Charlottesville EDA reauthorizes performance agreement for Friendship Court

The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority has reauthorized a performance agreement with the Piedmont Housing Alliance for a loan for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Piedmont Housing Alliance would pay the money back through the incremental tax revenue the city would get from a more intense residential development. Here’s Economic Development Director Chris Engel. (staff report)

“Typically, our performance agreements are done to encourage business development, job creation, capital investment that creates office space or an industrial building,” Engel said. “In this case, the public good if you will is the rehabilitation and addition of not public housing, but affordable housing that would be owned and managed on a long term basis by the Piedmont Housing Alliance.” 

The city is currently considering using this tool to finance improvements to Stribling Avenue. This is also the same mechanism that was proposed by the owner of the skeleton Landmark hotel. 

In this case, the 11.75 acre property is assessed at $8.185 million this year, which yields $77,714 in property taxes for the city. When the first phase of redevelopment is completed, the value is projected to be over $20 million, which Engel said would bring in an additional $190,000. Piedmont Housing Alliance would get that increase through a transfer from the Economic Development authority. 

“This is a very complicated, complex deal to get this to all come together,” Engel said.

This is separate from the nearly $16 million in capital funds city taxpayers will contribute to all four phases of redevelopment. Under this agreement, Piedmont Housing Alliance would collect the funding up to $6 million.

“There’s not a profit making opportunity here for anybody but it’s an opportunity to see additional affordable housing added to the city again and an old site that needs rehabilitation,” Engel said. 

The EDA approved the reauthorization with little debate. The original agreement was written up by former city attorney John Blair before he became the acting city manager after former city manager Tarron Richardson resigned. 

Engel said the Piedmont Housing Alliance is ready to begin construction. Their website has not been updated with information about redevelopment since last October when a December start-date for construction was expected. More information as it comes in. 

A chart demonstrating the incremental increased in property tax revenue for the Friendship Court property

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