2006-06-06, 16:07

Mixed use in Colonial Williamsburg

By: Jonathan Groner
Lerner Enterprises is about to break ground in July for High Street Williamsburg, a mixed-use retail/office/residential development in Williamsburg, Va. Lerner Enterprises is the company controlled by Ted Lerner, the well-known D.C.-area developer who was recently awarded the right to purchase the Washington Nationals baseball team.

It's not easy to build a major project in Williamsburg, even one that hews to the mixed-use idea and to the concept of the "New Urbanism." Residents are understandably concerned that any development will destroy the city's historical character and the distinctiveness that makes Williamsburg the most-visited Virginia city. But the Lerners have evidently succeeded where other developers had failed.

The High Street development will feature architecture based on a European model, with varying building heights and the feel of having been developed over a long time. It will be anchored by a 14-screen movie theater and by a Barnes & Noble. The developers say that the term "High Street" is used widely in Europe to connote a fashionable part of town.

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