We’ve known for awhile that the popular, monolithic mid-Atlantic supermarket Wegmans had found a new home on Fifth Street in Charlottesville, but representatives from the grocery store have confirmed an opening date of Sunday November 6, 2016, just a few months away. The supermarket aims to make sourcing food products from local central Virginia farms a priority, and will likely give the Whole Foods on Hydraulic Road a run for its money.
The construction of Wegmans carries with it implications that reach far beyond its effect on Charlottesville grocery stores. The building (120,000 ft² in all) will include such Wegmans hallmarks as a full beer and wine library, a huge prepared foods section, a full-service family restaurant (known as The Pub at Wegmans), a seafood section with fresh fare delivered daily, and more than 60,000 different products overall. The Wegmans staff estimate that the store will be bringing in over 3,000 organic products, many of them sourced from farms on land around Charlottesville, according to the Daily Progress.
Such a huge structure requires deliberate planning, and the city of Charlottesville has been working hard to accommodate a family-first company that will certainly bring revenue, jobs, and opportunities to people in the city and the areas outside the city. Wegmans will be situated on the intersection of I-64 and Fifth Street at the brand new Fifth Street Station, a shopping center which was essentially constructed to host Wegmans and a few other stores. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved the development of the property as far back as 2008. River Bend Management is handling the development; local music/real estate mogul Coran Capshaw is involved in the development. Wegmans will be the largest business in the Fifth Street Station, but it will share the property with a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Mattress Warehouse, PetSmart, Virginia ABC, Panera Bread, and a few other businesses.
Also of note is the construction of the new Bent Creek Parkway which will link Fifth Street and Avon Street. During negotiations with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, the developer proffered that Bent Creek Parkway be completed before certificate of occupancy can be granted. The city of Charlottesville is also providing additional transportation options. Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) is currently in the logistical stages of planning a new bus route that will service the Fifth Street Station. The new route will also provide service down Avon Street to Monticello High School and the Mill Creek neighborhood.
So what does all this mean for you as a current or future Charlottesville resident? For one, it means that there will be a surge of jobs in the Charlottesville area. Indeed, Wegmans alone has announced that there will be 550 employees at the Fifth Street branch, 500 of whom will be selected from a pool consisting solely of Charlottesville applicants. Wegmans has appeared on Forbes’ annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list every year since its inception in 1998, making the top ten eight years in a row. It has a reputation for being a family-friendly company with a genuine interest in improving and advancing the lives of its employees, and its commitment to finding and selling local produce and meats will be right at home with the local farm-to-table mentality.