Hillsdale Road Warrior – Theater or Through Way?

By. Neil Williamson

[In the interest of full disclosure my office is located on Hillsdale Drive-nw]

As reported in today’s (5/4) Daily Progress (and yesterday at Charlottesville Tomorrow), the recently announced expansion of the Regal Cinemas will be in the proposed alignment of Hillsdale Drive Extended. The new theaters will feature stadium seating and add screens to the 20+ year old facility; but it is in the path of the proposed road. 

This is an example of the many quandaries of master planning. 

What’s an owner to do?

The earliest funding may come available for the road is 2015.  Should the owner sit on a depreciating asset until the government gets the money  together to acquire the property needed for the road? 

If the owner does not continue to invest in the property would the value be diminished by the time the government was attempting to purchase the property?

What if the regular opponents to road projects come forward with lawsuits to slow down the project?

Based on Charlottesville’s recent history of building road projects coupled with VDOT’s construction budget constraints, I believe the owners made a calculated business decision to move forward.

Now the new theater will need to receive certain approvals from the City of Charlottesville. 

Will those approvals be held up based on the proposed, yet unfunded, Hillsdale Extension?

If so, would the government be using its power to restrict the lawful commerce potential of the landowner?

If the improvements are made how with that impact the cost of land acquisition in the project budget? 

Will this delay the project further?

This movie is just starting, get your popcorn as it could be a thriller.


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