From brick facades and columnar treatments, Charlottesville is a city with its architecture firmly rooted in its past — and developers of a Preston Avenue multiuse property are betting the past will lead to success in the future.

Stony Point Design/Build’s redevelopment of the Monticello Dairy is turning the thick brick walls and familiar visage of the old industrial complex into the Dairy Market, more than 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with 50,000 square feet of office space and an estimated 180 apartments. The market is the first phase of Dairy Central, a four-phase project planned for the site at Preston Avenue, Grady Avenue and 10th Street Northwest. It’s expected to open next year.

The 4.5-acre property eventually will include 300,000 square feet of additional office, retail and residential space.

“On the outside, it looks pretty similar to what it did in 1937 when it first opened as a dairy,” said Chris Henry, president, co-founder and general manager of Stony Point Design/Build. “The property is reviewed by the city’s Board of Architectural Review and we have to give credit to the board for really working with us to make this a successful project.”

Success is the operative word. More than half of the first phase office space is spoken for, but Henry declined to say which organizations and companies agreed to rent office space because the contracts are not finalized.

“We have 50,000 square feet of office spaces and that office space is about 65% spoken for,” he said. “We’re very happy the way things are working out for opening in 2020.”

The redeveloped building includes a full-width food hall planned for a variety of local restaurateurs and a Starr Hill brew pub. Including the brewer, five businesses have signed up to occupy the food hall.

The other businesses that will occupy food hall stalls are local outfits Angelic’s Kitchen, Chimm Street and Take it Away Sandwich Shop, as well as Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Eleva Coffee.

“The food stalls will be very individual and reflect the businesses so they won’t all look alike,” said Jodi Mills, director of sales and marketing for Stony Point Design/Build. “The idea is to provide a retail and food market to serve the offices, the residents, the public and the neighborhood.”

Mills said the dairy’s old windows are being reconstructed, and bricks taken down in remodeling will be reused.

From the late 1930s through the 1960s, the building housed production and distribution of Monticello Dairy milk, butter and ice cream. It was a popular place for area residents to meet and eat frozen treats.

In the 1970s, larger dairies squeezed smaller ones out of the industry and in 1984, the family-owned operation was sold to the Shenandoah’s Pride dairy. Within a year, Shenandoah’s Pride closed its dairy operations in Charlottesville. The company laid off most of its local employees and put the property on the market.

For the next two decades, the old dairy housed a variety of retail and industrial businesses, including restaurants, breweries, a locally owned battery retailer, a truck/transfer company, martial arts studio, a music venue, an indoor paintball park and a recording studio.

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