For sale: Union Station developers want offers

Is the Union Station property for sale? Indeed it is, if the price is right, say owners Gabe Silverman and Allan Cadgene.

"We're looking for opportunities," says Cadgene. "It's a good housing site– it's a good mixed-used site."

What a difference a decade makes. When the developing duo bought the property in the early '90s, it was surrounded by a forest and some dilapidated buildings. Now, a man named Capshaw is building a 225-unit upscale apartment complex, dubbed Walker Square, next door.

When Cadgene and Silverman snared the Union Station property, they say, they paid about $800,000. Current asking price, according to Cadgene, is $5.6 million– or thereabouts.

"Today, it may be $20 million. Tomorrow, it may be $12 million. The next day it may be $3 million. It depends on how depressed Gabe is," says Cadgene.

Uh, thanks, guys.

The site, now totaling 3.22 acres, has long been considered the linchpin in linking town and gown– the UVA Corner and the Downtown Mall. In the early nineties, City Councilors went to bat for the developers by landing a $450,000 prepaid lease from Amtrak, a federal grant for $783,000, and talk of over $6 million more for a transit center.

Recently, though, controversy has reared its ugly head. Two years ago, the proposed transit center fled the scene when negotiations broke down. And most recently, the site's Wild Wing Café's end-of-2002 closing and subsequent re-opening has grabbed headlines as did the across-the-tracks development by Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw.

The developers they say they've spent about $1.5 million fixing up the site and are open to creative offers such as hosting the City Market.

"We want to make West Main Street," says Cadgene, "a walking street."


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