West Main Street

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West Main Street is a major thoroughfare in Charlottesville and one of the most rapidly transforming corridors in the community. The street runs for about two-thirds of a mile between the University of Virginia and the Downtown Mall.

In the 2010's, several large buildings were constructed, taking advantage of the larger footprints allowed under the 2003 rezoning. There are still many sites poised for redevelopment, including the site where a University Tire franchise operates at 612 West Main Street. [1]

From 2013 to 2021, the city of Charlottesville had been planning for a streetscape project that been split into four phases. [2] City Council defunded the project in September 2021 and officially canceled it in June 2022. [3]

West Main Street is also the signed portion of Business Route 250 through Charlottesville connecting the University of Virginia to Downtown.


West Main Street has been a major corridor throughout Charlottesville ever since it was part of the Three Notch'd Road. The road was first macadamized in 1895. [4]

James Dinsmore, Thomas Jefferson's building manager, built several brick townhomes on the street in the early 19th century. The road's economic development fortunes took a turn for the positive when the Virginia Central Railroad built tracks alongside. [5]

The road became a core of Charlottesville's African-American community and several important churches as well as the Jefferson School. In the 1930's, automobile dealers opened showrooms on the road, all of which were gone by the end of the 20th century. [5]

West Main is part of the city's Starr Hill neighborhood and sits between Fifeville to the south and Tenth and Page to the north.

21st Century Redevelopment

A series of West Main studies

In 2001, Wallace Roberts and Todd was hired to conduct a study of the road. The West Main Street Open Space and Streetscape Schematics Plan was presented to the City Council in November 2004. [citation needed]

In 2013, the city hired Rhodeside & Harwell to conduct a land-use study and streetscape for the corridor. The direction was set in part by the PLACE Design Task Force at their meeting on November 2012. [6] City Council agreed to spend $350,000 on the project in February 2013. [7]

The study began in October 2013 with a walking tour of the corridor. [8]

In January 2015, Mayor Satyendra Huja announced he could not support the finished product. [9]

Staff held a work session on possible changes to the zoning on March 17, 2015 with Lee Einsweiler of the firm Code Studio. [1]

Rhodeside & Harwell continues to work on the plan.

When the city adopted a new zoning ordinance in 2003, parcels of land along the corridor were up-zoned in order to allow for more density and taller buildings. A $8.5 million cost estimate for improvements was established and Council discussed how to fund them in April 2003 but at that time there was not a majority that thought fixing the Downtown Mall was a higher priority. [10]

There have been many studies to guide that development throughout history.

The area is sometimes referred to by residents and businesses as Midtown. The Midtown Association occasionally holds an annual street fair. [11]

Buildings along the road are subject to the West Main Street Architectural Design Control District. [5]

Route 250 continues west on Ivy Road and east on Ridge Street.

The street has a high walkability score. [12]

There was a study on creating a new a streetcar line to the corridor but the results were never implemented. [13]

Changes since 2012

Battle Building

In September 2012, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors approved the demolition of the Blake Center at the corner of West Main and Jefferson Park Avenue. [14] This paved the way for a plaza next to the Battle Building, a seven story structure with 200,000 square feet for pediatric outpatient clinics. [15]

Flats at West Village

Plans for the Flats at West Village were filed with the city in the fall of 2012. [16] Construction began in 2013 and was completed in August 2014. The building has 622 beds and 10,000 square feet of retail. [17]

Marriott Residence Inn

In June 2012 the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review granted partial approval to a new hotel to be built on the corner of West Main Street and Ridge-McIntire. The hotel, which would be a Marriott Residence Inn, requires only site plan approval from the BAR in order to move forward with the project. [18] Their approval was granted in June 2013. [19] The hotel opened in March 2016. [20]

City Council had previously approved a special use permit for a nine-story residential building at this location. [21]

The Standard

In August 2013, the BAR voted to approve a demolition permit for Republic Plaza to make way for another big-box residential development that would be called The Standard. [22] The project was completed in August 2018. [citation needed]

1000 West Main Street

Plans for another student housing complex at 1000 West Main Street were submitted to the city in October 2013. [23] The project was initially called the UnCommon but is now known as Lark on Main. [citation needed]

Hotel Quirk

Architect Bill Atwood was the original force behind a multistory project at 501 and 503 West Main Street. However, that project fell apart and the Ukrop family is now developing a 75-room hotel to be the second installment of their Quirk brand of hotels. [24] The group received their final approval from the BAR in early 2018. [25] The hotel opened shortly before the COVID-19 Emergency/

Six Hundred West Main

Six Hundred West Main is a planned six-story structure at 512 West Main Street and 600 West Main Street. [26] [27] Groundbreaking is set for April 2018. [citation needed]

Businesses and organizations

Please help us add more to this list

West Main in transition


  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. Officials and citizens review possible changes to West Main zoning, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 17, 2015, retrieved March 18, 2015.
  2. Web. Council breaks West Main Street plans into multiple phases, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 17, 2017, retrieved November 25, 2017.
  3. Web. City officially cancels West Main Streetscape project, News Article, Town Crier Productions, June 10, 2022, retrieved August 27, 2022.
  4. Web. Charlottesville Urban Design and Affordable Housing, Kenneth A. Schwarz, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, retrieved March 6, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Web. West Main Street ADC District, City of Charlottesville, retrieved March 29, 2012.
  6. Web. PLACE task force considers West Main and Belmont Bridge, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 9, 2012, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  7. Web. City to jumpstart West Main improvements, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 24, 2013, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  8. Web. West Main study begins with tour of changing corridor, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 24, 2013, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  9. Web. Charlottesville mayor blasts West Main streetscape plan, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 21, 2015, retrieved October 16, 2020.
  10. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, April 7, 2003.
  11. Web. Street cred: West Main relaxes, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, September 10, 2011, retrieved March 29, 2012. Print. September 15, 2011 , 1037, .
  12. Web. [1], Walk Score, retrieved March 29, 2012.
  13. Web. A streetcar for West Main, Sean Tubbs & Kendall Singleton, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 31, 2008, retrieved April 18, 2018.
  14. Web. Building at JPA-West Main intersection to come down, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 12, 2012, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  15. Web. Battle Building Profile, University of Virginia Health System, retrieved April 18, 2018.
  16. Web. Major University housing and mixed-use project coming to West Main, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 3, 2012, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  17. Web. Move-in Delayed for Tenants of Flats at West Village, Kasey Hott, NBC29, August 15, 2014, retrieved April 18, 2018.
  18. Web. New West Main hotel gets partial approval from BAR, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 25, 2012, retrieved June 25, 2012.
  19. Web. New West Main hotel wins BAR approval, Claudia Elzey, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 19, 2013, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  20. Web. Residence Inn Hotel To Open In Charlottesville, Virginia, Press Release, March 29, 2016, retrieved April 18, 2018.
  21. Web. [www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/7458-9story_approval/ City Council approves nine story building at important corner], Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 6, 2007, retrieved March 27, 2018.
  22. Web. Republic Plaza slated for demolition to clear way for six story building, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 19, 2013, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  23. Web. Third student housing complex proposed for West Main, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 20, 2013, retrieved August 5, 2014.
  24. Web. Architecture group gets first look at new West Main hotel, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 30, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  25. Web. [ ], Charlottesville Tomorrow, retrieved April 18, 2018.
  26. Web. Design panel not receptive to demolition of West Main houses, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 17, 2015, retrieved December 27, 2016.
  27. Web. Design panel wants another look at new West Main construction, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 20, 2016, retrieved December 27, 2016.