If We Deemphasize Real Estate Growth To Prioritize Affordable Housing, How Will That Impact The Charlottesville, Virginia Economy?


Editor’s Note: This is episode four in a four episode Coy Barefoot series.

CVILLE QUESTION NO. 1: Does Charlottesville, Virginia have an affordable housing crisis that should be prioritized and corrected immediately by City Hall, or does the expensive real estate in Charlottesville create “trickle over value” for surrounding counties like Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Orange, which, in turn, maintains a healthy economy???

CVILLE QUESTION NO. 2: What is the future of Friendship Court in Downtown Charlottesville? How will this public housing development be integrated into the future of The Mall as it expands south to The Ix Art Park?

Coy Barefoot, the executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, joined me on The I Love CVille Show powered by Greenberry’s Coffee to discuss these topics.

Barefoot, an anthropologist, who has closely studied the evolution of Charlottesville and The Downtown Mall, is very concerned that the “average Joe” will soon be priced out of CVille.

“Affordable housing continues to be an issue in Charlottesville,” Barefoot said. “There’s not enough of it. That’s something City Hall needs to figure out. You have an increasing number of people who can’t afford to live here. These are people working two and three jobs, or they are people who are middle aged who wear a tie every day.”

Here’s the flip-side of this argument:

If property values continue to rise in CVille, then real estate taxes will continue to rise, which will drive more tax revenue for Charlottesville. This tax revenue allows City Hall to continue to improve the City.

Furthermore, the increased property values in Charlottesville drive increased values in our surrounding counties. For many of us, our homes are our largest investment, so seeing an uptick in value each year offers financial security. The Charlottesville and Central Virginia economies are certainly benefitting from a healthy real estate ecosystem. No one can dispute this.

As a community, if we deemphasize real estate growth to prioritize affordable housing, how will that impact the Charlottesville, Virginia economy over the short and long-term?

Can real estate growth and real estate development coexist with affordable housing and public housing?

My friends, these are very, very important questions. Only time will tell….

Editor’s Note: This is episode three in a four episode series.

When Hannah Graham went missing in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2014 near what was then Tempo Restaurant on The Charlottesville Downtown Mall, no one knew how large this story would become.

The Graham murder and Jesse Leeroy Matthew, Jr’s arrest by the FBI while on the lam on a beach in Galveston County, Texas captivated the nation and monopolized airtime on TV networks like CNN, Fox News and CBS News while commanding print space in the Washington Post, The New York Times and the USA TODAY.

When forensics linked Jesse Leeroy Matthew, Jr to Morgan Harrington’s abduction and murder, the national news went rabid and swarmed to Charlottesville like millennials do with Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria on a Friday night.

During the Graham investigation, Charlottesville looked to Coy Steven Barefoot to “break the news” and inform the community on story developments. Barefoot, an award-winning writer, who first learned the craft of journalism at the C-VILLE Weekly under Editor/Co-Owner Hawes Spencer in the early 1990’s, offered daily reports and updates on his Facebook page. Barefoot also contributed to Wolf Blitzer’s TV show on CNN.

“Chasing a story is one of the most exciting things you can ever do,” Barefoot said on The I Love CVille Show powered by Intrastate Inc.. “It takes smarts, creativity, an understanding you have to move fast, but you have to be right. There’s nothing like it.”

Barefoot, who today is the executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, said he would cover the Graham story around the clock.

“When I was doing the reporting for CNN,” Barefoot said, “I would spend an entire day doing research, emails, phone calls, driving all over town, driving into [Albemarle] County, an entire day to do four minutes on Wolf Blitzer at night.”

In part 3 of our four part series, Barefoot also offers his “State of The Union” on journalism in Charlottesville, Virginia. He discusses his approach to an investigative story and how we are missing a true newspaper of record in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2018.

Editor’s Note: This is episode two in a four episode series.

Coy Barefoot feels most at home in a small town. In fact, Barefoot beelined to Charlottesville, Virginia more than 30 years ago because of its small town feel.

“When I grew up, I always wanted to live in Mayberry,” Barefoot said. “When I was in my twenties, I sought out that town that was as close to the small town that I had always dreamed about.”

