that all of these stores will actually stay in business? I mean, somebody is in charge of making sure that this math works…right?

  2. Well, when it comes to shopping in and around Charlottesville, our local WalMart is a piece of shit. K-Mart is just struggling to stay open and it is shittier than WalMart. I would love to see a Target come here, but do agree that something has to be done about the traffic.

    They are suggesting that this new shopping area will be similar to the Downtown Mall? Wow, that’s all we need are more specialty shops. I have never been able to find anything remotely interesting in the stores on the mall. I am surprised it has survived this long. And, with the coming of Friday’s After $5, I am sure that these businesses that have stuggled to stay open will suffer even more since I am guessing that not as many people will come.

    Don’t get me wrong, "different strokes for different folks", it’s just the retail businesses on the mall have never appealed to my "non-artsy" self.

  3. Well, I have the opposing view of Waldo. You have to bear with me for that I am not a good debater.

    My friend was actually named in the story who owns the small business in the Seminole Commons *go ATR computers * (shameless plug). And having many discussions with him about how things are going on, he really wants the board to approve to this project. I remember him looking for places around the city and county. The downtown mall wasn’t even on the list because of the not so friendly parking. Barrack Roads wasn’t on the list because the high rent. I remember he didn’t like the shopping center where Office Depot is at. Don’t tell him to look at Albemarle Place, he use to work at a another computer shop which had no traffic. It was a place call Gateway (you know the shop that closed within a year). Rio is look at but it was still in driving distance with the other computer store.

    I remember him saying that a lot people were telling him about the development a.e. Target up on 29. So he went around that area and got people’s input about the growth. Lucky for him, the new Seminole Commons shopping center was recently built. They too was built because of the potential for development.

    Basically, it come down to the fact that area is a middle ground for a lot of people who work in the city and live out in the county. My friend tells me that he has a lot of people happy that they don’t have to travel back into the city after a long day of work. I guess it is two fold when you have the standard of living so high in the city that makes people live in the county or live in greene.

    As for the traffic problem, he tells me that around 4:30 it is bumper to bumper always. His folks live up in Earlysville. Their two choices to get into the city is through Earlysville road or 29. Earlysville RD is okay unless you get behind a speed demon who is going 30 mph. 29 is a litte ticky, You have to up through Airport Rd which you can get stuck behind a car who is going straight. A lot people go through the bank (wachiova) to kill time. The town center will allow people from airport rd or earlysville rd to get on 29 faster.

    I am not critizing you Waldo however if people want a Target then there is a market for one. I remember in high school my parents hated K-Mart. They would travel all the way to Staunton to avoid it. I think this area is tired of going to Wal Mart and would like a choice.

    As for the unique look of Target, you got the county to blame on that one. Did you know that there is less then I think %5 of Wal Marts that were made from bricks. Yep you guess it, Albemarle has one of them. The county makes these companies jump hoops to get approve just to applease the eye.

  4. My friend just read this site after telling him about it. He wanted to add that when he went to the Planning Commission meeting the best moment occur when a little old lady (I kid not) spoke about the Target. She said that can’t travel to far from her house. She doesn’t like the other places in the area. And occuring to my friend she said "WE NEED A TARGET". Everyone in the room chap their hands on that one. I guess people who are from this area cannot go great distances to avoid other shops. So Waldo I know maybe you wrote that with some emtions but you have to take a step back and look at the whole picture about it.

    Again, if the majority of the people want something then there is a market for it. Example is that you don’t see too many 8-track speciality shops around. People don’t want those.

  5. Personally, I think it’s just plain wrong that you need permission to build a store/office building/apartment complex. Why should politics come into play? Why don’t we ask the county every time we want to go shop at a big box store, or every time they want to hire a new person. After all, if one store can be politically popular and another not, then why can’t one shopper or employee be politically popular and another not?

    Waldo, how would you like it if you had to ask city council before you could start cvillenews.com? Perhaps your views are politically unpopular and therefore have no right to exist.

    I’ll be submitting a written request to wipe my ass, I urge the county to approve it.

  6. "My friend tells me that he has a lot of people happy that they don’t have to travel back into the city after a long day of work."

    Too bad. If you want the conveniences of city life, like easily accessible grocery stores and major retailers, you need to be willing to drive into the city where they are at (or should be). Living in the country doesn’t mean you can have it both ways. Country life=no convenience. City life=convenience. You pay for that convenience by maybe paying a little more in rent or mortgage.

    And if you don’t like driving in Rte. 29 traffic, try mass transit. Let a bus driver do that for you.

    (And personally, I don’t buy the notion that C-ville has THAT high of a cost of living. I used to live in Washington, D.C., and rented a place in the middle of the city for $665. I got two hundred square feet of space. When I moved back to C-ville, I paid $425 for 4 rooms. If you want a lower cost of living, move to Mississippi.)

    …"if the majority of the people want something then there is a market for it."

    Well, I don’t have all the answers but the majority of the people aren’t all the time fully informed of the impact of big-box, sprawling development like this.

    I’m not saying I don’t shop at Target. But I believe that it should be centrally located within city limits, where there is density. I say shut down K-mart and put Target there.

  7. Target would be more viable at K-mart’s current location. If I were a developer, I’d be eyeballing that spot.

    IF Target were approved for Albemarle, then you’d not only have country residents hopping in their cars on any given day to shop there, but also city residents, thus really clogging up traffic along Rte. 29.

  8. I agree 100%. And it’s not just about "math". Although every desirable community does have to grapple with growth, the ‘big box’ way of doing it, that is bending over backwards for you know what, is brain-dead.

  9. "Too bad. If you want the conveniences of city life, like easily accessible grocery stores and major retailers, you need to be willing to drive into the city where they are at (or should be). Living in the country doesn’t mean you can have it both ways. Country life=no convenience. City life=convenience. You pay for that convenience by maybe paying a little more in rent or mortgage.

    And if you don’t like driving in Rte. 29 traffic, try mass transit. Let a bus driver do that for you."

    Let me get straight, because people who cannot live in the city but works in the city, they must shop in the city. Alright lets say Worker Bob works at the university. He has a reg shift of 9-5. He lives out in Greene County because of two things. It is cheaper for him and nicer for his family. It then takes him 45 minutes with traffic to drive home. Once he gets home, he notices that he needs something for something. His choices are Wal*Mart because he doesn’t want to drive all the way back to Barracks Road to get one item. So you are telling me if he wanted to cut down on driving time to move into the city instead of developing a shopping center closer to him and a whole of people.

    Good Solution I will help you with that.

  10. "

    Hey, Jeff? How about you and the little lady move to Fredericksburg, or wherever you moved here from? I don’t think we’ve got what you want.

    "

    Great, we have more tax dollars spent in other communites then ours. Good solution.

  11. You are not so much defending freedom as you are advocating allowing big business to dominate us all.

    In response to your example, one is better off asking the county for ass-wipes than big business. Although the latter will oblige if you fill mail in a coupon with personal vitae data and spend at least $99.99 plus taxes. Allow 6-8 weeks for processing.

  12. hate to tell you this, but there is a lot of people don’t shop the downtown. I know for me I only go to it for the movie house. And sometimes, we just all together wait for whatever movie is playing at the Downtown to come out on DVD.

  13. I agree. I could be sorely mistaken, but I believe Hollymead is way the heck up 29, way past Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club. I’ve been excited about Target possibly coming here, but if it’s that far up, chances are I’ll never ever go there, seeing as I work on the Corner and live 30 miles from town in the opposite direction.

