New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | February 24, 2024

‘Market 5’ development first step in growth of Charles City Courthouse Village

By Andre Jones | October 25, 2022 10:09 pm

Seen in the picture above, the Market 5 project will be the first of its kind in Virginia that will utilize shipping containers as retail space and cooking facilities. The project is expected to launch additional economic development in Charles City.

With plans to continue to attract tourists to the county, Charles City County supervisors approved a project concept as part of its plan for economic growth during Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.

County leaders voted 3-0 to begin the process to develop Market 5 at the southeast intersection of Route 5 (John Tyler Memorial Highway) and Route 155 (Courthouse Road).

Market 5 is the first step in the county’s goal to form the Charles City Courthouse Village. According to County Administrator Michelle Johnson, it is also the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be developed.

Market 5 will center around bringing modified shipping containers and placing them along the path of the Capital Trail that runs parallel to John Tyler Memorial Highway. The project will have six, 40-foot retail units, a 20-foot kitchen unit, and a 20-foot bar/concession stand unit. The bigger units will also be able to be used as stages for live entertainment.

Pictures of the units were on video displays at the supervisors’ meeting. The photos depicted full kitchens and storefronts that were wired to connect heat, lights, and handle all electrical needs. Because the facilities are constructed inside the shipping container, they can be transferred and moved to different locations if necessary.

“When we look at the opportunity for our economic engine, this project will have retail space that can be rented,” Johnson commented. “According to VDOT (Virginia’s Department of Transportation), approximately 380,000 cars and 7,000 bikes pass by this area each year.”

District 2 Supervisor Bill Coada visited one of the sites that consisted of the modified shipping containers in Florida.

“This will be the destination to go to on the Capital Trail,” Coada commented. “I personally think it will put Charles City on the map.”

For Johnson, she traveled to Denver, Colorado, to the headquarters of Roxbox, who is currently the industry leader in creating the spaces for retail.

“Roxbox has worked with several national brands including Coca-Cola and the Boy Scouts of America,” Johnson commented. “The facilities will be a great asset for the county’s economic growth as part of our Courthouse Complex plan.”

Johnson advised supervisors that because the county owns the land where they plan to place the facilities that it would be a three-step process. County leaders approved a $1.3 million transfer from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to the general fund for the project. The group followed that up by awarding Bruce Howard Construction a $127,000 contract to clear the land. Finally, supervisors agreed to enter into a contract with Roxbox to construct the items in the amount of $1.1 million.

After the approval, citizens voiced favor during the public comment period, but also inquired about additional information.

“I know the area you want to put these in has been spoken about in the past and I hope it doesn’t violate the floodplain ordinance,” commented Lloyd Carter Sr.

“I am in favor of this, but looking at this design, there are no areas for restrooms,” chimed in Bill Walton.

After hearing the comments, Coada responded, indicating that most of the area where the Market 5 area is primarily flat land. The District 2 representative also said that the former salon shop located towards the front of the property will be converted to restrooms due to already having access to sewer and water.