Construction in progress at Fifth Street Station, Wegmans ready for 2016 opening

After more than 10 years of planning, work is finally underway to build a shopping center in Albemarle, just south of the Charlottesville line, that will be home to a Wegmans grocery store.

“We mobilized last week and we’re moving dirt around as we speak,” said Alan Taylor, president of Riverbend Development. “There’s a tremendous amount of site work that needs to be done.”

Charlottesville Tomorrow, has recently published this. It is the trusted source of in-depth information on key quality of life issues before local government in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Their reporter Sean Tubbs believes that when completed, Fifth Street Station will feature more than 470,000 square feet of commercial space. Wegmans is expected to open in the spring of 2016 as one anchor. The company is an 85-store supermarket chain that was founded in 1916. A new store set to open in Alexandria next year will employ 550 people, according to a news release.

A 2012 analysis of the project by Chmura Economics & Analytics estimated Fifth Street Station will have an annual economic impact of $479.2 million and will generate around $9 million a year in additional tax revenue for the county, including $1 million in property taxes.

Taylor said the new retail space could help relieve congestion on U.S. 29 by giving additional shopping options to residents who live south of Charlottesville. The property is just south of the city and is bordered by Moores Creek. Riverbend purchased the land in 2003 but it took several years for the Board of Supervisors to rezone the 80 acres from light industrial to commercial.

When approval came in 2008, Riverbend agreed to build a connector road between Fifth Street Extended and Avon Street. To do that, the company had to ensure that doing so will not rupture a former city landfill that is on site.

“If you think about what a landfill is, you’re essentially building on top of a sponge,” Taylor said. He said it will take about a year to build the road, which will be constructed to Virginia Department of Transportation standards.

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