More affordable housing units may be coming to Southwood project

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Southwood’s affordable housing project is moving quickly, and more units could be coming to the Albemarle County site.

“It’s going really fast, " Dan Rosensweig CEO and President Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville said Monday, March 6.

There are 11 zones in Southwood that are a part of Habitat for Humanity’s main project. Block 12 is what will be Hickory Hope apartments and it is a project by the Piedmont Housing Alliance. Habitat and PHA are working together to provide affordable housing and get their plans approved by the county.

The Hickory Hope section cleared a technical hurdle Monday when the county’s Architectural Review Board approved a permit for additional apartments in the development. This small portion faced a prior halt.

“What makes it a little complicated is that when the project started, when we went through rezoning, that area was not included in the entrance corridor. But the rules have changed, so now there’s an extra layer of design review just for that parcel,” Rosensweig said.

Since the Hickory Hope portion of the site was on the entrance corridor, it had to go through a separate review. When it was initially submitted for approval, the Virginia Department of Transportation did not classify Old Lynchburg road, where Hickory Hope will be, as an arterial road. That meant the ARB could not approve the plans at the time, causing a short delay.

“The building permit will continue to be under review. Hopefully we can just march through that process,” BRW Architect Whitney McDermott said.

McDermott is working with the Piedmont Housing Alliance designing its Hickory Hope apartments. With Monday’s approval, construction on Hickory Hope could start as soon as June.

“We can start construction this summer with the idea that it would be done within about a year and a half,” Rosensweig said. “So that’s 121 more units of affordable housing done in about a year and a half.”

Phase 1 of Southwood is expected to be ready for move in as soon as this summer. Adding Block 12, Hickory Hope, to the mix means additional affordable housing for the area.


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