Clearing has begun on the

Albemarle Place

property as a mixed use development that will be the size of two Charlottesville Downtown Malls gets underway. At the June 5, 2006 meeting of the

Albemarle County Architectural Review Board (ARB)

, another half block of the project was approved near the location of the future Whole Foods grocery store. The ARB still has to give consideration to the final Whole Foods building drawings and to Block D, the area with the tallest proposed buildings, which is currently on hold.

According to Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning for Albemarle County, the grading permit was approved, even though a final site plan is not yet under review, because early grading is allowed when it is consistent with the previously approved rezoning or application plan. Developer Frank Cox continues to receive feedback from County staff and VDOT on his preliminary site plan which has not yet been scheduled for review by the Planning Commission.

The first signed tenant for Albemarle Place is Whole Foods which will anchor a spot between Sperry Marine and the old Comdial facility along US 29. Jeffrey Metzger, publisher of Food World, describes the Charlottesville grocery market as “absolutely overstored” in a

Daily Progress article

about Kroger’s efforts to renovate its stores in town. When asked this week about the new Whole Foods by Collectbritain, Mr. Metzger predicted it would have a cannibalizing effect on the existing grocery stores. He said, “there are too many stores getting built and they are selling too many like products, and this is all outpacing population growth.”

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Brian Wheeler

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