UVA announces three sites for affordable housing projects

The University of Virginia has announced three sites upon which it will work with a developer to build affordable housing units, two of which are in Albemarle County. They are:

  • The low-density Piedmont housing site on Fontaine Avenue
  • The corner of Wertland and 10th Street
  • Properties at the North Fork Research Park 

President Jim Ryan made the announcement this morning in a written statement.

“Economic growth over many decades has had a profound effect on housing in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, and we are committed to working with community partners to create more housing intended for local workforce and community members who have been priced out of the local housing market,” Ryan said. “We believe these sites may be suitable for affordable housing, to potentially include mixed-use development.”

J.J. Wagner, UVA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said these sites were selected in part because they were not in any other strategic plan. There’s a website where people can submit feedback. (website)

According to a press release on UVA Today, Piedmont would likely be completely redeveloped except for an existing structure. The Piedmont property is on the north side of Fontaine Avenue and is within Albemarle County. UVA owns this site outright. 

The University of Virginia Foundation purchased 1010 Wertland Street from developer Keith Woodard in February 2017 for $4 million, which was well over the $1.85 million assessment for that year.  That 0.4 acre property is currently occupied by an apartment complex.  The foundation also owns two other properties at this corner, one of which is currently vacant.

The North Fork Research Park currently does not have any residential units. This past March, the foundation issued a request for proposals for a firm to help rezone portions of the property to Neighborhood Model District zoning. 

“Coordination with the UVA Affordable Housing Task Force will be required,” reads the RFP. 

According to the RFP, the areas marked in red are the sections of North Fork Research Park for which the rezoning to Neighborhood Model District would be requested 

Existing leases at both Piedmont and 1010 Wertland Street will be honored for their duration. UVA or its foundation will donate the land though a ground lease and will not contribute any funding to the projects. The next step is for the UVA Foundation to issue a request for qualifications for potential builders. 

Initial work for the project was conducted by the firm Northern Urban Real Estate Ventures. That company is now working with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority on a master plan for sustainability. 

These three sites are the only ones under consideration at this time. UVA spokesman Brian Coy said they will work with the selected firm to meet the goal of building between 1,000 and 1,500 units. 


Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the December 14, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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