New apartments coming to corner district

The Daily Progress and the Cav Daily both have articles about the upcoming expansion of the historic corner district. From the Daily Progress:

The skyline around the Corner district is going to rise over the next couple of years as developers scramble to build high-density apartment buildings permitted under relatively new zoning laws.

One development already has opened and construction on two more has begun. At least three more developments have been proposed.

Altogether, the developments would add at least 185 new apartments to Charlottesville’s current stock of rental properties.

The apartment buildings will range between three and five stories tall, taking advantage of a September 2003 rewrite – the first in many years – of the city’s zoning ordinance designed to increase development density.

In addition, there are two condominium developments slated to open in 2007 that will bring 80 units to the market.

Apparently, new limitations on the number of cars that U.Va. students can bring to town were a “motivating factor” in the zoning process. I always knew that Parking and Transportation was involved in some sort of sinister conspiracy against us… I wonder if the residents of the new apartments will have to pay outrageous fees to park in an obscenely distant location, or if they will get a nice personal parking space where the historic stuff used to be. Pave paradise and put up apartments, that’s what I always say.

12 Responses to “New apartments coming to corner district”


  • This seems to be a move in the right direction, as opposed to housing far from grounds which requires an automobile an the associated pains.

  • who cares? Rent will be high. And the only people who can afford to live these apartments are rich UVa kids. Great plan for the working people. Cars we will contune to be driving.

  • Cheer up sourpuss. Yeah, the new places will be expensive, but more units means overall rents will come down. Also, more units clustered close to UVa means less pressure pushing working people out of other city neighborhoods so UVa students can move in. Its a good thing. As for cars, some of the new developments are providing one parking space per bedroom, so thats not great, but they won’t be using the car to commute daily – they’ll drive occasionally, causing much less traffic than their suburbanite counterparts.

  • Urbanitas, what sociology textbook are you copying from? Look up and look around; the Charlottesville rental market is already oversupplied; the problem for non-students is not a lack of rental housing but a lack of affordable rental housing. Increasing supply of units for a growing student population isn’t going to affect the market price for us working stiffs. I’ll absolutely agree that given the University’s plans for growth, building more-dense housing in student neighborhoods is the best solution. Unfortunately, the fact that these new places are providing less parking doesn’t mean the students will be bringing fewer cars. Go over on Madison Avenue sometime and look around. Each of those apartments and townhouses holds two to four people, with one parking spot per unit. The result is a lot of revenue for the towing companies and a lot of residents who are miserable about the situation.
    Now, in sociology-textbook world, such a shortage will just encourage everyone to use transportation alternatives and everyone will be happy, right? Unfortunately, as the City has seen repeatedly, it takes a lot more than availability of alternative transport to make people give up the convenience of their cars. Maybe there will be a tipping point if gas prices keep rising, but I doubt the influx of more teenagers who don’t have assigned parking spots will change the trend.

  • fdr is right that public transportation won’t reduce the number of cars. Almost all U.Va. students have cars, and they won’t give them up for anything. Even when the University decided to ban cars for first years, many first year students brought them anyway and found places to park them. I’m not criticizing — I have a car, and it has allowed me to make trips to see my family, to drive after the busses stop working, and to travel all over the city and the state. It’s really hard to get around with just public transportation — the busses don’t run at night, and there is no train to my hometown, and the waiting makes it impossible to go anywhere between scheduled appointments. I’ve had horrible experiences waiting alone in the dark for a bus that never came, just trying to get home from work. Public transportation is great for some routes, like getting around downtown, but it’s still a pain in the ass to not have a car, so you can’t blame students for bringing it when they can afford to — and even if you think students should give up their cars for the greater good, it simply won’t happen.

  • Another consequence of the US economic model is the cracking at the seams of popular universities. Since General Motors laid the groundwork for a car-based civilization after WW2, public transportation is an afterthought that is more mouth than teeth. I can understand students wanting their cars because what’s the alternative? Personally, I made do without when in college in Massachusetts because I could take the ‘T’ and busses. But in Charlottesville?

    The solution? Gas prices over $5 a gallon. This would create a lot of initial hardship, but over time, USA Inc. would grow up and become more civilized.

    In the interim, Charlottesville/Albemarle, which is mostly a college town, needs to develop a sensible public transportation plan (i.e. double it at least), build 50 story high-rises with controlled rent and *then* discourage cars by way of exorbitant parking costs. This all takes time, but before even that, comprehensive planning must be effectuated. The main obstacle is the willpower and commitment to do all this. I don’t think this is present, at least until $5 a gallon hits. So, back to square one, eh?

  • Actually, I was copying from an economics textbook. I just don’t understand people who cry about new development, and in the same breath cry about not being able to afford housing. If we don’t build any, demand exceeds supply, and what houses do exist cost a fortune. Charlottesville happens to be a beautiful town and a great place to live, so the demand isn’t going anywhere. So, we can either be a growing city, or an astronomically expensive enclave. The kind of dense development that the corner is getting is exactly what we need. And I’m going to agree with Sympatico here (welcome back by the way), we should be planning now to vastly upgrade our public transit. We should start now by having these developers on the corner proffer transit funding. If we build a nice system, future development will grow densely around it because people will want the convenience. We can let transportation shape development instead of the other way around.

  • Heh heh… my mistake; I did an econ and soc double-major in college, so the lines blur for me… ;-)

    Ah yes. The people who cry about Charlottesville’s new development and unaffordable housing are … human. We’re the people who’ve been enjoying the place for decades before it was so widely “discovered” as such a great place to live. It’s human nature to not want a good thing to change, even when the economics dictate otherwise.

    I’m all for dense student housing on the corner, but there is not a single grocery store or drugstore within walking distance. Students from middle class suburbia, UVa’s main student population, ain’t gonna give up their cars to lug their groceries and toiletries on the bus (although maybe if they’re living in those apartments, they have more money than I did in college and can just order in all the time). But beyond the practicalities, the problem with public transport in this town is very closely linked to a class attitude deficiency in Charlottesville (i.e., “only poor people take the bus”), with a race attitude problem just a couple of paces behind.

  • A while back someone was on here touting a revived streetcar system. Maybe not a bad idea. You’re right, people think only poor people who have no other choice take the bus – but for some reason a yuppie banker will hop on a streetcar or metro without a second thought. I don’t know why it’s true, but it seems to be. Also, I don’t think developers will be happy to build on a bus line – bus routes are too changeable – you could build today, and they change the route tomorrow. But when its route is fixed in the street, it feels permanent and reliable.

  • The day we see them laying tracks for a streetcar that actually covers worthwhile ground will be the day I change my tune about this area.

    On amother note: there’s nothing inherently downgrade about busses. The problem is that US-spec busses are pathetic. In some other parts of the world I know well, busses can be very swanky…

  • … forum has desabled picture display… so the above post doesn’t make too much sense without a pic…

  • , I meant. There’ no edit feature either :-(

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