Deadline looming for responses to UVA housing initiative

Firms and entities that seek to be part of the University of Virginia’s initiative to build up to 1,500 subsidized housing units have until Tuesday to answer a request for qualifications (RFQ). 

The University of Virginia Foundation has announced three sites on which mixed-use developments will be built, and the RFQ is for a 24 acre site on Fontaine Avenue known as Piedmont as well as a two acre site on Wertland Street near the intersection with 10th Street NW. 

Two weeks ago, the Foundation put out a list of answers to questions raised at a June 10 pre-proposal conference. (view the answers)

“We expect submissions to provide clear examples of the approach to planning and development on other similar projects managed by the respondent,” reads the response to the first question. 

The document states that there have been no discussions with either Albemarle or Charlottesville about potential rezonings that might be necessary for the projects. The Piedmont site is located within Albemarle county and offers about 12 developable acres. The 10th and Wertland site is within Charlottesville close to three apartment buildings that have been constructed in the last ten years on West Main Street.

One of the two sites is located on Fontaine Avenue. Learn more about the initiative on the University of Virginia Foundation’s website. (Credit: University of Virginia Foundation)

There will be no homeownership options at either site and the Foundation’s involvement will be limited to leasing the ground to the development team. 

Existing tenants at the two locations are on year-to-year leases and have been informed of the potential redevelopment. Some but not all of the new tenants in the new buildings will be required to have specific low incomes. 

“Our team’s analysis demonstrates a need for units at [30 percent to 60 percent of area median income], but it will be up to the development team to determine the best approach to maximize affordability while producing a financially feasible project,” reads the response to question 10. 

The Foundation is also not stating a unit count at either location.

“The count should be identified by the selected development team’s development program and financial plan,” reads the response to question 14. “It is assumed that teams will seek to maximize the number of affordable units while working to offer a variety of affordability levels across the development.”

The response also clarifies that the units are not being targeted for UVA employees but for community members at the 30 percent to 60 percent level. 

The UVA Foundation has previously offered land at the North Fork Discovery Park, but an RFQ for that project will not be issued until after a rezoning is completed. 

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 July 29, 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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