The Albemarle Economic Development Office has officially completed a planning study for a portion of the county around the Woolen Mills Factory on the western banks of the Rivanna River. (read the report)
“The general idea was to take the 46 and a half acres on the Broadway Corridor and turn that into a place that people, businesses, and activities all occur at the same time and everyone would like to be there,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s economic development director.
Albemarle County is considering taking advantage of new state laws that allow the use of Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas to help boost tourism and economic development.
“It’s a geographic area licensed by the ABC annually that allows the consumption of alcoholic beverages—wine, beer, mixed beverages—within public spaces or inside a business without an ABC license as long as the business owner agrees,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s Economic Development Director.
The proposed budget for Albemarle County for fiscal year 2023 contains a recommendation from County Executive Jeffrey Richardson that will give the Albemarle Economic Development Authority a large pot of money to use to help close deals.
“Our Board has heard the recommendation from Mr. Richardson to put $5 million back into the economic development investment pool,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s economic development director. “That would sort of reestablish our investment pool that we have spending over the last four years or so. It is getting lowered as every project comes along.”
The Albemarle Economic Development Authority met with leaders of the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center in closed session last week to share information about the nonprofit’s ability to pay back a loan that dates back to 2013.
“The pandemic of course dealt us a hefty blow as I think it did most nonprofits,” said Malou Stark, the president of the center’s Board of Directors. “We were not able to open during most of the pandemic. We began very small last fall with very private small group tours of two or three people at a time.”
It has now been a month since the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce held its first ever State of the Community to allow officials from Albemarle County and Charlottesville to present themselves to members of the business community.
Ryan attended UVA’s School of Law and served on its faculty in 1998. He returned to Charlottesville as UVA President in 2018 after serving as Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“Since he returned to returned to UVA in 2018 to serve as President, Jim has continued to emphasize the important of educational opportunity, especially for underrepresented students and first generation college students,” said Collette Sheehy, the senior vice president for operations and state government relations.
On February 18, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce held its first ever State of the Community event with speakers from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia. Elizabeth Cromwell is the president and chief executive officer of the Chamber.
“These institutional anchors are responsible economic development decisions that affect all of us in our businesses,” Cromwell said.
The second anniversary of the pandemic is approaching and almost every organization across Virginia have been transformed in some way. The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has released a report highlighting some of the partnerships it has undertaken during the challenging times.
These include Venture Central, a project to help encourage regional entrepreneurship fueled by a $300,000 grant from GO Virginia. Other parties include Albemarle, Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia.
The city of Charlottesville has completed its latest analysis of commercial property and has found a vacancy rate of 5.23 percent. That’s up slightly from July when the last report from the Charlottesville Office of Economic Development was compiled.
“The retail property in the City of Charlottesville is showing slight signs of rebounding from the negative impacts felt since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, “ reads the report.
At the January 24 meeting of the Pantops Community Advisory Committee, members learned about a site plan for a new project at the intersection of Town and Country Lane and Olympia Drive. Rachel Falkenstein is a planning manager with Albemarle. (watch the meeting)
“The proposal there is for a five-story 119-room hotel and parking,” Falkenstein said.
There will be no change in leadership on Albemarle’s Economic Development Authority. Donald Long will remain the chair, George Ray will stay the vice chair, and David Shreve gets to keep being treasurer.
The group met virtually yesterday and heard from Economic Development Director Roger Johnson about what his office will be up to this year. In the first part of the year, COVID remains a threat to business as usual and Johnson said help will be available from economic development.
“We would expect there would continue to be COVID prophylactics, particularly when you think about some of the things that we have done historically,” Johnson said. “It includes things like the LIFT grant, microloan programs, Safe Places and Safe Spaces.”