What’s going on inside seemingly vacant spots on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall?

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - While parts of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall are thriving, some parts are still feeling the effects of the pandemic’s economic downturn.

“There are a lot of plans for reopening, and a lot of it too is people are looking right now at an opportunity of investing in their infrastructure,” Downtown Business Association President Alex Bryant said.

Some spots on that appear closed on the mall aren’t actually gone for good.

“I think it looks more dire than it is. Really, the places that are empty are the big ones and so it’s very noticeable. Those kind of corporate venues on the mall are big blank spaces,” Bryant said. “What’s really more exciting is that there’s so many places opening up in the mall.”

Some businesses are just moving into different spots on the Downtown Mall, like Vita Nova taking over the old Impeccable Pig space.

“Our lease here is about to expire shortly and we found that as an opportunity to stay on the mall,” owner Giovanni Sestito said. “I think the mall still has some good things to give, despite the pandemic.”

Though, some have closed down. Bashir’s Taverna sold off its items Thursday, July 22. The restaurant hasn’t served customers since the fall, and is now moving out.

“We closed in October. We were losing money, but we didn’t want to stop because we had goods and we have the support from members of the community. They all helped provide certain funds to keep us going,” owner Bashir Khelafa said.

Bashir’s Taverna is having the sale Thursday, July 29 too.

The Biannual Vacancy Report will soon be released, which will provide additional information.

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