Ten months have passed this year, and I’ve now published summaries of property transactions in Charlottesville for each of them. I look through each purchase and title transfer in order to better understand the market. I am not a real estate expert, but I have been writing about the way land is used in this community since 2005. Like many of you, I have experiences with many of these places. My work overall is improved by a parcel-by-parcel review.
This month, the anecdotal trend of residential properties trading above assessment continues. There are also several purchases of properties by Limited Liability Companies. The buildings occupied by a Guadalajara, Atlas Coffee, and JLK have new owners. Lots, developed or undeveloped, continue to trade hands at higher prices.
This month I’ve also begun referring to a staff report from a 2013 Charlottesville Planning Commission work session that covered Planned Unit Developments. These are specialized zoning districts that have been used for many years to add higher residential densities. As the community looks ahead to a rewriting of the zoning code, it is useful to note the historic presence of these Planned Unit Developments in the community.
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A rezoning of 12 wooded acres in Charlottesville’s Fry’s Spring neighborhood moved one step closer to approval last night. The seven-member Planning Commission recommended approval of a project that goes by the name 240 Stribling that would see 170 units.
On September 14, the developer asked for a deferral of a decision following a public hearing. City Planner Matt Alfele has this recap.
“During the public hearing, the Planning Commission heard from 16 members of the public,” Alfele said. “Most speakers raised concern about the safety of Stribling Avenue and how additional dwelling units on the subject property would be detrimental to public safety.”
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District will mark its 50th anniversary next year. But what does the agency do? Every month I take a listen and write up a rundown for Charlottesville Community Engagement. Here’s the one from November 4, 2021.
The TJPDC’s public entity’s creation stemmed out of reform in Virginia. David Blount is the deputy director of the TJPDC and he explained the passage of the Regional Cooperation Act in 1968. (state code)
“[Planning District Commissions] and the framework for them is laid out in state code,” Blount said. “It’s encouraging and facilitating not only that local government cooperation, but also providing that link between the state and localities for addressing issues on a regional basis.”
The City of Charlottesville has held a public meeting for the next phase of redevelopment at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Carrie Rainey is an urban planner in the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services.
“What we’re looking at right now is a final site for what is currently a by-right project to build a new apartment building with structured parking at 715 Sixth Street SE,” Rainey said.
Riverbend Development is working with the CRHA on this project, continuing a partnership that has also been involved with Crescent Halls and the two phases at South First Street. CRHA has a new redevelopment coordinator in Brandon Collins, formerly with the Public Housing Association of Residents.
A routine closed-door meeting of key planning officials in Albemarle, Charlottesville, and University of Virginia was held last week on October 15. The Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee (LUEPC) had four presentations on items related to climate adaptation.
Paul Zmick, Director of Energy and Utilities at UVA, gave a presentation on the school’s efforts to develop a strategy for thermal energy use. That’s one way UVA hopes to become fossil-free by the year 2050. A recent study evaluated dozens of potential ways to reduce reliance on old technology. Some strategies are recommended to be dropped from further analysis such as solar thermal, biomass, and deep geothermal. (presentation)
This past month I have received at least two dozen “price decease” alerts from realtor.com. How is that translating into the market? Read ahead and find out for yourself in this anecdotal look at property transactions in Charlottesville during September. Properties appear to be sold above assessment in most all cases.
Of particular interest to me are two property transfers in areas that are to be designated as “sensitive” to displacement in the Future Land Use Map and the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission recommended adoption of the draft this past week and details still need to be worked out about the mechanism by which bonus units will be allowed in those areas.
One on Charlton Avenue in the Rose Hill neighborhood was over 53 percent of the 2021 assessment. Another on Anderson Street in 10th and Page went nearly 190 percent over assessment, though that reflects major renovations made by the previous owners. What, if anything, might have been altered with different land use rules?
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.
The seven-member Charlottesville Planning Commission and the five-member Charlottesville City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on the Comprehensive Plan, the second task performed by Rhodeside & Harwell as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative. That includes a Future Land Use Map which increases residential density across most of the city.
Another tenant has been announced for the new 3-Twenty-3 building in downtown Charlottesville. General Atomics Commonwealth Computer Research will lease just under 50,000 square feet in the building.
“With projects ranging from optimizing the world’s largest container port to predicting future asymmetric warfare events, CCRi has no shortage of experience in diverse client expectations,” reads a description of the company on their website.
The 3-Twenty-3 building is being developed by Insite Properties and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. A press release describes the building as a five-story office building on top of a four-story, 200 space parking garage.
There are several makeshift memorials to people who died in crashes on 5th Street Extended in Charlottesville. Yesterday, a city-sanctioned memorial to Quintus Brooks was unveiled with a family ceremony. Brooks died on October 1, 2020 and yesterday would have been his birthday.
“A new application process is being launched for roadside memorials at the site of deaths resulting from automobile, bicycle or pedestrian accidents that occur on public streets within the City of Charlottesville,” said city Communications Director Brian Wheeler in an email announcing the event.