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Negotiations Set to Continue Between Charlottesville, Downtown Developer

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Plans for West2nd on Water Street Plans for West2nd on Water Street
The developer plans to have it finished by mid-2020 The developer plans to have it finished by mid-2020
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A developer's plans for a major mixed-use project on Water Street in downtown Charlottesville come down to two things: prices and politics.

The prices center on construction estimates and costs per square foot. The politics center on a city council with shifting priorities and mixed messages.

Developer Keith Woodard wants to add an additional floor to his proposed West2nd development in order to make his project financially viable, but some City Council members are not sold on letting him build the condos higher.

Woodard is requesting to add a 10th floor to his mixed-use complex. In return, he plans to build affordable housing units on Harris Street instead of contributing more than $300,000 to the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund.

After a heated back and forth during the February 5 City Council meeting, councilors voted 3-2 to deny the latest plan for that extra floor. It would’ve brought the mixed-use building's total number of condos up to 97.

Plans also call for the building to include space for parking, office space, restaurants, and retailers. The development is also set to house Charlottesville's seasonal City Market on Saturday mornings.

The city is using City Market and affordable housing as bargaining chips, but Vice Mayor Heather Hill is worried that Woodard's latest plans have put the market on the back burner.

“If it’s not gonna meet the needs of our market to really have that permanent home, then maybe we should be re-evaluating what the vision for this land is gonna be because obviously that was one of the original priorities was finding a permanent home for the market,” says Hill.

Councilors Mike Signer and Kathy Galvin both voted in favor of the additional floor. Right now, neither side looks willing to give in to the other and so negotiations are set to continue.

Woodard is still in negotiations with the city. He says his goal is to begin construction this summer, and complete the project by mid-2020.

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