Coiners’ Sold

Coiners Scrap Iron and Metal has been sold, Christina Mora reports for NBC 29. The Meade Avenue business, in its 101st year, is now owned by the Roanoke-based Cycle Systems, which is nearly as old. Cycle Systems has been on an acquisition binge in the past decade, snapping up scrap metal companies in Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Staunton, Martinsville, Pulaski, and South Boston. Because the sale is private, it’s not known how much walking around money Preston Coiner has suddenly found himself with.

30 Responses to “Coiners’ Sold”


  • Isn’t Coiner’s something like 19 acres inside the city limits?!? The price has got to be wa-a-a-a-a-y up there, just based on the price of a city lot.

  • Perhaps just the business has sold, not the land.

    “it’s not known how much walking around money Preston Coiner has suddenly found himself with.”

    Perhaps enough to crap up some other neighborhood? The Dairy Rd or Greenbrier neighborhoods are long overdue for some wildly inappropriate zoning, aren’t they? Go Preston, go!

  • Anyone know of a possibility that some, if not all, of this land might eventually be used for something else? Seems to be quite the eyesore, especially when trees are not leafed out.

  • Sorry a productive industry hurts your eyes.

  • One of my earliest memories might be going with my dad to bring aluminum cans there.

    There may indeed be a more attractive way to do this kind of business, but it does make sense from an infrastructure perspective for it to be in the city. I spoke to someone in my office recently who was concerned about all the trash we dump on neighboring counties. I kind of think that each community needs to like with it’s own waste; otherwise, there’s no incentive to produce less of it or deal with it more effectively.

  • It may be an eyesore but Coiners provides a great service to the environment of this community. Coiners is a great recycling magnet and without it, scrap metal that Coiners currently recycles would go unchecked.
    Lets not be too quick to judge the book by the cover.

  • I suspect that some issues with the environment might impact land sale or future use for other than scrap. The Holsinger Building is a classic example of what is waiting for us under old parking lots and other things. Coiners has been in its spot since the day when it was essentially on the outskirts of Cville.

    And someone is complaining about pre-WW1 zoning issues when Cville was still horse and buggy?

  • I hope the new owners will be as accommodating of locals who bring them their scrap metal. On a whim, we took our old gutters to Coiners, and I learned that there are few things more satisfying than getting paid to recycle stuff you thought you were going to have to pay the city to haul away for you.

  • what is going to be different from what i’ve been told is no more picking through the piles for good stuff. that’s almost as bad as the dump not being open for picking anymore. it is amazing what some idiots will throw away

  • I seem to remember that Charlottesville didn’t have any zoning until the fifties. It was also in the forties and fifties that the residents started encroaching upon our in-town industrial sites, and it only took another forty years for the residents to start getting the city to zone out the industry.

  • Danpri, Coiners hasn’t been in the Woolen Mills that long actually. They were located close to where Friendship Court is today. When urban renewal came to Charlottesville, they relocated to the Woolen Mills.

    Cville Eye, in this case the residential neighborhood existed at least 100 years before Coiners and Wrights junkyard encroached on THEM.

    This particular industrial zoning was applied to the neighborhood at precisely the same time, and by the same consulting firm and Council, as the Vinegar Hill debacle. Stupid stupid= really stupid. The lots along E Market were zoned residential all the way from the street to the railroad tracks. The city overlaid industrial zoning across the backyards of the residents living there, so people had two types of zoning on one parcel. Bad zoning practice. That opened the door to people who wanted to make a quick buck at the expense of the neighborhood.

    The neighbors didn’t want that zoning forty years ago, and they don’t want it now. Why? Because those wealthy business owners failed to understand that they chose to locate their operations in a residential neighborhood, and needed to do what it took to be good neighbors. Instead, they’ve acted like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla. They have exerted a hugely disproportionate influence on the way the neighborhood has been treated by the city (primarily NDS), the Planning Commission, and many former Council members. So therefore, it doesn’t really matter as much to us whether these businesses serve a valuable purpose or not. If they’d been good neighbors, it would be an entirely different story.

    There were no setbacks put in place with this zoning, so these businesses immediately abutted people’s homes with no buffers in place. And, once again, the homes were there FIRST. It has been entirely up to the business owners to decide whether or not they would use adequate landscaping buffers. They have not. And don’t even get me started about the stream that runs through the junkyard and then out into the neighborhood and to the park where children play in it.

    It’s great that people are nostalgic about these businesses, but that’s probably because they’re not located in your backyard, and you’ve not had to feel the neighborhood-wide influence just two men can exert politically.