    The current K-Mart location would be an excellent choice.

    What ever happened with the old Phar-Mor location? I thought with some renovation (or not), that would be an excellent choice for a Target.

    And another question, what shopping center is being planned for 29 and Hydraulic? It seems like you’d have to tear something down in order to fit anything else in.

  14. Developers have proposed a Best Buy there. They’d tear down Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House and the Mount Vernon motel.

  15. I mentioned before that I would never visit the Target, as I really have no reason to go that far.

    However, I have two main problems with almost any new shopping center.

    1) Urban sprawl. It’s ugly and it is not good for the environment. It causes strains on the local area in resource use and possibly in increased population, as in this recent proposal.

    2) There is currently a large commercial vacancy rate in and around Charlottesville. I recognize that not all commerical spaces are viable for all businesses, but I hate to see new shopping centers when there are empty storefronts elsewhere.

  16. Have you been to Fredricksburg? It’s ugly as all get out (with mere pockets of good communities)! Do you want that here? It’s a wasteland like Fairfax!!!!!!!!!! Who gives a crap about tax dollars spent elsewhere when you have to deal with all that sprawl development, who hold no sincere ties to the community?

  17. I’d heard about that. I don’t really consider that on Hydraulic, but I guess it’s pretty close. I guess I consider that as being next to the 250 bypass. Oh well. That’ll be a weird change to see.

  18. What I am talking about is preventing haphazard strip-mall development. I give kudos to Albemarle for trying to build density in certain areas and providing services (grocery stores and what not) to those communities with density.

    Now, if "Worker Bob" wants to continue to get home in 45 minutes, he’ll probably not want to have the expanded Hollymead Town Center/Target/apartment complex or whatever it is come to fruition because it is going to add another 10 to 15 minutes plus to his commute, with all the additional traffic that is going to clog Rte. 29. So much for quality family time.

    Like I said, if you want convenience, you need to live close(r) to the city or in the city. I don’t think it is TOO heartless for me to say that, yeah, that sucks if you forgot something you need when you were already in the city but remembered that, oops, you needed it once you go home all the way up in Greene County.

  19. Indie has a good point in that living in the country does imply some sort of loss in convenience. I would answer your friend, Worker Bob, in two ways. First, I would tell him to plan ahead. Sure, it’s not likely he’ll remember everything he needs every day, but if he’d keep a mindful eye on what food, supplies, etc. he needs and get them on the way home, he’d rarely have a need to go back into town. As I live in Nelson County, and there is even less commerce along the 29 corridor than there is north of town, I know about this very well. I am rarely without anything I really need and I never go into town after I have returned home.

    I would also point out that if Worker Bob moved to Greene because it was nice for his family, then wouldn’t a Target and other business go a long way to destroy that niceness. It would be damned convenient for a Target, Home Depot and a Giant to open up down the street for me, but the character of Schuyler would be irreparably destroyed.

  20. Oops. I’m getting the developments confused. There is a proposal for a Best Buy where I mentioned, but at the 29 and Hydraulic intersection there is another proposal for something called "Albemarle Place" which would consist of a variety of high end shops like Pottery Barn.

  21. SO you are saying for anyone who wants to open up a business, you either open closer to the city where people have to drive to or move to Fredicksburg. That is really a sad statement. Charlottesville believe or not is growing. You or no one else can stop it. The only way to stop it is to move to Alaska.

    BTW, I am surpise everyone is saying that K-Mart is the best location. Last time I check, K-Mart is still in business. Pharmor isn’t but I believe a company who is a sporting good shop is planning on moving there.

    As for the person who will not shop there because it is beyond wal*mart, it is your right now too. However, if people who live the opposite want have the convience of shopping closer then it is their right. It is also the right of someone to develop if they think it would be a SOUND INVESTMENT.

  22. 1) Urban sprawl. It’s ugly and it is not good for the environment. It causes strains on the local area in resource use and possibly in increased population, as in this recent proposal.

    I don’t think a shopping center like the HMTC will cause us to be like F-Burg or NoVA. In those areas, the cities are stack upon each other. Lets face it, 29 is growing outward. Nothing will stop it. The University Park and NGIC are the beginning. You have the right not to shop there if it is out of your way. However, according to my friend, this will be a lot easier for people living this side of Albemarle.

    2) There is currently a large commercial vacancy rate in and around Charlottesville. I recognize that not all commerical spaces are viable for all businesses, but I hate to see new shopping centers when there are empty storefronts elsewhere.

    True, but you have to look at what my friend and other business owners think. Albemarle Square is okay but is still a ghost town with the exception of ACAC and Outback. Barracks road is too high. And believe or not, business owners do want to reach people outside of the city and up on 29.

  23. Hydraulic intersection – that is the easist place to drive through. I guess the traffic won’t be as a bigger problem.

  24. I’m saying there are a variety of variables that need to be considered and each needs to be looked at in context to a specific location. But we can also use other poorly developed cities as case studies, if you will, for what NOT to do, such as Fredricksberg and Fairfax.

    In this case, we are looking at locations for a Target in the Charlottesville metro area. Targets and Walmarts and K-marts and Home Depots should not be dropped right in the middle of some rural area where people supposedly like to avoid the fast pace of city life. These types of develpement belong in centrally located areas where everyone can get at them. Guess what? The city (C-ville and parts of Alb.) is the most centrally located place in the Green-Fluvanna-Albemarle area. A big box store doesn’t belong on the outskirts of some city where only a few people like yourself and Mr. Jeff want it so you won’t be sorely inconvienced. What about the people on the other side of Albemarle? Don’t they deserve a Target too? Won’t they be inconvenienced by having to drive clear across the county to get to it if settles at the Hollymead Town Center? But you don’t care do you? As long as you get yours. By your logic, we need Targets on the four corners of the county. Heck, it’s their right to have one. Right?

    I am not saying that businesses shouldn’t be allowed in rural areas. But they should be developed on a smaller scale to meet the immediate needs of that community. In this way, we are supporting and empowering the small business owner so they don’t have to go to work at Target or Walmart and make peanuts.

    Leave the larger scale developments like Target and whatnot to the high density areas.

    Believe me, K-mart is on its way out. Consider the possibilites.

    Isn’t it not only selfish but also illogical to say that I want peaceful country living but also want the convenience of city life?

  25. I’m not sure I follow on the supply point, because as I recall Ruckersville has shopping centers for any grocery and pharmacy related item one might need. I can’t imagine getting home and saying "Damn, I forgot to get the Swell sheets and that circular saw." I understand the desire. Sometimes I druel over Target ads.

  26. hate to tell you this, but there is a lot of people don’t shop the downtown.

    That’s *why* we shop downtown.

  27. I live not too far from you. I could see a decent shopping center (Target, Giant) around Scottsville, Lovingston or North Garden. I would advocate they not be right off R29 or R20, as this would yuckify the area. But a mile off of a secondary road, yeah, that would work!

  28. I am not critizing you Waldo

    Well, why in the world not? :) I’m just as much as a moron as anybody else in this world. I’m just louder. :)

  29. Great, we have more tax dollars spent in other communites then ours. Good solution.

    I certainly hope that we would not permit any business that would provide tax dollars. We could run a garbage dump, for example. That could potentially provide a tremendous amount of revenue for Albemarle County. But we can all recognize that would not be worthwhile.

