Horizon Dr. marking new milestone in Southwood redevelopment

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 4:13 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Habitat for Humanity’s Southwood Community redevelopment project is in full swing as construction continues on the site off Old Lynchburg Road.

“This is the first phase of the redevelopment of Southwood, which is probably the largest kind of project like this in the country, and one of the more ambitious ones,” Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville CEO Dan Rosensweig said.

The 317-unit mobile home park will soon be completely transformed into a new neighborhood, offering about 1,100 units of mixed-income housing. Many families living there now will soon own their own home.

The first stepping stone of this project is the paving of a new street, called Horizon Road, tying the beginning phases of the development together.

“The first 49-so families, they’re super pumped. Most of them have been side-by-side for years, and the day when they get the keys to their new home and they walk through their door, that can’t come soon enough,” Rosensweig said.

There’s something unique about the Southwood redevelopment plan. Residents like Alfredo Martinez have a say in what the roads are called and what the new community will look like.

“After so many years that we lived here, these changes today, it’s something incredible, but it’s reality,” Martinez said.

He and other residents work with developers to plan out the new neighborhood. Soon, he, his 10-year-old son Michael, and the rest of their family will own their own home in the new development through Habitat’s homeownership program.

“Since the beginning, I spoke with my family and we decided to stay here in Southwood. It has been a lot of work for me, because I have to participate in meetings, attend the design process, and all that,” Martinez said. “But it’s going to be a huge difference between having a safe and secure house than living in a trailer.”

Martinez and his family will be in one of the first groups of new units.

The transitional period is set to last well into 2022 and beyond.

“We’re hoping that the first families will start to move in this summer or early fall, and from there it’ll sort of be a steady drumbeat of families moving from their mobile homes into new homes, and we’ll sort of rinse and repeat until everybody has a place,” Rosensweig said.

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