The project formerly known as Market Plaza is now known as West2nd.
“This will give the City Market a beautiful home that it deserves,” said Mayor Mike Signer. “I talk a lot as mayor about keeping Charlottesville Charlottesville. I think this project aspires to that idea by working with partners for the common good of all.”
The City Market was established in 1973 and has been located at a city-owned parking lot at the corner of Water and First streets since 1993. The City Council spent many years studying possible locations for its permanent home.
In late 2013, councilors voted to ask developers to submit plans for how they would use the site while maintaining public parking spaces and providing a new space for the market.
Four proposals were received and the council selected the one from developer Keith Woodard in June 2014.
Signer said the use of the land as a parking lot was not in the city’s best interest long-term.
“It wasn’t adding to the cultural base of our city,” Signer said. “It wasn’t adding much to our revenue picture and wasn’t helping with our housing shortage.”
When completed, the L-shaped building will have 9,000 square feet of retail, 55,000 square feet of office space and 68 “deluxe” condominiums priced between $400,000 and $1 million.
“These condominiums will be unique in a little way in that they will each have a large terrace with fantastic views,” Woodard said Thursday. “We think they will have a lot to offer.”
Woodard said he has lined up tenants for half of the office space.
The outdoor market will operate in the southwest corner of the half-acre property. Woodard also purchased a private parking lot in the block as part of the deal.
“The plaza where the City Market will be will extend into an indoor market area, and on days when that is not a City Market, it will be open for events,” Woodard said.
To satisfy the city’s requirements, there will be 102 public parking spaces and 160 spaces for use by building residents and employees.
Woodard estimates the construction cost will be around $50 million.
Woodard and the city have split the cost of placing utility lines underground.
“We’ve been managing the utility relocation for the last six or eight months,” Woodard said. “We’re happy to say the roughest part of that is about over. The undergrounding of the utilities in the streets is nearing completion.”
Woodward is hoping construction can get underway in the spring and that the building can be completed in the spring of 2019. A sales gallery for the condos will open next to Old Metropolitan Hall on the Downtown Mall in October.
As part of the deal, First Street will be closed to vehicular traffic.
“This road will be closed and will become a pedestrian walkway from First Street to the mall,” Woodard said.
Unlike the three other proposals the city received for the site, the sales price for the land was not made public. The land sale will close after all permits and site plans have been approved.