  • Toodles…, it’s true there were some houses in the area, primarily along E. Market Street. That area was dominated by the industrial Woolen Mills, the primary reason the neighborhood existed, and the train/coal operations. When we kids fished at the dam, there was a lot of vacant land in the area and the city zoned a lot of it industrial, all the way up to Avon (Lexus-Nexus was located there because of this zoning), otherwise how did the businesses get there? It seems to me most of the housing surrounding Coiner’s and the stockyards, etc., are ranch style.

  • Addressing Toodles…

    It’s great that people are nostalgic about these businesses, but that’s probably because they’re not located in your backyard, and you’ve not had to feel the neighborhood-wide influence just two men can exert politically.

    Not being well-versed in these matters, I must ask: presumably one of the men to whom you refer is Preston Coiner. Who is the other?

  • Toodles… I forgot to say that I sympathize with residents who live with incompatible uses. I wonder how the residents of the future mixed-use developments will feel about their relationships with their commercial neighbors.

  • Well, since Cville is striving very hard to make everything they can mixed use we shall see. Holsingers and the new 550 are essentially on the train tracks and on cooler mornings when a cold layer keeps the diesel down you can smell the idling trains all over the mall.

  • Toodles,

    Good points. Maybe now is the time for the Woolen Mills community to make it’s voice heard again, and ask for better vegetative buffers (including the stream). Actually, I have always wondered why they weren’t required to do that in the first place…

    As the new kid on the block, the new owners might have an interest in making a good impression on the community. In this town, a good reputation really goes along way so there is a compelling financial interest in them correcting some of the past issues. As a community friendly “green business” they could even have great marketing potential, and acquire new clients.

  • Toodles, with all due respect. I have to say that I think you are ill informed. I’ve been going to Coiners nearly every Saturday morning for nearly ten years. To the right there are railroad tracks and to the right of that it’s commercial industry space. to the left of Coiners is the car junk yard. How is it then that Coiners has displaced or encroached on the residents in the neighborhood? Why is it that we don’t hear more reports of complaints by its residential neighbors? In the time since I’ve been going to Coiners, the very few houses that are adjacent to the scrap yard have been restored. Why would that have happened if being next to Coiners was so dreadful? Also, Coiners is hardly the 800 lb gorilla that you describe. It was a Family run operation for nearly 100 years and at the time of the sale had 8 or so regular employees. How is that a 800 lb gorilla?

  • With all due respect Mike, that’s a very simplistic view you’ve got there. Just because the residents’ experiences don’t make it into the newspapers doesn’t make them non-existent. I hardly think that a weekly visit gives one the same perspective and experience that a multi-decade nearby resident might have. Surely you can understand that?

    I never said that Coiner displaced any residents. And no one has mentioned the employees having any thing to do with this. One man having such a disproportionate influence on how a neighborhood has been perceived by city staff, and former council and CPC members, is what created the 800 lb gorilla situation, not the number of employees.

  • Toodles, You say things could have been a different story had those businesses been “good neightbors.” It sounds to me that by your logic, the only way for these businesses to be good neighbors is to not be neighbors at all. What in your understanding would it take for Coiners, (or Cycle Systems) to be a good neighbor, or, what specifically had Coiners done to be a bad neighbor? To link that zoning with the Vinegar Hill fiasco where residents were displaced and homes demolished implies that the same thing happened at the Coiners location.

  • Linking the harmful industrial zoning in the Woolen Mills neighborhood to Vinegar Hill is only to explain that they both happened at precisely the same time, and that the same consulting firm- Harland & Bartholomew out of St Louis- was involved. It’s history, and merely a reference denoting the time frame for those who were not aware of when this actually happened (since that was in question above). It also illustrates that this was a particularly bad year for thoughtless and irresponsible zoning decisions by that Council. One decision demolished an African-American neighborhood, and the other laid a band of industrial zoning down across the residential backyards of blue-collar people. This was about environmental injustice, and singling out those that can’t fight back.

    Hmm, good neighbors. Frost said that fences make good neighbors, so we could start there. Why were adequate vegetative and structural buffer zones never put in place? If this had been done years ago, then they’d certainly be quite effective today. Drive down to the end of Burgess or Leake and tell me what you see. Trash and squalor. An endless parade of Port-A-Potty trucks that has replaced the endless parade of BFI trash trucks, and so forth. Any business owner with a heart and a set of functioning eyeballs would mitigate the ill effects his business has on the residential neighborhood he CHOSE to locate within. We have other business owners who’ve chosen to be more compassionate and neighborly. We have no quibble with them, and they have none with us.

    There’s so much more, but this isn’t the place for it. Please just take the word of those that know, those that live it every day. If you’re a casual weekly visitor, then your point of reference is exceedingly flimsy. I couldn’t possibly tell you what deep-seated political issues are going on in your neighborhood merely by driving through it to patronize a store there once a week.

