The Williamsburg City Council is on a quest to redevelop underused or dilapidated lots and buildings, beginning with Dis-N-That thrift shop and Monica Spiritual Reader and Advisor on Richmond Road.
The first in the line of projects was the demolition of the run-down Tioga Motel a few months ago, leaving a cleared lot that is currently up for sale.
“We don’t know any plans for the Tioga site, but it’s been put back on the market,” Mayor Jeanne Zeidler said. “There was the liability of an old and aging, dilapidated structure, and we wanted to see it economically redeveloped.”
The next projected demolition plan is the block of buildings just up the street that includes Dis-N-That and Monica’s. Although this project has been on the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority Demolition Loan Program since January 2007, Zeidler says it is not necessarily a City Council responsibility.
“It’s privately owned property, we’re not planning to buy that site. The owner applied to economic development authorities for demolition of the site,” Zeidler said, referring to the Economic Development department within the City Council. “Economic development authorities have their own powers and a little bit of their own money for demolition loans.”
Zeidler said that the City Council created the demolition grant program to allow property owners in the Williamsburg area to apply to demolish old and dilapidated structures. The loan program offers 0 percent interest and a 10-year repayment period, all in the interest of economically redeveloping certain areas of Williamsburg.
Bob Magoon, owner of architectural firm Magoon & Associates, will soon propose plans for both residential and commercial development on the lot currently housing Dis-N-That and Monica’s. The residential portion will most likely include town houses or apartments for up to four tenants.
In 2004, a redevelopment plan was proposed to the City Council for the same piece of property, one suggesting the building of an apartment complex with three floors geared toward students of the College. But this plan was rejected after protests from other residents of Richmond Road, who said they would rather see living spaces for senior citizens or a mix of apartments and shops.
The City Council voted Thursday, March 13 to continue to fund the demolition of buildings at the site, putting $50,000 toward this project and the demolition of a vacant motel near North Mount Vernon Road.
Despite the changes taking place, Monica, who refused to give her last name, owner of the Monica Spiritual Reader and Advisor, told the Daily Press that day that she had never heard of any such plans. “This is all news to me,” Monica said.
The city’s plans for economic redevelopment in the coming years include projects on Monticello Avenue, Mount Vernon Avenue, York Street, North Boundary Street and more portions of Richmond Road. The entire list and procedures for demolition can be found online on the City Council’s Economic Development website.