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Construction underway at Woolen Mills site for tech company, project expected to also maximize business development in surrounding area
2/13/2019

Albemarle County joined with partners WillowTree, Inc. and Woolen Mills, LLC, today to mark the start of construction for the redevelopment of the Woolen Mills site, which will transform into a best-in-class corporate campus for WillowTree.

The project will keep WillowTree, a valued local employer, in the region with an anticipated private investment of $25 million and a minimum of 200 new jobs, at above-average wages for Albemarle County.

During Tuesday’s official welcome to the tech company, WillowTree’s Mike Moore said, “It is because we are in this community that we are able to engage the brightest minds, deliver world class projects that millions of people around the world will touch, and create a home for people right here in Albemarle County.”

“It means a tremendous amount to our entire region for WillowTree to grow its workforce here in our community,” said Deputy County Executive Doug Walker. “Albemarle County extends sincere appreciation to both WillowTree and Woolen Mills, LLC, as we celebrate the commencement of construction, a significant milestone in the redevelopment of this iconic site.”

Founded in 2007, WillowTree, Inc. is a computer software company committed to helping clients realize the potential of rapidly evolving mobile technologies, from developing a mobile strategy to launching mobile products. WillowTree’s clients range from medium and large businesses to Fortune 500s, and include Regal Cinemas, Wyndham Hotels, GE, AOL, PepsiCo, and the University of Virginia.

As part of the Woolen Mills redevelopment project, the County will partner to provide public-serving infrastructure, including a critical pedestrian bridge and trail connection to link the site to the existing Rivanna Trail across Moore’s Creek. The project will also include public parking to access the recreational assets and establish a shuttle connecting the site to downtown Charlottesville as part of the County’s commitment to alternative transit solutions.

Recognizing the economic development potential not only of Woolen Mills but also the entire Broadway Street corridor, the County will fund an economic revitalization action plan focused on maximizing business development and place-making opportunities in the 45-acre industrially-zoned area of the County.

The County’s investment into this redevelopment partnership recognizes the value of private investment and robust job creation, and other direct and indirect benefits associated with WillowTree’s relocation and expansion, and is based on the following criteria:

Supports growth of identified target technology industry cluster
Catalyzes business development and vibrancy in a unique economic corridor of the County
Adaptively reuses an historical industrial complex
Activates the Rivanna River corridor and connects critical recreational assets
Creates positive tax revenue growth in first year compared to current revenue, ROI increases significantly in Year Six
Helps shift commercial vs residential tax base, reduces future service demands
Stimulates growth in other economic sectors

“We are very excited about the realization of our long-held vision for an active redevelopment project for this historic manufacturing facility that will connect recreational assets, create urban vibrancy, and help activate the Rivanna River corridor,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Rick Randolph. “We eagerly look forward to the transformation of what was once one of the largest wool mills in the United States into a vibrant, cutting-edge manufacturing center of the future.”
 

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