Crozet wrinkle: Eyed for re-do, Barnes lumberyard skids
Eighteen months ago, Crozet was abuzz at the news that J. Bruce Barnes Lumber in the heart of the village would be redeveloped into a pedestrian mall. Today the town is stunned that the 19-acre property is under foreclosure and will be sold at auction June 27.
"I didn't see this coming," says Crozet real estate agent/blogger Jim Duncan. "It's sad. Barnes Lumber has been a part of the Crozet community for a long time."
Carroll Conley is the owner of J. Bruce Barnes, and he didn't immediately return a phone call.
The lumberyard secured a $1.9 million line of credit from Union First Market Bank, according to the foreclosure notice. Albemarle assesses the two parcels– 14.743 acres and 4.01 acres– at $3.29 million.
Bidders are required to deposit $50,000 or 10 percent of their bid, whichever is lower. Also up for auction is the lumberyard's equipment and about 100,000 board feet of wood that includes walnut, poplar, and cherry. Auctioneer Dick Heatwole estimates there will be around 400 lots of handtools, a forklift, and kilns.
The equipment starts moving at 10am on auction day, then will pause at noon for the real estate auction.
"I would guess there would be very different buyers for the real estate and the kilns," says Suzanne Thomas, the attorney at Lenhart Obenshain handling the sale.
Katurah Roell with Piedmont Development Group was the man in charge of the proposed 655,000 square-feet of office, retail, residential, and a hotel– a much-needed Crozet amenity for those boosting the area's tourism potential.
'We're continuing with the rezoning on behalf of the buyer or the bank," says Roell, noting that the property currently is zoned heavy industrial, and its future designation will be mixed-use. And he says he's talked to several individuals and groups about the suddenly available property.
"I don't know anyone who's anxious to step forward," he says. "We'll collaborate with the bank or the buyer."
Albemarle's director of community development Mark Graham says, "The application for rezoning doesn't automatically end just because the property gets sold."
But the new owner does have to be involved for it to go forward, adds Graham. "At this point, we're just waiting to hear from the new owner once that's established and know where to go with this application."
"I would think some monied investor would jump on it," says longtime Crozetian David Wayland. "It's as good a property as is on the market."
Wayland, former president of the Crozet Community Association, says that group is very much behind seeing the Barnes Lumber site redeveloped. "The lumberyard has been a wonderful asset, but if it was developed to mixed-use, that would be very positive for downtown Crozet."
The upcoming auction would have collided with another long-anticipated Crozet event: the groundbreaking of the new library, beside which a road already has been constructed that would connect with the redeveloped lumberyard.
In case that's too much activity for downtown Crozet in one morning, Albemarle has rescheduled the library groundbreaking to June 26.
Correction June 7 of the unit of measure for lumber, which is board feet.