University of Virginia issues first request for qualifications for affordable housing developer

The University of Virginia is moving forward with an initiative to use property owned by its real estate foundation to create units that will be reserved for people whose incomes are below the area median income. 

The UVA Foundation issued a request this morning for qualifications from firms to develop two separate projects, including a two-acre site on Wertland Street. The other is a 12-acre site on Mimosa Drive known currently as Piedmont. 

“UVA/UVAF intends to enter into a ground lease with one or more development team(s) best suited to satisfy UVA/UVAF’s requirements and desired features,” reads the request for proposals. 

The two locations for what UVA hopes will be mixed-use communities (view the RFQ)

UVA announced a goal of building between 1,000 and 1,500 affordable housing units in March 2020, but momentum was stalled by the pandemic. These two sites as well as the North Fork Research Park were identified in December after initial work for the project was conducted by the firm Northern Urban Real Estate Ventures. A similar request for qualifications for a firm for North Fork will be made at a later date. 

Under the arrangement, the UVA Foundation would continue to own both sites and the developer would own the structures and other improvements. 

“UVA/UVAF seeks to maximize the amount of affordable and workforce housing at each site and as such, will provide the land as a part of the Project,” the request continues. “UVA/UVAF will not otherwise contribute funding to the Project.” 

The developer will be responsible for preparing the plans and getting all of the necessary approvals, including archaeological studies. They’ll also have to have experience getting financing through Virginia Housing. 

Other development requirements include:

  • Deliver a moderate to high-density mixed income housing community
  • Offer a maximum number of affordable housing units, with an emphasis on creating mixed-income communities that include, but are not limited to, units in the 30 percent to 60 percent area median income range
  • Coordinate with UVA/UVAF and local jurisdictions on the utilities and infrastructure that will serve the development, and coordinate on the design aesthetic that interacts with the surrounding community.
  • Demolish the existing improvements as needed to accommodate the Project, with the exception of historic structures (applicable only at Piedmont).

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 June 10, 2022 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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