The Williamsburg Pottery owner unveiled plans Tuesday for a new, $20 million, 146,800-square-foot retail development along Richmond Road.
Kim Maloney, president and owner of the Williamsburg Pottery, and her assembled “dream team” of Project Advisor and former James City County Administrator Sandy Wanner, architect Tom Tingle of Guernsey Tingle Architects, Bill Strack, president of Henderson, Inc. and others, addressed a packed house at Tuesday’s press conference. Attendees included state Sen. Tommy Norment and state Del. Brenda Pogge.
In 2007, the Williamsburg Pottery received approval from county supervisors to tear down old structures on the portion of property that fronts Richmond Road and build a strip mall-type retail space. Maloney is now ready to go forward with the redevelopment, which will include three large buildings in a “European market” style, along with a courtyard equipped with a stage for performances and “pocket parks” and gardens.
Executive Vice President of the Williamsburg Pottery Peter Kao said the Pottery has always worked hard to give back to the community, and has brought revenue and jobs to the county. He estimates that 60 or more jobs will be created now and in the coming months as the renovation progresses.
He also said the new Pottery will bring even more tourists to the area. Although fewer people visit now compared to the Pottery’s heyday when it boasted millions of guests and its own Amtrak stop, the location still brings in 500,000 people a year, according to Kao. About two-thirds of those people are from out-of-state, he said.
“Change is never easy, but change will never stop,” Kao told the audience. “But our hardworking spirit will never change.” The plan is “our newest, biggest change in the Pottery’s 72-year history.”
Although the Pottery is proud of its humble beginnings, “we’re not all about the past,” he said. Kao joked that while he’s very excited about the undertaking, he’s also never been as stressed.
The Pottery is known for its garden nursery, ceramics manufacturing, custom framing, floral arrangements and imported goods at low prices. All the goods and services currently provided, along with some new inventory, will be moved to the new storefronts, which are located towards the front of the property along Richmond Road. A café, bakery and deli are included in the new plan, which will include indoor and outdoor seating.
The buildings in the rear, beyond the railroad tracks, will be used as warehousing once the project is complete.
The new Pottery building designs reflect the influence of Dutch Colonial architecture, Tingle told the audience after the artist’s renderings and wood model of the plan were unveiled. He said the design was “about creating a space,” and used the idea of individual storefronts, steep roofs and gables, iron baskets and other Dutch Colonial ideas along with the desire to offer people attractive places to gather.
Maloney said her late husband, James Maloney, had traveled extensively in Europe and this design was in keeping with his vision for the future.
She also highlighted the Jimmy Maloney Foundation, which contributes scholarship money to local students as well as charitable contributions to other organizations in the community, and said she had assembled her “dream team” to work on the project with the intention of keeping all the work with local firms.
Strack said he was looking forward to starting the project, and that “this is the most important project we’ve had the opportunity to build in Williamsburg,” and “it will be great for our economy.”
After the presentation, James City County Powhatan District Supervisor Jim Icenhour said, “I’m really impressed. I think they’ll get a fairly good reception from the board [of supervisors],” because the redevelopment plans are well-designed and “a real step up from the old  plan.” The previous plan set aside an area for a large grocery store, which is no longer included.
The old plan was more like a strip mall, Icenhour said, and he thinks the designers have done a good job working within the limitations of the site.
Bob Harris, Vice President for Tourism at the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, said “The plan is exciting. The Pottery has always been an important part of the destination experience here… this renaissance with exceptional construction and lovely streetscapes will be something new [for the tourist] to see.”
He thinks concerts and events at the outdoor stage area will also be a good draw.
Demolition will begin in September, with a groundbreaking ceremony in the beginning of December. Construction will be complete in spring of 2012, with a grand opening scheduled for April 5, 2012, the date which would have been Jimmy Maloney’s 100th birthday.