    I don’t mean to say that a shopping center is on par with a garbage dump, but you see what I mean: we must have — and do have — criteria other than “it would provide tax dollars.”

  30. Developers have proposed a Best Buy there. They’d tear down Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House and the Mount Vernon motel.

    I see that you’ve caught yourself regarding the transposition of developments, but I want to point out that the Best Buy is, as best as I know, a done deal.

    As long as I’m mentioning it, this is the single worst placement of a new retail location that I have ever witnessed in Charlottesville. In order to get into this new Best Buy, you have to be driving south on 29. If you’re driving north, you have to hang a U-turn and drive across three lanes of traffic. Heading south involves being in the right lane. We’ve all seen that right lane: that’s the one that’s backed up to the other side of Hydraulic from people trying to get onto 250 west. Now it will also include people attempting to get into Best Buy. Leaving Best Buy won’t be much better. That means getting out and getting through the backup getting onto 250 and, of course, you can only go south. Going north will mean heading down 29 for 30 seconds and turning into the Bodo’s/English Inn parking lot, as I don’t think that it’s legal to take a U-turn at that break in the median.

    Amazing that the Board of Supervisors doesn’t think this kind of thing through, isn’t it?

  31. Lets face it, 29 is growing outward. Nothing will stop it.

    Well, that’s not true. Just limit or end growth. That would certainly stop it, wouldn’t it? :)

    This logic (if I may steal from a column that my mother wrote for the Progress some months ago) is akin to a pregnant woman with a dozen kids saying “Let’s face it, every time that I have sex, I have children. Nothing will stop it!”

  32. I am sure that you meant that the city council doesn’t think this though. The city had to have the sales tax revenue.

  33. Basically, it come down to the fact that area is a middle ground for a lot of people who work in the city and live out in the county. My friend tells me that he has a lot of people happy that they don’t have to travel back into the city after a long day of work.

    And that’s more of the county’s bad planning. They have come up with nothing close to a viable model for how to handle these traffic patterns, but I assure you that filling in all of the road between the Downtown Mall and Boonesville with shopping center after shopping center is not going to be helpful. They’re attempting to make up for their bad planning with more bad planning.

    It’s amazing to me that people buy a house 20 minutes out in the county and then complain that they have to drive 20 minutes to get a loaf of bread. Duh. If they want to live in the suburbs, they should just live in the suburbs. But if you want to live in the country, then suck it up, you’ve got to stock up on bread. I talk to more people that assume that wherever in Central Virginia that they live, the county is to ensure the prompt provision of a Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Target, 7-11, Exxon, Sam’s Club, and Lowe’s five minutes of their home. These are people that should not live here. They should live in Northern Virginia, or some similar sprawl hell, where I imagine that they would be happier.

    As for the traffic problem, he tells me that around 4:30 it is bumper to bumper always. His folks live up in Earlysville. Their two choices to get into the city is through Earlysville road or 29. Earlysville RD is okay unless you get behind a speed demon who is going 30 mph. 29 is a litte ticky, You have to up through Airport Rd which you can get stuck behind a car who is going straight. A lot people go through the bank (wachiova) to kill time.

    I promise you that another shopping center will do nothing to help this. As a direct consequence of the creation of this shopping center, you will see the development of more homes within a short driving distance of Charlottesville. As the urban ring expands, so does the suburban ring. As the suburban ring expands, the urban ring catches up with it. And so on. Eventually, your city looks like Dallas or Los Angeles: a seemingly-endless series of identical sea-of-parking-lot-fronted shopping centers, interspersed with boxy little vinyl-siding homes separated from the four-lane divided highway by “privacy fences” surrounding their 300 square foot yards.

    The commute — like sprawl — never gets better, only uglier and more extensive.

    if people want a Target then there is a market for one. I remember in high school my parents hated K-Mart. They would travel all the way to Staunton to avoid it. I think this area is tired of going to Wal Mart and would like a choice.

    A choice — you mean like K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club? :)

  34. Personally, I think it’s just plain wrong that you need permission to build a store/office building/apartment complex. Why should politics come into play? Why don’t we ask the county every time we want to go shop at a big box store, or every time they want to hire a new person. After all, if one store can be politically popular and another not, then why can’t one shopper or employee be politically popular and another not?

    Waldo, how would you like it if you had to ask city council before you could start cvillenews.com? Perhaps your views are politically unpopular and therefore have no right to exist.

    That’s hardly a fair comparison. When I put up this website, it had no impact on the services provided by the city. There is no use (of note) of the city’s resources, no impact on their tax base. When a major shopping center is put in, the city (or, in this case, county) must extend water, sewer, and roads. They must ensure that the roads leading up to that road are sufficient, and upgrade those roads if they’re not. They have to determine the environmental impact of the razing of the existing land and addition of the new property. They must consider its location with regard to residences, and determine the likely demand that it will place on the construction of new homes. When a major shopping center is built where there were none, it’s anticipated that land values at a certain radius will increase, due to the new availability of services. Again, impact analysis must be done and, if necessary, services have to be extended to this area as they were to the small area for the initial construction.

    No, permission is not just a good idea, but absolutely essential. Failing to require permission would indicate a total lack of planning, and a lack of planning leads to serious trouble.

  35. North Garden already kinda-sorta looks like that. Even more so when the county fair is on.

    There’s good pizza there in any case!

  36. Wow, so many people on both sides. My friend told me that rumor has it that this whole project is a done deal. And they are planning to start construction by least July. Heck if you drive by the area the trees were already cut down for this project.

  37. I am sure that you meant that the city council doesn’t think this though.

    Did I? You’re very kind to think so. ;) I’m never sure what of that brief section there is in the city, and what’s in the county. If it’s the city, that’s worse still, primarily in how it is indicitive of the problems of city/county collaboration on such things. I’d really like to find out more about the manner in which this project came to gain approval. Perhaps after exams are done in a couple of weeks…

  38. Again, I agree, except maybe Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are close to same thing, and K-Mart, in particular the one on Hydraulic, is beyond pathetic.

    I know many of you hate me saying this, but I’ll say it anyway: other countries are far better urban planners. The problem in the U.S. is there’s an almost religiously subservient relationship going on with big business. You’ll hear the same stupid rhetoric such as "tax base", "tax revenues", market determinationism and brainwashing shit like that. All handily spoon-fed by the big ad, lobby and party affiliation spenders.

    Anyway, you either have an understanding or you don’t.

    But there are indeed better ways altogether. First, where is it written shopping centers must be on the main artery of any given town? In fact, from an urban planning standpoint, putting big box stores on the same road being used by daily commuters is utter ineptitude! Sure, the big chains want immediate, absolute exposure, but who was the shithead that said we had to give it to them? And everyone knows people love to shop. So, creating what are called “commercial centers” a mile off the beaten path with great access roads built specifically for the centers *by* the centers makes loads of sense. People will drive there no matter what. Heck, at least they’ll have a real excuse for boarding their big floating gas-guzzlers. And the regular other traffic will endure far longer and much mo’ bedda. Think of the REAL savings to tax payers!

    And what about aesthetics? This is another losing proposition all over the U.S. Strip centers, shopping malls and their accompanying façade buildings rated for 10 to 20 years before major rebuild on the companies’ cash flows (I know this for a fact as a 15% IRR for 10 years represents a definite “go” and salvage values kick in after typically 15 years) only serve to prove what community value proposition these corporations truly bow to: quick and easy profits for a self serving corporate Board of Directors and maybe their stockholders (who live in Palm Springs, not where these ugly boxes are erected).