So, is Charlottesville, Virginia a better place today than it was 30 years ago? That’s the question I asked Coy Barefoot on The I Love CVille Show powered by Greenberry’s Coffee at Barracks Road.

“In many ways [Charlottesville, Virginia] is better [than it was 30 years ago],” said Barefoot, who has lived in CVille for more than three decades. “I will be honest, though. I fell in love with a little town that doesn’t exist anymore. When I got here, the street lights at night would flash yellow because there was nobody out driving around. There was nobody on West Main Street at night. It was just empty.”

Barefoot, the recently crowned executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, remembers The Downtown Mall when you only had two dining options after dark.

“The Downtown Mall after 5 o’clock was empty,” Barefoot said. “Miller’s was open and The C&O was open, and that was literally the only things open at night downtown.”

“You can look at that and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s an unsuccessful business environment. We need to improve that.’ [But] I LOVED it! It felt like a big high school. If you didn’t know somebody, you knew who their friends were.”

Today, as Charlottesville, Virginia looks to reestablish its brand identity and its self image, Barefoot said that our community must acknowledge its history and its mistakes before we’re able to move forward.

“I think turmoil is the right word. Everyone in town is concerned. These issues were there before August 12. August 12 put a very tragic, big, sad spotlight on some of these issues, but they were there before August 12,” Barefoot said. “Give us credit as a community for at least trying to figure some of this stuff out and not ignore it, but to own it. And to figure out, what the heck is going on…”

At the 5-minute, 35-second marker of this interview, Barefoot begins to offer perspective on Charlottesville City Council.

“My friends on City Council would not deny that they have their challenges right now. They have real challenges. Things to figure out. What I can say, and I can say for each one of them, they are trying to figure it out in their own. There is not a person on Council who does not really care, truly, about trying to figure this out.”

Editor’s Note: This is episode one in a four episode series.

Coy Steven Barefoot, the newly minted executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, analyzes his team’s effort to rebrand the society from a small club to a museum that could potentially represent the rich history of Charlottesville, Virginia in this fantastic I Love CVille interview powered by Greenberry’s Coffee at Barracks Road.

“The idea is to let [the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society] mature from sort of a club for people who are interested in history to a kind of ‘friends of the museum’ organization that supports a whole new suite of programs and projects,” Barefoot explained. “Eventually, we hope we will have a whole constellation of museums that will offer really rich experiences.”

At the 3-minute marker of this interview, you really see Barefoot’s passion for creating a history museum for Charlottesville, Virginia.

“It blows my mind that a place like Scottsville, Virginia has a history museum, but Charlottesville doesn’t?!” Barefoot said. “To me, it’s such a no brainer. Why don’t we do that?

“The beauty of it, the power of it, is our [Charlottesville] story is America’s story.”

Barefoot, an award-winning author, who is often the go-to resource for Charlottesville history, received a phone call this past Spring from an influential supporter of the Historical Society. This call, kind of a “feel things out conversation,” was the first step to Barefoot’s new job.

“When I got out of grad school in ’92, I went down to the Historical Society to volunteer as a tour guide and would drag third graders up and down The Mall,” Barefoot said. “I just loved it! I fell in love with Charlottesville history and the work of the Historical Society.”

Barefoot, who has already spearheaded a new website (CVilleCenter.org), new programs, new tours and new projects for the Historical Society, is passionate about reinventing and rebranding this organization.

“I feel like I’ve been training for this one job for 30 years,” Barefoot said, “[but] we need your help. We need support.”

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Bill Chapman Responds To Hawes Spencer’s Comments: The Story Behind The Hook Newspaper In Charlottesville, Virginia and The Evolution of Three Notch’d Brewing Company: From 3 Dudes At McGrady’s Irish Pub To A Charlottesville, Va Craft Beer Icon!

At I Love CVille, we feature the best of Charlottesville, Virginia. You’re going to love the I Love CVille network.

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CEO Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller is the CEO of The Miller Organization, The I Love CVille Network, VMV Brands, The Blue Ridge Venture Fund and I Love CVille Real Estate, which are all headquartered in Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Jerry is passionate about the #ShopLocal movement and supporting locally-owned businesses. Get to know Jerry at JerryMillerNow.com.