STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - New developments are coming to Staunton Crossing, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

However, those new businesses won't be open in time for you to do your holiday shopping there. It may take two more years to even break ground.

The SMART SCALE grant of more than $8 million is going to build a new road.

That path will connect some new businesses with land that’s now up for sale.

These future businesses will be accessible by a connection from Richmond Avenue stores to Valley Center Drive.

VDOT is working on the design, and it’s expected to start construction in two years.

Alfred Fogelman, who lives in Staunton, says he is excited about the project, even if work isn’t scheduled to start anytime soon.

“It’s good to see this kind of progress and bring in these kinds of stores to Staunton,” Fogelman said. “Staunton for a long time I think was kind of stagnant with this kind of thing, but in recent years it’s been real progressive and that's good to see.”

Staunton is also initiating a new business plan so that developers and investors see Staunton as a progressive area.

The city plans to capitalize on the momentum of the sale of the first 25 acres of the Staunton Crossing area.

On that sold property, Marriott opened a hotel on Monday, October 22, and Hilton is expected to open a hotel in early November.

Staunton hopes other businesses can also bring higher-paying jobs to the area.

Release from the City of Staunton:

The City of Staunton will soon be utilizing $8.7 million in grant funding to further prepare Staunton Crossing for new development.

Thanks to a SMART SCALE grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the city will construct a spine road that extends through the entire site, from the retail gateway adjacent to Richmond Avenue to Valley Center Drive. The design of the new road is currently underway by VDOT, and construction of the project is scheduled to begin in approximately two years.

The city is also planning to demolish the vacant, dilapidated buildings at Staunton Crossing in the late summer of 2019, and is seeking further grant funding to prepare for demolition.

The city is applying for a grant through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to assist with the cost of remediating environmental issues on the site, such as hazardous substances and wastes and contaminated property, before the demolition of buildings begins next summer.

“There are underground tanks, asbestos and other environmental issues on the property that we must address before building demolition begins,” said Billy Vaughn, the city’s director of economic development. “The grant funds will be used to fill a financing gap since the cost for remediation will exceed the designated amount in the Capital Improvement Plan.”

The maximum grant award is $500,000 and requires a dollar-for-dollar match. A designated $1.8 million in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan will be used as match.

New Business Strategy In Progress for Staunton Crossing

The city is continuing its partnership with Timmons Group and initiating a new strategy to make the remaining 275 acres at Staunton Crossing more marketable to investors and developers via a business plan.

The plan resets priorities for the development of the remaining available acreage and capitalizes on the momentum of the sale of the first 25 acres at Staunton Crossing. One of the primary goals is to bring more high-paying jobs to the area.

At Staunton City Council’s meeting on Oct. 25, the City’s Economic Development Department and Tim Davey, a representative of Timmons Group, spelled out a plan to attract new and desirable businesses and industry to the area. Strategies include working with city council, the Staunton Economic Development Authority, state and regional economic development partnerships, and private developers to determine priorities and identify target markets for the development. The first phase of planning will involve meetings with stakeholders in November and December to determine those objectives.

Since 2011, the Timmons Group has completed extensive engineering and planning services for Staunton Crossing. The firm’s work has included due diligence, including environmental review, land planning, infrastructure planning and development of site grading options.

The firm’s efforts have contributed to the City’s successful sale of 25 acres and the development of two hotel sites now occupied by the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, which opened last week, and Tru by Hilton, scheduled to open in early November.

Timmons will present its final business plan in early 2019.