    Etc. etc.

  39. It seems relevant to point out that today (Monday’s) Washington Post reports:

    The employment picture continues to be more robust in Virginia than nationally. Virginia’s February jobless rate (4.3 percent, compared with a 6.4 percent national mark) was unchanged from the revised January rate, leaving 159,600 workers looking for employment. Charlottesville, at 2.7 percent, and Northern Virginia, at 3 percent, had the lowest jobless rates of the state’s eight largest urban areas, while Danville had the highest at 7.5 percent.

    Business in Brief, page E02.

  40. And this is an important point. I’m not for extending our row of shopping centers further north so the sprawl chain can grow link by link until Washington D.C. is connected to Charlottesville by Fairfax, Manassas, Culpepper and Charlottesville. But if no Target/retail area goes into that denuded hillsided what will? How would another suburban project of homes like Forest Lakes or Hollymead change the stress on the county to provide services to the area? After all, the trees have already been cut down.

  41. Definitely a City thing. I clearly recall Maurice Jones salivating about the potential $40 million in taxable sales. He didn’t bother to mention the minimum wage jobs, however. I guess he just forgot.

  42. Last time I heard, there were no plans for this particular K-Mart to close. Have you heard differently? Unless things have changed, I don’t imagine that location holds much promise for the long-awaited and rumored Target-Olive Garden-Home Depot Industrial Retail Complex Centre&reg.

  43. Yeah, after reading everyone’s posts, it seems like their solution for this center is to replace an existing shopping center. And I don’t think that K-Mart is closing either. You can’t put it beside each other. Though it was have been nicer to put a Best Buy there, I am sure they didn’t want to jump the hoops in the county.

  44. On a further note, I see that the 29N/Hydraulic intersection is on the City Council’s agenda for this evening (WINA link). Anyone know anything about this?

  45. You get two hours for free by visiting a store downtown and getting your ticket stamped. There are plenty of deals to be had. There’s a great used book store, there’s the Hardware Store restaurant for good food, reasonable price. You can pick up a comic book after skating, then head over to Escafé for a deal of a dinner with sometimes live music. Let’s not forget the nicest looking movie house in the area, the sandwich shops, the Post Office, office supply store and used furniture and more place. Etc.

  46. I don’t think Mr. Wood (ironically enough) will not spend $$$ on replanting the trees. It is his property and he can do whatever he wants. It is like if I decided to cut down the trees in my front yard.

  47. And a lot of people — myself included — don’t shop uptown. The traffic situation pisses me off, the sea of asphault, the fact that it’s impossible to walk from location to location, the endless series of chains…

    Dif’rent strokes and all that.

  48. Beware – by trying to list what is available Downtown, you’re opening yourself up to a list of what ISN’T available Downtown (which would be, presumably, a much longer list)!

    Downtown Charlottesville, to me at least, is severely lacking in the "shopping" department. It’s a hassle to get in and out, and unless you can find a street space (doubtful), you’re stuck parking in one of the garages, which aren’t located very conveniently.

    Many stores close at 5 or 6 pm, and many aren’t open on Sundays. Since most of the shops have the disadvantage of not being able to purchase from economies of scale, they tend to shy away from carrying commodities that can be found for much less elsewhere. Hence the "boutique" nature of most of them.

    However, Downtown kicks regal ass when it comes to ambience, and there are a few good restaurants (though, IMHO, most are rather over-rated and far too much Mall real estate is occupied by "cafes" that the restauranteurs don’t pay nearly enough rent to occupy – I mean, come on – it looks like a freaking food court!). The people make the place adn provide the vibrant atmosphere, and while I feel left out not to have had any Mall Rats call me a M*****F***** while dining, in general the crowd is as diverse as any you are likely to find within an hour’s drive.

  49. A totally accurate assessment of Wendell Wood’s business philosophy. Withouth question, there WILL be something built upon that land, and sooner rather than later. And there won’t be a square inch of parkland that isn’t demanded by ordinance, believe me. Whether it’s a Target or a new gaggle of mid-priced townhomes, it’s coming.

  50. While Mr. Wood may not be interested in planting trees on his property, actually, he can’t do whatever he wants. While ownership of property conveys many rights, they’re not absolute rights.

    In this country, we recognize that private ownership of property affects the rights of the society as a whole and so we give government the power to exercise limited control over the use of private property. That control is most often exercised through zoning.

    If, for example, Mr. Wood wanted to use his land as a dumping site for bio-hazardous material, he might encounter difficulty in doing so. If you were his neighbor, you’d certainly appreciate that governmental control.

    I understand that a retail shopping center ain’t exactly a bio-hazard dump, but I’m sure you take my point: he can’t do whatever he wants.

  51. Yeah, those restaurants are fantastic: Hamilton’s, Oxo, Metropolitan, C&O, Fleurie, Escafé, The Hardware Store, the Tunisian / Moroccan guy (can’t remember his name), L’Avventura, Bizou, Christian’s Pizzeria, etc.

  52. Correct. Nobody knows if the K-mart is going to close. But nobody knows that it isn’t either. In my dream world, if I had to think of a "lesser of all evils" place for the Target, it would be the K-mart location, ’cause K-mart is such an utter dump… and it would be in a central location.

    If the Target deveopers are so gung-ho about putting one in this area, maybe they could make the K-mart folks an offer they can’t refuse. I don’t know…. I’m not sure how all that works. But I wouldn’t preclude any ideas.

  53. Tunisian / Moroccan guy (can’t remember his name)

    Mmmm…Bashir’s… In fact, now that you mention it, I’m going to walk across the street right now and get a sandwich from him. Try that working in some office park up 29. ;)

  54. "…you’re stuck parking in one of the garages, which aren’t located very conveniently."

    There’s that "convenience" thing again. You have three parking garages on corners of the mall, the Omni, Water St., and Market. How much closer do you want to park. Should they have a parking garage in the middle of the mall? It’s a pedestrian mall for goodness sakes!

    "Since most of the shops have the disadvantage of not being able to purchase from economies of scale, they tend to shy away from carrying commodities that can be found for much less elsewhere."

    The fact that the downtown mall carries things you can’t find elsewhere is what makes it a draw. We like that.

    If you want lots of parking and economies of scale, Wal-mart is just down the road.

  55. I agree that would be a prime location, but looking at other Target-like locations, they weem to tend to prefer locations where there are other retailers immediately nearby. I don’t recall ever having seen a stand-alone Target (unlike Wal-Mart, which seems to prefer being apart from others – or perhaps others prefer being apart from them).

    Still, that overall site (including the defunct Terrace Triple Theater and the woefully archaic Four-plex behind it, would seem to be ripe for a bulldozer and a "planned" center. They could replace the Theater with a modern multi-plex, preferably one with stadium seating and decent THX/DTS sound systems (currently not available in this town). Seems to be plenty of space for a lot more than they have going on there now.

    I can’t imagine K-Mart not accepting an offer if it’s attractive enough for them, but perhaps they see that location as one well-suited for their own post-bankruptcy plans.

  56. Just curious: since when did convenience become a bad thing?

    I was pointing out some of the factors that keep people from spending their money at the Downtown Mall. In a lot of cases, those factors also happen to be what make outlying shopping centers extremely popular and profitable. If enough people find the coming outlying shopping meccas to be as disgusting as you seem to find them, they will fail. That’s economic Darwinism.

