Developer Presents Plans for Former Kmart, Gold's Gym Space

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Proposed plans for the former site of Kmart and Gold's Gym Proposed plans for the former site of Kmart and Gold's Gym
Equipment being moved out of Gold's Gym in Charlottesville Equipment being moved out of Gold's Gym in Charlottesville
Kevin Gustafson Kevin Gustafson
Former Kmart building in Charlottesville Former Kmart building in Charlottesville
Daniel Hines Daniel Hines

The developer who built Fifth Street Station in Albemarle County is working on redeveloping the corner of Route 29 and Hydraulic Road.

Wednesday, engineers presented their initial site plan for the former Kmart and Gold’s Gym locations.

“I'm sorry to see it go. I feel like I failed my members, but it wasn't for a lack of trying,” said Gold’s Gym owner Kevin Gustafson.

Kmart built its store on Hydraulic Road back in 1964, but closed the doors for good on July 30. Gold's Gym shut its doors Saturday, September 30, and is moving out after 11 years at this location.

“I was expecting when I signed that we'd be able to get an extension and stay here, but they had different plans,” Gustafson said.

The engineers' plan includes demolishing sections of the 53-year-old structure. Riverbend Development wants to convert the building into eight to 12 smaller retail spaces, including two anchor stores.

“It's an old center right now that needs updating. We're putting in a lot of landscaping, trying to carve in natural elements into the parking lot, make the building and the space a lot nicer that it will be more inviting to the customers coming in,” said Daniel Hines with Bohler Engineering.

The project also includes improvements to the parking lot, better access for pedestrians, a courtyard, and a facelift for the storefronts.

“It's going to be definitely beautifying this whole corner a lot more and making it a lot more inviting, tying in with what Whole Foods and what Stonefield has, and really trying to make that whole area a lot nicer” Hines said.

Gustafson said the strength of Charlottesville's retail real estate market is making it tough to find reasonably-priced space.

“They can yield a lot more, even by tearing everything down and rebuilding, than what they were getting from us and Kmart,” he said.

The engineering team expects the site review process with the city to take about six months before demolition and construction can start. That work will likely take another year or more.

The developer is also said to be in talks with retailers to move-in to the redeveloped space. No store names are confirmed at this time.