Last Sunday on March 7, ground was broken on the first new public housing units in a generation. The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is building 62 new units on an athletic field at South First Street as part of the first phase of that facilities’ redevelopment. Audrey Oliver is a former CRHA Commissioner and resident of South First Street.
“For more than 25 years, redevelopment of public housing in the city of Charlottesville has been in conversations and promises to residents for new housing,” Oliver said. “The promises became broken and residents became discouraged because the promised were never delivered.”
In 2010, the city developed a master plan for the development of public housing, and in 2013, a small area plan called the Strategic Investment Area was put together and added to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. But redevelopment itself stalled until after August 12, 2017. The Dave Matthews Band committed $5 million toward public housing and Red Light Management has worked to make the project a reality. Ground breaking can’t occur until all the financial and regulatory hurdles have been cleared.
“Today we’re here to celebrate the groundbreaking of 62 brand new units to be built on this property,” Oliver said. “There will be one, two and three bedroom units.”
Oliver said CRHA aims to build replacement units for all CRHA properties. Charlottesville City Council has committed city funds to assist, including $3 million for South First Street Phase 1 and renovation of Crescent Halls. Council approved a performance agreement for that funding last October, and you can read this long article about what that entails.
“It will not happen overnight but with everyone’s support, we can make it happen,” Oliver said.
Plans for a second phase at South First Street have been led by residents, but the plans are not ready for the CRHA to apply for low-income housing tax credits this year.
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors discussed the matter on April 7, 2021.
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