    Similarly, shopping on the Internet has skyrocketed, and continues to do so. Why? Because the selection is virtually limitless, prices are usually lower, and it’s ridiculously convenient. No store, large or small, private or corporate, can compete with the web on that level.

    That certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t a very real need for the type of shopping one can do on the Mall, and that there isn’t a tremendous value in those boutique shops. However, it’s unrealistic to expect all, most, or even many shoppers to prefer that particular model over the price, selection, and convenience available elsewhere. If the shops on the Downtown Mall can’t attract enough paying customers, they will go out of business. That’s also economic Darwinism.

  57. Certainly, big-box retailers come to town with an assortment of problems. Big-boxes, in coordination with local government make poor land-use decisions, fracture communities by drawing residents away from city centers that took decades to establish, and often dramatically destabilize local business environments.

    Though all of the big-boxes have made mistakes, leaving vacant stores and jobless residents, it’s obvious that they have a market right now. In many towns, they do a good job keeping consumers happy, mainly by offering huge selection at affordable prices. This generally positive service they provide distinguishes them from landfills, waste dumps, and strip mines.

    I once thought big-box development was utterly unsupportable. Since then, I’ve seen a number of communities succeed handsomely alongside every big-box there is. See Austin, Albany, Portland (OR), and perhaps Knoxville. How have these places done this?

    One, they all have vocal citizens who are committed to ensuring these retailers behave themself from beginning to end — they pressure their government to call for sustainable land use policy and to demand community involvement from the chain stores. We have citizens like this here, but perhaps more of the folks on the sidelines need to get in the game.

    But second, and in my opinion, far and away most importantly, these communities have stayed vibrant by playing the capitalist game just like Walmart and Target and whoever else. In these towns you’ll find a wide selection of local business covering not only specialty markets, but competing directly with the mega-retailers. Co-ops (groceries, cameras, books, music), newsstands, tobacco, furniture, even low-cost clothing. And more. Charlottesville/Albemarle small business owners seem to do pretty well in the restaraunt market, and reasonably well with books and hardware. There are plenty of opportunities, though, for local retailing. I’m not that up-to-date with our business climate, but I can only imagine that there is plenty of money to be made here, and certainly the most eager market in Virginia for cooperative and locally owned retail is here in Charlottesville.

    In the end, the big-boxes provide convenience and low prices, at the expense of customer service and community accountability. I think the best way to thwart the unbecoming aspects of sprawl is through creative, enthusiastic entrepreneurship.

  58. You couldn’t be more right. The saddest part of our development situation is that it wouldn’t be very hard to create commercial developments that look rather Utopian. It’s all about having a beautiful entrance and lots of good planting. Imagine the trip to your local Wal-Mart as an azalea laden paradisical drive a half-mile off the main roads? Surrounded by trees and plants? It’s not that hard to make this happen, , it’s just that developers tend to lack taste and vision. Thank god people at least like brick around here or the whole place would be a stuccoed nightmare.

  59. "Still, that overall site (including the defunct Terrace Triple Theater and the woefully archaic Four-plex behind it, would seem to be ripe for a bulldozer and a "planned" center. They could replace the Theater with a modern multi-plex, preferably one with stadium seating and decent THX/DTS sound systems (currently not available in this town). Seems to be plenty of space for a lot more than they have going on there now.

    "

    That would be nice. Who knows maybe the Hollymead Town Center will be home to one. I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. Bankruptcy doesn’t mean you are going out of business exactly. Maybe K-Mart feels they still need a pressence in the region. If I recall, they only closed like 3-4 stores in the whole state. Target would rather build from the ground up.

    Thought I agree that somebody should look at the theatre and maybe the old Food Lion. Then again, who ever wants to move there will be welcome with resist from ordience this and ordience that.

  60. If enough people find the coming outlying shopping meccas to be as disgusting as you seem to find them, they will fail. That’s economic Darwinism.

    This is the root thinking of the Republican Party. It used to work until the 80’s. Now, it’s obsolete. For instance, you will find a majority of people dislike the Wal-Mart store on 29 North. But the store thrives nevertheless. Inverse examples are plentiful.

    You may advance loads of reasons, and they’d probably be correct. But the simplistic market demand to commerical success equation doesn’t do the trick anymore.

  61. Yep. And you know Wal-Mart has more money than God to make those Azalea Parkways… What ever happended to good Community Citizenry? I’m not talking about the canned girl-scout cookie runs and the like, but real down to earth caring with the communities they profit from (no, profit is not a bad thing in and of itself).

  62. But you know, it runs so much deeper than this. The beauty with the model I’ve seen implemented in the best planned areas around the world are successful on so many levels. For instance, you’ll see small business thrive in the inner towns while their super-mega superstore counterparts do well also on the outskirts of town. Why? Because people are willing to both pay for convenience (downtown shopping in walkable distance) and desirous of discount bulk shopping. This is how there’s little bakeries, butchers and so forth nearby the residential areas coexisting happily with the mega stores.

  63. And I’ve got to tell ya, this makes my blood boil. Because all it would take is some fresh smart thinking and life could be so much better right here, in Central Virginia. But people insist on being deterministic and plain brain-dead about things. I mean, look at Lars. He’s probably an intelligent fella. Yet, he checks his brains out at the door to the Church of False Freedoms. Freedom isn’t about ‘letting it all hang out’. It’s about letting people rise to the best they can be. Letting Best Buy put a yellow monster right on the perfectly decent 250 running through Charlottesville is craziness!

  64. Well, I guess they had to put somewhere close to Barracks without being in it. I agree that location would be a worst place to put it. They should have put out on 29.

  65. <I>a majority of people dislike the Wal-Mart store on 29 North. But the store thrives nevertheless. </I>

    Clearly, enough people hold their noses and shop at Wal-Mart to make it wildly successful, and many others shop there with utter glee. I know people who would never <I>admit</I> to shopping there, but that doesn’t keep them away. The allure of lower prices is a powerful thing.

    Also, let’s not underestimate the regional pull of a Wal-Mart. I imagine people come to this area from five or six or more surrounding counties to spend their money. Gotta like that soft money – we get their tax dollars without having to house or educate them.

    I agree fully with another posting that asked who decided these monstrosities had to be dropped down right on the main highway of whatever town they’re in. They’re beyond hideous-looking, and even if they were 1/2 mile off the road, "if you build it, they will come" would seem to apply.

  66. My understanding was that unless Best Buy could be located closer to UVA than Circuit City (and to a lesser degree Crutchfield), they weren’t interested.

  67. Well, let see Holleymead TC is trying to draw the people Albemarle North and up, Best Buy is going for the UVA crowd. Man we can’t make anyone happy.

  68. With a bus trip beforehand, I’ve been known to walk all over the Fashion Square/Shopper’s World/Albemarle Square/Berkmar area. It is a harrowing experience, nothing like the relatively safe walking experience of the mall, the Corner or grounds, but possible nevertheless.

  69. With a bus trip beforehand, I’ve been known to walk all over the Fashion Square/Shopper’s World/Albemarle Square/Berkmar area.

    I, too, have done this. There’s nothing quite like getting from Fashion Square to Shopper’s World while on foot…it really gets the blood moving. :)

    It’s a shame that so much urban development in Charlottesville (well, Albemarle) relies on the premise of universal vehicle ownership. We should be moving away from this, not increasing our reliance on cars.

