Martha Jeff Hopes for a Quiet Departure

Martha Jefferson Hospital is due to move out of downtown in a few years, consolidating all of their operations up on Pantops, and they’re hoping to keep the neighborhood from hating them for it. Brian McNeill writes in today’s Daily Progress about what is permitted to replace the hospital under zoning regulations, what might end up there, and how it could affect the neighborhood. The whole area has developed around the hospital for the past 80 years; it’s going to be awfully tough to find something else to go in there that won’t radically disrupt the human settlement and usage patterns of what will long be known as the Martha Jefferson neighborhood.

3 thoughts on “Martha Jeff Hopes for a Quiet Departure”

  1. …and they’re hoping to keep the neighborhood from hating them for it.

    And after all the changes MJH got approval for from the city (one of which involved getting rid of a road- to put in that plaza off of locust).

  2. I live in the Martha Jefferson neighborhood (really close to the building itself, actually — I’m like a block-and-a-half away), and ever since I heard the Hospital was moving out I keep imagining what might go there instead.

    The problem is that it’s basically just one really big building with a lot of empty parking/green space around it… which is ideal mostly for some sort of office-type ‘corporate campus’ structure. Which is not really a thing that I’m excited about having in my nieghborhood.

    I’d much rather they tear the thing down and fill that space with tightly-packed mixed-use buildings; spaces for local retail outlets, affordable housing, and public pedestrian space. I walk or drive past the hospital almost every day and ideas have been slowly gathering… and after I while I realized I was essentially thinking, “you could fit another downtown mall in that space.” I know that zoning issues would probably be absurdly prohibitive (for instance, you’re not allowed to build a building closer than 25 feet to the street in my neighborhood), but it’s a nice thought.

    Then again, the building is most likely going to get bought by a single entity, so even if they did try to make it into a downtown-mall type area (and I’m not holding my breath), it would still technically be private property in the guise of public space… it would be another Barracks Road and not another Downtown.

    All I really want is for us to build cities and organize space the way we did 80 years ago. It worked fine then, and the thing we’re doing now doesn’t work. The fact that this has become economically, legally, and logistically impossible is endlessly depressing to me.

  3. Charlottesville thought MJH would never leave. They were bullheaded and this is the result.

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