As part of my recovery from hip replacement surgery in 2009, my wife and I would daily drive over to New Town so that I could hobble, then limp, then finally walk around Foundation Square. Being the brains of the family, Sue frequently told me how impressed she was with New Town and how we should beat the baby-boomer crowd that was sure to flock to an area where they could walk to restaurants, doctors, the movies, and shopping.
As usual, she was right, and we have no plans to leave Charlotte Park until . . . well, you know.
Many others came -- and continue to come -- to the same conclusion. New Town celebrates its 20th birthday and is an ever-growing testament to the vision of people who were bound and determined not to settle for ordinary.
“We intentionally developed the land in phases, so that development could respond to changing market demands,” Larry Salzman, president of developer New Town Associates, recently told The Peninsula Chronicle. “The recession of 2008 caused many development projects to shut down. We were able to adapt some of our plans so that development could continue during that difficult time.
“New Town must continue to respond to changing times and adapt with progressive ideas to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, visitors, and the overall community.”
Salzman pointed to the electric car charging station in the lot across from Axe Republic as an example. In keeping pace with technological advances, Salzman said, a new, updated charger was recently installed (see, "New Town Gets an Upgraded to Electric Car Charging Station").
In 1996, the Carl Casey family sponsored a contest for a “new town plan” to be developed on 600 acres bounded by Ironbound Road and extending on both sides of what is now Route 199. The entry of Cooper Robertson and Partners was chosen.
In 2001, James City County Approves rezoning for the commercial district of New Town, which now includes the Bennington, Foundation Square, Abbey Commons, and Savannah Square.
A year later, New Town Associates was formed, and ground was broken on the first homes. A year later, construction began on the first two streets: Courthouse Street and New Town Avenue.
In 2004, the first business – The Corner Pocket – opened, and a year later, the first residents moved in.
Traffic hasn’t slowed since.