Community Members Raise Concern Over Proposed Pricing of New Housing

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site for 'Dairy Central' project site for 'Dairy Central' project

A developer planning to transform a historic milk plant in Charlottesville is trying to bring in more affordable housing.

Monday night, people who live nearby the project in the 10th and Page Neighborhood weighed in at a community meeting saying it's not enough.

Phase One of the project looked at expanding the building for office, retail and food businesses. The company is rolling out its plan for housing now, but people question if it can be considered affordable.

Phase Two of "Dairy Central" plans to build 175 housing units off of 10th Street and West Street. Twenty of the units would be affordable.

The cost for the units are not exact, but estimates say for market units, one bedroom units would cost $1,000, two bedroom units would cost $1,500. The affordable units would be less.

"A one bedroom apartment for $1,000, that's almost my mortgage …  that's incredible, the amount of money for one bedroom,” a woman who attended said.

"There’s a lot of talk about the building materials that will be used, like will this be the fanciest ‘boujee-ist’ building ever so that rent has to be super high? Or can we cut back by using not hard wood floors and granite countertops,” Olivia Paton, who lives near the project, said.

"I think the biggest concern was definitely displacement of nearby residents and gentrification,” Michael Payne, who attended, said.

"So you're providing 147 spaces, but there’s 171 units, but there is a concern that that's not enough parking for the whole building,” Carl Schwarz at the meeting said.

Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker and Vice Mayor Heather Hill also attended.

Walker says we need to make sure we are providing housing for everyone, not just one population.

"If you're talking about at 80 percent AMI you're still talking about people in the $60,000 range and who can afford those houses, so you have to stretch that, you have to talk about AMI at every level and even people with zero income, and that's what very few people understand,” Walker said.

Stony Point Design Build along with Cunningham Quill Architects are heading the plans. They're offering three times the required amount of affordable housing with this project.

“We're going to continue working with the city to take advantage of all of the programs they have available so that we can make that housing as affordable as possible for the people that are living here,” Chris Henry of Stony Point Design Build said.

Phase Three of this project could add another residential building to the site. Construction should begin sometime in the fall. Another community meeting is planned for the near future.

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