Wait's over: Wood's Northtown site work begins
What's going on across from Kegler's on Route 29, you ask? Well, developer Wendell Wood is at it again, breaking ground on yet another development.
This one is called Northtown Center, a 190,000 square-foot complex of commercial and retail space on 16 acres, which was approved by the Albemarle County Planning Commission last June. Wood says the site will be anchored by a StellarOne bank, a Country Inns & Suites hotel, and a restaurant to be named later.
Wood originally wanted to bring a Home Depot to the site, but County planners nixed that idea over "critical slopes" issues, including concerns about burying a stream, a decision Wood tried to overturn by filing a lawsuit.
Eventually, however, Wood came back with the Northtown plan, which was approved after he agreed to protect the stream and install redundant systems to control stormwater and sediment that might affect the nearby Carrsbrook neighborhood.
In the end, Wood claims, Northtown will actually have more total square-footage than the Home Depot would have.
Once again, Wood's legendary patience seems to have paid off. Much of the land Wood owns along Route 29 was accumulated over decades, acre by acre, but the land across from Kegler's has a special significance.
"I bought my first piece of land there in 1961, for three-thousand dollars," says Wood. "And now it's just beginning."
–Photo taken on May 21 and added on May 25.