Midtown Row development project aims to revitalize Williamsburg

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COURTESY PHOTO / WYDAILY

Over 600 people attended the opening of Earth Fare, a North Carolina-based supermarket, June 27 in Williamsburg. Earth Fare is part of the Midtown Row development project, which will continue to progress to include multi-story buildings, complete with commercial businesses and residential options for community members. 

Broad Street Realty, which purchased the land for $13.3 million in 2017, describes the Midtown Row project as a curated retail experience and residential district, which includes restaurants, shops, apartments, entertainment, office space, as well as a village green featuring outdoor programming and community event space. 

The project is aimed at a multi-year revitalization of the City’s midtown commercial sector, where the Food Lion and Advanced Auto Parts sit near Richmond Road.

The property was built in 1959 using a then-modern style. While called a shopping center, the area has sustained long-term vacancies for years, as talks of redevelopment have been ongoing.

According to YesWilliamsburg.com economic development website the site is 45 percent vacant. 

Midtown Row will be made up of four five-story buildings. The first floor of each building will be dedicated to commercial businesses, with the hopes of renting to budget-friendly restaurants, entertainment venues and boutique shops.

The remaining four floors above will be for apartments designed with students and young professionals in mind, with the capacity to house 650 people.

Broad Street has said the rooms will be priced with that same demographic in mind, with utilities included.

Midtown Row will align with the city’s goal “to create a modern, relevant, user friendly enterprise zone,” City Council member Barbara Ramsey ’75 said in a written statement. 

“The housing will not only be new, ‘smart’, and ‘wired/connected’ construction with amenities in a great location, but safe, have available parking, and be fair and reasonably priced,” Ramsey said in a written statement.  

Student Assembly President Brendan Boylan ’19 echoed Ramsey’s sentiments.

“I think the proximity to the College, the paths that will be built, and the variety of options will be a great boost in the appeal that William & Mary has and, more importantly, will improve the lives of students,” Boylan said in a written statement. 

“I think the proximity to the College, the paths that will be built, and the variety of options will be a great boost in the appeal that William & Mary has and, more importantly, will improve the lives of students,” Boylan said in a written statement. 

Longtime tenants of the shopping district will stay put: Food Lion, Sal’s by Victor, and the local ABC store will all maintain their current locations.

However, much of the space behind these establishments will be remodeled into a community green space intended for outdoor events, where bands and other local artisans will be able to perform. 

Additionally, the development will include a 135-room hotel and two-story parking deck to alleviate the burdens of temporary housing and parking nearby, according to YesWilliamsburg.com.  

Director of Marketing at Broad Street Realty Brynn Jacoby elaborated on some of the new features of Midtown Row. 

“The retail portion will include restaurants, local shops, entertainment, and a Village Green with regular programming — think outdoor movies and Saturday morning yoga classes,” Jacoby said in an email. “Not to mention, students will have the opportunity to live right next to campus in brand new apartments, offering amenities like a pool, gym and on-site parking.” 

Broad Street expects project completion by the summer of 2020 so that it may accommodate students for the 2020-21 academic year. 

“… [W]hen people think of Williamsburg, and they say, ‘Where should I go out to lunch?’ Immediately people will say, ‘Let’s go to Midtown Row,” Broad Street CEO Michael Jacoby said in a press interview.