  70. Charlottesville believe or not is growing. You or no one else can stop it.

    Well, sure, of course we can. As I’ve written elsewhere within this discussion, this is like a woman with a dozen kids declaring: “Our family is going to keep growing. You or no one else can stop it.” Both statements are equally silly.

  71. Waldo,

    If you are elected to the city council are you going to work to stop growth and if so, how do you propose doing it?

  72. LOL, if he is elected he will promise to stop development until big business decides to give some $$$ in his campaign funds for his election to the state.

    J/K!!!

    however that is sad how politics works nowadays. In the end who ever has the bigger pocket will prevail.

  73. That is, unless you’re honest with yourself about how much of an opportunist you are before entering politics. It is possible to have scruples in politics, it’s just rare.

  74. If you are elected to the city council are you going to work to stop growth and if so, how do you propose doing it?

    I am so not prepared to answer that right now. Ask me again after exams are done in early May. :)

    Also, FWIW, Charlottesville’s ability to limit growth in the county is extremely limited.

  75. This does not need to be a question of having a Target or not having a Target. There is plenty of empty or declining retail space available to put one in. When you talk about certain shopping centers being ‘ghost towns’ it’s not necessarily the location that’s the problem.

    For example, K-Mart’s business model is failing across the entire country. In their Charlottesville location they haven’t maintained the building or its grounds, resulting in the place being a dump. The closed theater next door is a similar case. The entire business model for movie theater chains has been collapsing. That theater had too few screens for the mainstream theater business and failed to adjust to that by capturing a specialty market a la Jefferson Theater or Vinegar Hill.

    Albemarle Square has suffered similar blows since the decline and (finally!) loss of its Best Products anchor. Best Products was stuck in the 1980’s department store mentality and failed to adapt. That brought the center into decline. Best’s loss should have prompted the owners to heavily invest in the appearance of their property, install a plainly visible ATM and court a large, viable retail anchor (Circuit City doesn’t cut it being stuck on the end like that).

    There is no inherant problem with these locations. The lesson that I take from them is that its a bad idea to load up a retail center with anchors that are in danger of becoming irrelevant. That, combined with an unwillingness to make ongoing capital investments in the appearance of a shopping center results in retail ghettos that discourage investment and help feed sprawl.

    Building a newer, bigger shopping center around the latest middle class retail fad (Target) on virgin land is just swallowing the spider to catch the fly. Its going to create far more problems and expenses for County residents than it solves. The public needs to realize that the economics of sprawl is essentially like check kiting or a pyramid scheme. You spend a lot of money and sacrifice the appearance of your community in order to pull in more businesses, which pulls in more residents, who demand more schools and bigger roads, which draws more residents and more big businesses, etc. There will be tax hikes and bonds floated all the way along. There will never be a point where the big developers announce that they are done and the place is now perfect.

  76. Don’t forget there is also a new big box mall going in just across the line from Albemarle in Greene.

    It’s supposed to have two big boxes, a hotel, and apartments.

    All the same issues as the one across from Hollymeade.

    I just wonder, why the heck we need 4 new malls in this area? Also, if we need 4 new malls above Cville, how many must be needed south and west of Cville where there aren’t any.

  77. You’ve got to understand *how* these corporations select sites. They use demographic analyses within 1, 3 and 5 mile radii, accessibility, competitor surveys and such. I know, I’ve developed many of these myself for the big guys. Guess what? Creativity, and originality are on the bottom of their priorities.

    You know the proverb: “no one ever got fired buying IBM”. It’s the same thing with McDonald’s, Exxon, Wal-Mart and Starbucks. But when the paradigm shift occurs, that’s when they (and we) are caught in the down-cycle. Haven’t Americans figured out the “boom and bust” cycles yet? As everything is forecasted on the next quarter and “long term” is 3 to 5 years (instead of 27 year projections in Japan or 18 in much of Europe), what else can you expect? Of course, the fat cats just hibernate during the bust cycle and rear their heads when opportunity comes back. But, for 85% of regular Americans, it isn’t that easy.

  78. It usually works the other way around. Big corporations look at the opinions and voting records of candidates and then decide who to give their contributions to. Successful politicians know that ultimately they owe their success to the whim of the grassroots. They aren’t going to sacrifice their position on a major issue that was the basis for their election just to reap some cash for the next campaign. That would just be a lot of money to spend on votes that you definitely won’t get.

    If you think about it, it would be kind of a silly gamble to waste the money on someone who might just say ‘thanks’ and vote against your big development anyway. There are plenty of guys out there who honestly believe in a ‘rubber stamp’ relationship between government and big business. They aren’t corrupt. They’re just foolish and blind.

  79. First of all, grassroots are not “whims”. Second, most politicians pander to unite a maximum of votes, then pander less – albeit less publicly – to big business. Ultimately, big business buys support from elected officials so they can meet stockholder’s expectations, who in return, reinvest in donations to Bush so that they can make more money on the backs of the grassroots, to eventually pay less taxes (latest ‘tax cut’ legislation) and to spend their money in foreign markets which are offering far better returns right now.

  80. Well what do you think the county should do? When you said that we can stop growth if we want to, who exactly did you mean by "we" anyway? I’d really like to know what ideas you have for bringing growth and sprawl to a halt.

  81. Well what do you think the county should do?

    Determine the size of the population that can be supported and stop there.

    When you said that we can stop growth if we want to, who exactly did you mean by “we” anyway?

    You. Me. Everybody!

    I’d really like to know what ideas you have for bringing growth and sprawl to a halt.

    And I should like to tell you. But, as I said, until I finish up with exams, I will not have time to properly outline all of these things. Plus, I’ve got a lot of thinking and talking to do in order to figure out how it ought to be done. I’ve got lots of ideas, but that doesn’t amount to much without organizing them. :)

    If you are genuinely interested in finding out more on the topic, I suggest that you visit an ASAP (Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population) meeting. Also, you could read James Kunstler’s “Geography Of Nowhere” (available at the library), Andres Duany (& co.’s) “Suburban Nation,” or Eben Fodor’s “Better, Not Bigger.” You can also read a case study from Fodor’s book about how Boulder limits growth.

  82. Ultimately, big business buys support from elected officials so they can meet stockholder’s expectations, who in return, reinvest in donations to Bush

    I get the feeling that you’re projecting here. :)

  83. Yeah, those damn crazy conspiracy theories!

    …then again, there may not be a concerted conspiracy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so.

  84. No, seriously, Bush comes into the picture once the tender-foot green politician ascends to office, has been courted several times by the country-club crowd and realizes: hey, this is America! I’ve arrived! Now it’s my turn to defend my riches.

    Of course, this doesn’t apply to all elected officials, just 99.9%, maybe, certainly, okay I don;t know, but I sure do have an impression…

  85. I’m familiar with Jim Kunstler’s book and I want to know how you would apply his ideas to our unique area. I realize you’re busy but you were a viable candidate for the dems nomination for city council so you must have had some ideas then, right? Completly stopping growth seems like a pretty tricky thing to do and one that could have some profound impacts on the quality of life. I’m looking forward to you letting us know what specific methods you will adopt as a city counciler once you finish up with your exams.

  86. I realize you’re busy but you were a viable candidate for the dems nomination for city council so you must have had some ideas then, right?

