Neighbors submit alternate vision for Westhampton Theater redevelopment project
A group entitled “Save Libbie and Grove” has released “aspirational renderings” of what they’d like to see done when it comes to the redevelopment of the Westhampton Theater building.
The Westhampton Theater at Libbie and Grove showed its last film Sunday evening as owners prepare to transform the building into a mixed-use facility with condos, office, and retail uses.
The plan, which we reported on last month, hasn’t sat well with all neighbors and community members, and was sent back to the drawing board by planning officials last month.
A group calling themselves Save Libbie & Grove have put together “aspirational renderings” of what they’d like to see the property look like, along with a list of guidelines the building should follow, in the most ideal of situations.
These artistic images were created by Orange Richmond owner, Cathy Torres Davis, at the request of the group, and represent “a positive vision of what healthy redevelopment of the Westhampton theater block at Libbie & Grove could look like within existing zoning,” according to a news release from the group.
From the news release:
From the start of their efforts many months ago, it was important to Save Libbie & Grove organizers to be supportive of responsible commercial growth within the neighborhood instead of positioning themselves as anti-development. Rather than waiting for another proposal and set of renderings from the developer and being in a position to react again with a “no”, Save Libbie & Grove spent the time working on a proactive “yes!”
These renderings in no way represent a proposal from or conversation with the developer and have been created from the vision of Save Libbie & Grove alone, but a few of the possibilities they represent are as follows:
- Maintaining the existing zoning, at 28 feet, and predominant scale in the commercial district
- Varying roof lines that flow with the slope of the land
- Undulating facades that complement the current predominant character
- Allowing for mixed use applications of the space
- Reusing an existing building (the theater), as is encouraged in the zoning for the area
- Renovating and repurposing of the theater with a new function
- And, sandwiches! All of the wonderful proposed retail tenants can be accommodated within the existing zoning and the aspirational vision
Save Libbie & Grove formed to represent well-planned thoughtful development and to advocate for community input into the planning process for new development on Libbie & Grove. The City of Richmond’s long-held zoning laws, limiting development to 2-stories (28 ft.), have contributed to the appeal of the Libbie & Grove district. The Save Libbie & Grove petition in support of that existing zoning, and requesting that City Council deny a Westhampton LLC SUP, currently has almost 600 signatures. The Save Libbie & Grove Facebook group has almost 1400 members, and 200 yard signs have been distributed in and around the area. The number of residents actively engaging in the Save Libbie & Grove effort grows each day.
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