June 20, 2002
CW breaks ground for new College Corner Building
Representatives of Colonial Williamsburg, the City of Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary broke ground Friday, June 7 at the site of the new College Corner Building in Merchants Square.
The building will contain 33,000 square feet of retail and office space, and each of four sections will reflect distinct business components. The design, which complements the existing architecture in Merchants Square, was conceived by British architect Quinlan Terry in conjunction with the Richmond-based architectural firm Glavé and Holmes. It features three sections of primarily brick construction plus a section of predominantly wood construction with decorative brick fronting on Boundary Street.
The new College Corner Building represents the first new Merchants Square construction in 40 years when a post office—now the Henry Street Shops—was added in 1962. That was the first major construction in Merchants Square since completion of the Williamsburg Theatre—now the Kimball Theatre—in January 1933. The other development in Merchants Square in recent decades was the opening of Berret’s Restaurant in 1983, replacing an Exxon service station located on the same site.
Speakers at Friday’s groundbreaking included Colin G. Campbell, president, CEO and chairman of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, who addressed the architectural considerations involved in the new construction and the long-standing importance of Merchants Square to the Williamsburg community. “Thoughtful expansion and cultivation of Merchants Square, compatible with the historic buildings to the east and west, is important for the community, the college and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,” Campbell said. “Collectively, we are committed to a vibrant downtown commercial area and believe this to be essential for the long-term vitality of our city and region.”
Edward S. “Ned” Dunn Jr., president of the Colonial Williamsburg Company, spoke about the economic significance of Merchants Square and its contribution to the mission of Colonial Williamsburg, while Mayor Jeanne Zeidler and Michael Fox, newly-designated assistant to the president of William & Mary, praised the current development as a means of forging stronger links between local and regional residents, students and Colonial Williamsburg.