    Nope. It was never discussed. Nobody ever mentioned it under any circumstances at any time, and it scarcely crossed my mind. On the platform, under the “Create and Implement a Vision for a Sustainable, Healthy Community” category, we listed:

    • Make the Comprehensive Master Plan a reality; set benchmarks and completion dates
    • Devise a transportation and land use system that will genuinely reduce the reliance on cars and promote mixed-use, human-scale development.
    • Integrate Transportation, Land Use and Environment in the Comprehensive Plan.

    and a few other minor points. The city’s role in growth never came up. In part because the city’s role is virtually non-existent without county cooperation. If the county adopts no-growth (or eventual no-growth) as a policy, that’s when the city can become useful in the process.

  87. Clearly, too many Chefs spoil the soup. Charlottesville as a separate entity from Albemarle county may not be for the best…

  88. At least the pedestrian bridge about to be built over Emmet St. is a step in the right direction… pun intended.

  89. You’re almost right. When the Boston/New York/Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington etc. megalopolis is completed, or when the sun becomes a giant fireball and swallows the Earth, whichever comes first then the developers will be done.

  90. If you were to run, Waldo, consider not joining up with the Demos for Change again. They are like a PAC (which to me, has developed a negative connotation, but I ain’t political science expert either). This is just me, but I don’t like any candidate that wholeheartedly adopts the line-by-line, word-by-word platform of a particular group. There has to be some room for independent thinking and flexibility in a candidate.

    If I were your campaign manager, that is what I would suggest. :)

  91. his is just me, but I don’t like any candidate that wholeheartedly adopts the line-by-line, word-by-word platform of a particular group.

    Though, to be fair, I was a big part of creating that platform. It’s not like I saw a platform and said “hey, I’ll agree to that!” :)

  92. Charlottesville as a separate entity from Albemarle county may not be for the best…

    Amen. Whether by reversion or some other method, something’s got to give.

  93. All of those considerations you say must be done can be done by those who wish to build the structure. Obviously no one is going to build a shopping center in the middle of death valley.

    Charlottesville has a road going past the site, there is a sewer line under it, water lines, power lines, etc. It’s all there. If it wasn’t there they wouldn’t be building it. Just show me what the county is doing to accomidate this construction? NOTHING, thats what.

    My point is that they are deciding if it can exist based on who will rent it. Not on what must be done to accomidate it. Oh a target? We like that, oh an XYZ store? no XYZ store sucks ass, we dont want that.

    And for the record, your website does require services, it requires a piece of copper. Perhaps you would like it if the city had to check to see how much copper was available and decided if your site merits its use or not. Your site also sways the opinions of the people who elect them. Perhaps it is a threat and must be silenced… Perhaps members of city council dont want you to shamelessly self promote and threaten their own positions by running for office. Don’t try to tell me that a website exists in a vacuum.

    If you sell water/sewer/road access to one business, you must allow it to all business. The political favortisim towards one organization at the expense of another is just plain anti-capitalist. Survival of the fittest and all that. Not survival of the most politically influential.

  94. The very idea that local government can keep a hold on the horns of big business is ludacris. If anyone can, its you and I and everyone else en masse.

    Saying that a small handful of elected individuals are more able to control business than millions of citizens are is stupid. Businesses REQUIRE that we bend to their will. If we simply refuse to mindlessly follow them they will loose any power that they might have had.

    For you and I to have the freedom to rise up against corporations (or whatever institution you have a problem with) we MUST give those institutions the same rights. Like it or not.

  95. Ok, Ok. I’ll bite.

    I, also a Briarwood resident, want the damn store. Why? I’ll tell you.

    WalMart sucks, and ours in particular draws a full 30 inches of vacuum. It’s small. It’s always packed. The lines are long. They are almost always out of what I need.

    What options do we have in Albemarle besides WalMart? The crappiest K-Mart in the state?

    Hell, the area is ALREADY BULLDOZED.

    Do NOT give me that crap about how I should shop locally. I tried that on several occassions. Note to "local" retailers. YOU HAVE TO BE FREAKIN’ OPEN EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS. SOME OF US WORK. I am SO sick and tired of lazy local retailers who whine, *****, and moan on how they can’t compete. BE OPEN. I am not going to take time off from work to shop at a "trendy" local shop that closes early every day. Not to mention that everything in these shops is more expensive. Better service? Nope, the service almost everywhere in Albemarle and Cville sucks, regardless of the business.

    We need alternatives to shop for the everyday items we need. I wanted the Home Depot as well. I’d goto Lowes to pick up something for a home improvement project, and damn, all out of them. Again. Go to Better Living? Nope, closed. Fergueson? Nope, closed.

    I’d LOVE to shop locally, but it’s too much of a pain. Northern VA has a lot of traffic, but at least I can find everything I need. Albemarle has bad traffic and damn near no options for anything. If you are lucky, there is one of what you want, and no more "till the next truck, sometime next week."

    I am also sick of hearing the "29 can’t take it" argument. Perhaps if you all hadn’t built the entire area around one road, traffic would be more spread out and not all packed into one place. Hello? Super WalMart down 5th street would have drawn traffic off of R. 29.

    Yeah, it’s true – if you all had supported the SuperWalmart we wouldn’t need the Target as badly. And the location was not on 29. So, be careful what you wish for.

    Obviosuly, all the people who don’t want any shopping either 1) have no money to spend 2) spend their days in the lines at WalMart or 3) Shop "locally" and take time off from work, if employed, to spend more in local shops.

    I don’t want sprawl anymore than the next guy, but this is a pretty large area and we need more than what we have. We don’t need a Tyson’s Corner, but an alternative to WalMart is a good idea.

  96. K-Mart’s location sucks. That intersection is already a mess, and will probably be bulldozed for their overpass crap they keep talking about.

  97. Me neither. I’m a pretty practical person, and need a good practical place to do my shopping. I’d love to shop locally, but local shops are never open. Considering they also charge more, add the fact that I’d have to take off work to shop there, and it just gets ridiculous.

  98. Give me a Target ANYWHERE in Albemarle and you save me a trip to Fredericksburg or Short Pump.

    Build it any damn place YOU want to. I’m flexible.

  99. You could always do some "revenue sharing" scheme. "The Target SHOULD have been in the City, so we’re entitled to some of the money. It’s just not fair…"

  100. Oh God, not this topic again. Reversion. I’d love to see my taxes go up once the County has to absord all the baggage the (former) City would bring along. Great for Charlottesville, bad for Albemarle. We’re bigger. So go get your own County somewhere else, this one’s taken.

  101. Wow. Then governments need to get out of all the businesses they’re in. No more road building, no more water/sewer/gas, no more silly EPA. The natural Darwinism of Capitalism will take care of everything. Surely large companies won’t pollute water or air that their customers will need later. All roads as toll roads! Pay for what you use and somebody, somebody make a profit on it in the interim.

    Big things step on (or eat) little things. They despoil their habitats quickly. Darwinianly speaking today’s survival is the bottom line. Governments have also gotten to be big things interested in their own survival, but I still find them necessary to combat the other big things out there that are frighteningly willing to eat me.

  102. If the city did become a town in Albemarle and thus part of the county, the Board of Supervisors would control much of what happens in the new "town". The BOS would decide how many seats there would be on the newly configured board of supervisors and how the magisterial districts would be drawn. The BOS would probably create a board with districts that would give city residents very little control over what goes on in the town. ALSO, city residents would pay the same county taxes as county residents plus new town taxes. The city would not have a real voice on things like planning, the county budget, school locations and re-zoning issues. VDOT would also have much more control over road construction in the town (it has none now in the city), so the Meadowcreek Parkway would very likely get built quickly. City politicians would be crazy to sacrifice the control and authority they have now and give it to the county.

