As I type this, socialists and activists in Charlottesville, Virginia are trying to crush the next phase of Dairy Market’s development. My friend, an insider with established development connections, explained it best, “This behavior gives the City a horrible look to anyone wanting to develop housing in Charlottesville.”
Socialists and activists are describing the next phase of Dairy Market’s development as “A Modern Day Vinegar Hill.” Frankly speaking, that description is insulting to the 158 Vinegar Hill families (almost all African American), the one church and the 30 businesses that were displaced near downtown Charlottesville in 1965 during urban renewal.
Dairy Market’s development does not displace a single person. Instead, it transitions asphalt parking lots and antiquated buildings into 400 apartments or housing for roughly 600 Charlottesvillians.
Dairy Market is the perfect development location. It’s a high density, low emissions project. It’s adjacent to a major road (Preston Avenue). It’s walkable to the University of Virginia, UVA Hospital and The Downtown Mall. It’s near two bus lines (CAT and UVA). It’s by a bicycle lane.
Furthermore, Dairy Market will offer subsidized housing per the City’s new ordinance and also feature 25% open space, 725 structured parking spaces, new sidewalks, new street lights, new street trees and a public plaza at Wood Street and Preston Avenue adjacent to Starr Hill. The project will also include ground floor commercial space, which could be a new home for the current businesses (Twice is Nice Thrift Shop, the Preston Suds Laundromat and Fifth Season Gardening) that will be transitioned out during development.
When you look at this project with common sense and through a macro lens, everyone can see the practicality and functionality of what Chris Henry and Stony Point Development Group are trying to do with the next phase at Dairy Market.
And most importantly?
The Dairy Market project does not displace a single person. Not one.
Now, let’s consider the public opposition to the following development projects: Stribling Avenue, High Street/Rivanna River and Dairy Market. Each of these faced significant resistance within one year of each other. Please also consider the outcry to Keith Woodard’s Market Plaza project on Water Street and Oliver Kuttner’s micro-apartments project off Water Street.
Henry, Woodard, Kuttner, Frank Ballif and Charlie Armstrong (Stribling Avenue), Bo Carrington (High Street/Rivanna River) and the Wendell Wood family (High Street/Rivanna River) have all tried to build dense housing in the City of Charlottesville, but socialists and activists have poo-poohed it all. These same socialists and activists champion new affordable housing for working class people in the City of Charlottesville, but then they organize, strategize and galvanize against the projects once they gain momentum. That’s the definition of hypocrisy.
Here is a message to the socialists and activists who want affordable housing for working class people:
Why would any developer with common sense invest their money into new housing in the City of Charlottesville, Virginia when all you do is make their professional life a living hell? You are your own worst enemy. Offering feedback to developers is welcomed, but kiboshing projects will only drive up the cost of housing and gentrify you out of the City.
Jerry Miller, CEO & Publisher
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