    You don’t live here. How could I possibly explain the big picture for you? Outline the political machinations and meddling in the neighborhood’s affairs that have occurred? Explain the tremendous amount of tenacity and hard work it’s taken over a period of several decades for the neighborhood to finally make the City gov’t understand that we are actually more than a junkyard and scrapyard? It’s impossible.

  • “Linking the harmful industrial zoning in the Woolen Mills neighborhood…” What is so harmful about industrial zoning. I wouldn’t find it any less desirable than living next to a school or hospital or a fire station. The reason the whole neighborhood was founded in the 1800’s was because of the industrial Woolen Mills.

  • Cville Eye, you’d find it harmful if it was done against your will, it was done across your backyard, and if your entire neighborhood was defined by it for decades afterward. Is your neighborhood defined by a fire station or school. Is every decision made by the City pertaining to the residents of your neighborhood filtered through the lens of education or fire safety?

    This was a self-sustained mill community with a store, school etc. They supplied housing to their employees. The mill facility itself was located way at the very furthest eastern edge and did not encroach upon the residential (ie greater) part of the neighborhood. The community was designed that way by its forward-thinking leader who chose to live among his employees, next to his mill, rather than in a grand house downtown. The mill supported the community and they had a symbiotic relationship. There’s no comparison between that portion of history and a scrap yard, junk yard, and mini-storage facility that came along many years later, are owned by people outside the neighborhood, and that have very few employees, much less anyone from the neighborhood? It’s not that simple.

    Once upon a time there were slaughterhouses and brothels downtown. Should that fact alter the City’s perception of the North Downtown Resident’s Association?

    There were mills of all sorts all over the Charlottesville area. That historical fact has little to do with what’s located in those neighborhoods today.

  • I believe the neighborhood was bounded on the east by the mill and on the west by the coal yards. Because they were so large and with tall, visible stacks, the neighborhood was thought of as industrial with village housing. The city zoned, I believe, according to what was probably there already when that section of town wa annexed. Personally, I don’t see the harm having Woolen Mills or Ix’s Mills in my backyard or a scrap metal concern in my backyard.

  • You don’t don’t see the harm because you know that could never happen in your neighborhood. Unless I’m mistaken, your neighborhood is politically well-connected, very green, and pastoral.

    I’m not familiar with the neighborhood coal yards and haven’t seen them on any of the old maps. Where were they located and what was their vintage?

  • I haven’t always lived in the neighborhood where I live now. There used to be heaps of coal near the coal tower being loaded on and off trains. Quite frankly, I haven’t seen City Hall show much respect for any city neighborhoods except for North Downtown, Johnson Village and Greenbrier. A recent addition to the list is the Martha Jefferson neighborhood and maybe Fry’s Spring but definitely not JPA.

  • Do you mean the coal tower still standing near the Mall?

    I agree with your list of neighborhoods, though it remains to be seen how supportive of MJ they’ll be when they start smelling those potential revenue dollars from development.

  • They’ve already started having meetings between the neighborhood, city hall and the hospital.
    Yes, that area around the current tower. I don’t remember exactly were the piles of coal sat but I suspect in was in that flattened area near there extending over near the current Lex-Nex property, all of which was zoned industrial.

  • Toodles is right but a little confusing. Coiner’s was indeed once located between modern-day Crescent Halls elderly public housing and ACAC in south downtown. But the scrap yard didn’t encroach or displace anyone–it was displaced by the Garrett Street urban renewal project which began in 1967 and continues to this day. Zoning was used in conjunction with eminent domain to forcibly transform Cville into what it is today and why Cville natives are so rare. Those tactics created the controversy which some of these comments address even though the actual history is a little fuzzy.

  • I’ve never said that the scrap yard displaced anyone at either of its locations– whether downtown or in the Woolen Mills. Coiners indeed was displaced due to urban renewal and needed to find a new home. The Woolen Mills was prime pickin’s due to the city’s bad zoning, the cheap land, and the blue-collar (as in politically unpopular, and/or less likely to complain or know their rights) residents. The firm decided to avail themselves of this lucrative opportunity. If your neighbors are poor, you don’t have to put up buffers between your business and their homes, and the City sure isn’t going to ask you to.

    Unjust zoning was frequently used against the poorer African-American and white communities. Some of this harmful zoning has been corrected, some has not. As a community we need to ensure that zoning is fair and just for all, not just the wealthy.

  • What sort of buffer could Coiners Have put up? If you look at the location from Google Earth you can see that three or four houses at the most boarder the Coiners location. The rest of Coiners in adjacent to either Railroads or other industrial use space. Coiners only sold the business. The property was rented.

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