A project to bring much-needed student retail and housing close to the William & Mary campus is moving closer to reality.
The William & Mary Real Estate Foundation unveiled an architectural drawing Friday for the planned project for College-operated student housing and new retail options on a site near campus on Richmond Road. The design will be submitted this month to Williamsburg’s Architectural Review Board.
“This is a project designed to address two significant issues – a lack of student-specific retail near campus and a lack of College-operated student housing,” said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. Reveley added that the College has been working with the William & Mary Real Estate Foundation to expand options for students close to campus. “Our students want more entertainment opportunities close to campus and more options for student housing. This is the first project and we’re thrilled with its potential.”
The project has been several years in the making. Last year, the Real Estate Foundation acquired properties on Richmond Road, including the Taylor Building and the former Master Craftsman site. Both are adjacent to the College-owned Thiemes House property, which currently houses William & Mary’s human resources offices. The three properties are on a site of approximately one acre that would be cleared for the new mixed-use retail and housing project.
The design calls for a first floor dedicated to 12,000 square feet of retail space, including restaurants with outdoor seating. A breezeway will allow access to Richmond Road directly from a parking lot, which will be reserved for patrons. The building’s top two floors would include 14 apartments to house up to 56 upperclassmen. The housing would be managed by William & Mary’s Office of Residence Life. Brick sidewalks and landscaping will surround the building.
“This site will be developed in a way that it maintains a sense of place that is appropriate for a location so near the College and the Historic Area,” said Nancy Buchanan, executive director of the Real Estate Foundation. She added that the foundation is working with city officials to create a new zoning district for College-operated housing and is subject to City zoning approval.
Plans call for the project to break ground next summer and for the building to be completed by the fall 2011 semester.
The William & Mary Real Estate Foundation is a partnership between the Board of Visitors and the William & Mary Foundation. It was established in 2006 to acquire, hold, manage, sell, lease, and participate in the development of real estate properties in support of the educational goals of the College.