  103. "The political favortisim towards one organization at the expense of another is just plain anti-capitalist."

    As if that were a bad thing.

  104. See, now there’s this broken political system in the way of basic common sense, again. I mean, Charlottesville is Albemarle’s ‘city’ (Scottsville not being much except for a really good restaurant, Caffé Bocce), but because Cville is Democratic and Albemarle is Republican, meaning it is overall just Laisser-Faire, including big-box planning, a world of possibilities is not attainable. It’s like the Indians fighting between themselves while the real enemy (globalization and big business) is coming to conquer all.

  105. Are you a Briarwood property OWNER or do you just rent? Have you ever seen property values go UP after years of yard-swapping with mega-stores?

    I feel after reading you that you’ve been very well conditioned by big-box ‘convenience’. Yes, they’re open often 24/7, and yes, they have super low prices. Although I don’t get your complaint about Lowe’s, which is relatively well-managed and open long hours. But often, what Wal-Mart sells is crap. Half of their inventory is low-ball crap designed and marketed to be lowest possible retail price (I didn’t say everything is crap, but lots of it is). Their service, product knowledge and friendliness could be from Tyson’s Corner. And don’t go there with a nice ding free vehicle, for heaven’s sake!

    …but… I agree there’s no reason not to have more choice. I tend to like Target more than Wal-Mart myself. Best Buy has loads of fun electronics (although you won’t find stuff like Bank & Olufsen). …but… why can’t Albemarle let the big box stores buy 500 acres off of routes 631 and 706 (south of Cville). It would be a new shopping district that would require a half mile distance from residences. They’d have to make short parkways lined with shrubbery and such coming off of I64, R29 and R631. This is an example. I’m sure city/county planners can find other locations. But the point being, R29 North would be alleviated, southern Cville folks wouldn’t have to get into that mess either, and you know people will drive there. Everyone’s happy.

  106. Institutions and corporations should never have the same rights as individual people. Do you not see the absurdity of what you’re saying? It’s like putting one of those bulldozers (as big as a house) on the same road as you on a bicycle, then saying we’ll just let nature take it’s course. It’s absurd!

    Once big box corps have built up there junk shopping strips, what kind of freedom do you have left to "rise" against it? I’ll tell you: move elsewhere on become rich to live in a gated community (yuck).

  107. I can see why you live in the woods.

    But there are many people that cannot live out in the middle of nowhere: they have children that need to go to school, they are old and require nearby medical facilities, they are students and require getting to crazy class schedules, etc.

    You’re giving yourself the luxury of observance at a distance. In fact, so do I. But then, I am ‘simpatico’ and care about others (no matter what your friend trisha thinks of me).

  108. <I>Although I don’t get your complaint about Lowe’s, which is relatively well-managed and open long hours</I>

    Sounds like you’ve never been in a Lowe’s with a Home Depot nearby. You’ll find a far better selection of products, better stock, and lower prices. Check one out sometime – I think you’ll see the difference immediately. This Lowe’s is one lazy-ass store.

    <I>Best Buy has loads of fun electronics</I>

    Crutchfield has a far, far better selection of audio, video, adn car A/V! Crutchfield stocks brands and lines otherwise restricted to hi-fi specialty retailers – things you’ll never see at Best Buy (or Circuit City, for that matter). And the best part is, thanks to the pricing policies set by all of the manufacturers, Crutchfield’s advertised prices are exactly the same as they are at every other legitimate dealer. And unlike Best Buy (and now Circuit City), the people know what they’re selling.

    Clearly a case of the local guy being able to compete with the big boys in every way.

  109. that is why I can’t wait to vote for him next time. I want to be rich then make more money and not give it to any losers.

  110. yeah, but are you rich yet?

    this is what I don’t get, but really don’t get. i understand why rich folk vote for Bush, but the majority of Bushies are middle-class folk with star dreams that will never arrive…

  111. Lowes. I still don’t agree. I lived in Tidewater (Va Beach, Norfolk area) for a decade and their service sucks far worse than this one’s. But hey, that’s just an opinion.

    Crutchfield. I partially agree, but they really don’t have the super high-end or otherwise weird (not mainstream gear). If you’d ever been to a French FNAC, you’d know what I mean.

  112. "Once big box corps have built up there junk shopping strips, what kind of freedom do you have left to "rise" against it?"

    At a certain point they reach a point of diminishing returns and stop building shopping centers. That wont happen any time soon considering the exponential rate of population growth. The reason we don’t firebomb strip malls south central LA style is that we LIKE having all that infrastructure. We need it.

    But when it does happen, the buildings will go into disuse and the jungle will overtake them. Those of us who are still alive will be riding dirt bikes and toting shotguns killing eachother for small amounts of gasoline. Didn’t you see any of the mad max movies? Come on people! Get yo apocalypse groove on!

    Once again I’m disagreed with, thats nothing new. But what I dont understand is that all those who disagree also SHOP at these things on a regular basis, whereas I almost never do. Yet I support them, and you all don’t. Go figure. Next time you’re sipping down a $4 coffee, think about that. When was the last time you woke up, and went to an undeveloped wooded glen instead of going to work? Thought so.

  113. When was the last time you woke up, and went to an undeveloped wooded glen instead of going to work? Thought so.

    I do it most mornings. Listening to nature, checking out the hawks’ flight patterns, visiting my friendly hornets (no, really, they’re good to have around if you know how to respect them) and making sure our home-grown fruit trees, vegetables and herbs are happy campers. What are YOU talking about? Anyways, my coffee is better than Starbucks.

  114. It is important to note where these figures come from. Obviously someone has to file for unemployment assistance before they will be counted. Charlottesville’s population is inflated by tens of thousands of students who are very unlikely to report unemployment. Add to that much of the rest of the city’s makeup, that is wealthy people, high school students, and ghetto thugs, and you realize that nobody here is the type to file for unemployment.

    Also, the types of jobs that are not filled at the moment are largely menial. With the large number of hotels, restaurants, and other touristy type things, there are plenty of minimum wage dont-even-have-to-speak-english jobs available.

    Northern VA is currently in an economic boom due to the massively increased federal spending. Every job I see in the paper in NOVA requires some form of top secret security clearance, even jobs with private companies.

  115. Attempting to explain to you my ways of subsistance would probably end up in a blank stare from you, so why try?

  116. Watch out Jack: your friend Lars cares a little too much about your wife’s turn ons.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

    (Forrest Gump)

  117. The wasps write you checks? Or was it the hawks? How do they sign them?

    Or do you sell the wasps to people at the farmers market? Guard wasps?

  118. Hey

    Weds 14th at the county office building is when this is up for consideration. Just about everyone who I know is going since they SUPPORT it. I thought it would be only fair since this is the only outlet of resistant I have seen againist the project to tell you guys don’t forgot about it. I know you guys are going to be seriously outnumber but it wouldn’t feel right to leave you guys all out.

  119. well it could be worse… Greensboro, NC would be one example… talk about urban sprawl, ugh, they have far worse problems than we do. Their equivalent of 29 N is Wendover Ave, which is basically every big box retailer and chain restaurant imaginable jammed into a few miles of highway. Plus their downtown area is tiny and neglected.

    Give thanks you don’t live there.

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