Albemarle review panel takes first look at plans for new Home Depot

Last year, a national hardware chain purchased a large portion of Fashion Square Mall in Albemarle County. Less than a year later, plans to redevelop a long-closed anchor store with a new Home Depot location are working their way through the process.

On Monday, the Architectural Review Board took a look at the site plan. 

“The new structure would replace the Sears building that currently stands at the north end of the mall,” said Margaret Maliszewski, a planning manager for the county. 

The project went before the ARB because the location is within two of the county’s entrance corridors. Those are both Rio Road to the north and U.S. 29 to the west. 

“Rio is elevated above the site approximately 20 feet and that allows for views down onto the roof of the existing building,” Maliszewski said. 

A garden center is proposed for north of the new structure on what is now a surface parking lot. County rules a require need a special use permit for any outdoor sales display and had not yet made an application. 

“If items for sale, storage, or display in the garden center will be visible from both corridors, then a special use permit approval will be required for the garden center as well,” Maliszewski said. 

That’s because as depicted, the garden center would not have a roof. 

Attorney Valerie Long with the firm Williams Mullen said not all of the details are known yet about the garden center. 

“We know we are going to need most likely a special use permit for outdoor storage and display,” Long said. “There’s a small chance that the garden center can be completely enclosed. They’re still studying that issue and thinking about designs and so forth.” 

The ARB approved a set of recommendations for the project and must still eventually adopt a certificate of appropriateness. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the May 17, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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