Not a fan

Stonefield is a mistake ["On set at Stonefield: They built it, but will people come?" August 15]. Bigger is not better, as wise people have always known, and another shopping center in this community is overkill. It adds nothing to the quality of life. Those of us who protested the Stonefield development were concerned about this issue and others, such as traffic patterns and congestion, soil erosion, water runoff, and losing local merchants and businesses to yet more national chains.

Our first glimpse of the disaster-in-the-making was the clear-cutting of all vegetation and eliminating all trees, especially the large ones. One of the hallmarks of good new development in other parts of the country has been the realization by developers that trees can be saved and will add much to the ambience of new construction. It costs a little more, but it’s worth it. Saving big trees makes a statement. It says the developers care. Trees soften the harsh lines of new buildings and create a pleasant atmosphere where strolling and shopping is encouraged. They add to the cleanliness of the air and help eliminate toxic fumes. This doesn’t happen with concrete pots of little flowers.

Stonefield is ugly, and with the exception of Trader Joe's, is redundant. Most of the stores are vacant. The streets are narrow and hard to navigate. There is inadequate parking. Signage is non-existent and, as predicted, entrance and exit is difficult, especially on Hydraulic Road. With so much concrete and so little beauty, it looks greedy, as if someone said, “Let’s squeeze every inch out of this space. Who cares about all that other stuff? Let’s make our money fast and move on.” 

Stonefield is one more copycat example of northern Virginia. It should never have been allowed. Is it really adding anything to this community? I will wait and see. But I won’t hold my breath.

Lu Bolen

Read more on: shops at stonefield


i concur

I agree that Stonefield is a miserably designed shopping area. However the comment about trees while a nice thought, just doesn't work out well. You can't develop a property working around the placement of existing trees. Not just placement of buildings and roads, but the trees simply won't survive the construction, they will just die over the course of the next two years.

They could have left places to plant trees, much like the UVa Research Park did. Drive through there and see. They first completely cleared it, saving the smaller trees they could by moving them. Then they put trees in where they were safe and made sense. 8 yrs later it looks nice.

Agree completely. It's 10 pounds in a 5 pound basket, and it's in an already congested place.

Well I suppose that if it is as poorly designed as you say it will fail and be replaced and the developers will take the loss. However, with all the expected population growth, the apartments they are constructing within walking distance I would not count them out yet.

Something was going to be built there it was probably 15 million just for land that they were paying over 100k a year in taxes on even when it was undeveloped.

So they followed the "law" and bult a shopping center. and apartments. What should they have built? I doubt the county wanted to give up the tax revenue then and certainly less now that they are getting probably close to a million bucks a year and more once its done and that doesn't include the sales tax collected by the stores.

Maybe the tree huggers should have all chipped in and bought it and then chipped in more to pay the annual tax bill and then chipped in more to pay for the schools from all the lost revenue, and then chipped in more when someone else builds one a few miles a way and we need to widen the roads for them.

redundant? but not trader joes!? what!? how is another yuppie grocery store not redundant? but as you lumped it all together and pointed out "It adds nothing to the quality of life."

you dont like it dont go, since you clearly have trouble executing vehicle turns and parking, which would mark you as the average cville driver.

and to make matters worse, flowers are plants, like trees, and will produce oxygen just the same...

The sad story can be seen by the fact that, despite a reasonable economic picture, 9 months after the multiplex, Trader Joe's and Pier 1 opened there's been nothing new except a couple of restaurants and Brooks Brothers (which just opened). We went to a movie once last winter and haven't been back because it took so long to figure out how to get out of there! If you're willing to wait a few weeks to see movies Downtown or at Carmike, and since Charlottesville has so many other food options (groceries as well as restaurants) it's hard to see why anyone would bother dealing with a "mall" that's worse than even Tysons' Corner.

I recently visited Charlottesville after a few years away, and I was shocked to see Stonefield. The name is no joke -- it is now a field of stony concrete. I drove around the complex thinking that I would stop by somewhere to grab a snack, but I could not find easy parking. So many of the storefronts were empty. Trees? I don't think I saw any, not even any newly planted ones. The Walmart parking lot looks nicer than this.

This article is another example of people who don't want progress. If it was up to them people would be riding around town in horse and buggies. Progress is good. Stonefield has some nice shopping and restaurants.

I think shopping centers are fine, when designed well and in the right place. This is neither.

Yeah, cause that 7-11 and all those weeds it had behind it were seriously life bonus. If I were a betting man I would bet that the writer is someone who needs others to give them money to survive. Government owrker or nonprift or the like.That money would come from taxes and donations. Taxes and donations from tax revenues and donations from Corporations.

A main reason it is not full right now is that the rents are crazy and until a good close base (the hotel and housing) begin to stand up many retialers wil bide their time.

As too parking, well... Barracks road is pretty easy to find and drive but parking is a freaking nightmare most of the time.

Many things wrong with Stonefield, starting with the bad timing at the end of the great orgy of suburban sprawl and its companion of endless recreational shopping. It will fail along with some earlier examples that are already in free-fall (Albemarle Square for one). The commentator's fatuities about the "Shoah" of the trees is another matter..
No way to reconfigure the land to do all the site work like drainage and other underground utilities without removing the trees. An emotional and ill informed comment on that score. You can leave a few token trees (usually soon to die due to root damage) when building a subdivision, but not with heavy commercial.

They gave it a proper name, The Shops at Stonefield, as opposed to Stonefield Plaza. They put in a Trader Joes as opposed to a Family Dollar. They just forgot that that type of customer likes green spaces and not everlasting concrete, They made a 1970's Stonefield Plaza in sight but want a Shops at Stonefield customer.

Stonefield is pretty much what i expected it to be -- a bunch of places i never plan to go to near a trader joes that is nice to have around, since whole foods moved to a more inconvenient location for stopping at while heading south on 29. not sure what others were expecting, but a shopping center is pretty much a shopping center no matter where you go, unless it's a jewel like short pump. sure we lost a lot of trees -- no big deal, in a place where trees grow like weeds and drop branches everywhere. overall, adding turn lanes on 29 is better than leaving the road as it was with that hideous weed-covered 7-11 lot. but hey it's the county and so we should have expected it to be what it is -- if you want interesting scenery, go into town proper or head out to the country where the rich people don't allow any contruction at all. all things considered,i view getting a trader joes in exchange for creating more blight along and within the 29 wasteland area as worth it.