UVA Says A 10-Story, 130-Foot Tall, 242-Unit Apartment Building Is Bad News For Ivy Road


Photo Credit: Charlottesville GIS

Photo Credit: City Of Charlottesville
The future of a 10-story, 130-foot tall, 242-unit apartment building on Ivy Road has transitioned into developmental purgatory after the most influential outfit in Charlottesville submitted a letter on Friday, November 10 to City Council opposing the project.

In the letter, the University of Virginia outlined why it opposes a proposal for the Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 2117 Ivy Road, which is currently the site of Truist Bank and adjacent to Moe’s Original BBQ.

The authors of the letter – Alice Raucher, the architect for UVA, and Colette Sheehy, UVA’s senior vice president for operations and state government relations – described the PUD as a “major departure from the city’s stated goals for this entrance corridor.”

RMD Properties owns 2117 Ivy Road, a 1.02-acre parcel that is smack-dab within a Charlottesville entrance corridor and very close to the jurisdictional line between the City and Albemarle County. On the Charlottesville GIS, RMD Properties lists a Winston Salem, North Carolina PO Box as its mailing address.

The RMD Properties parcel is one of the last privately owned properties on Ivy Road. UVA and the UVA Foundation have purchased much of this corridor, including the Ivy Square Shopping Center, a 2.77-acre property that is home to Foods of All Nations and other shops. UVA purchased Ivy Square for $20,000,000 in December, 2021. UVA purchased Moe’s BBQ for $2,575,000 in October, 2021.

Photo Credit: University Of Virginia (click to enlarge)

“The proposed building height of 130-feet [and] 10-stories with minimal supporting pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure creates a mismatch with the corridor’s intended scale, traffic, and character, potentially affecting safety and neighborhood quality,” wrote Raucher and Sheehy in their letter to City Council. “While the University has undertaken years of community engagement with the adjacent neighborhood throughout the planning and design process for the Emmet/Ivy district, we are aware that members of the community are highly concerned about the possible detrimental impact of this PUD.”

Those “members of the community” are likely the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association (LMNA). The LMNA has written letters to City Council, the Planning Commission and to members of the media, including this author, opposing the 242-unit apartment project, which could house approximately 600 residents.

On November 2, the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association launched a petition outlining why it opposed the project.

“The height, massing, and site design of the proposed PUD is completely out of scale with the adjacent Lewis Mountain neighborhood, is not compatible with UVA’s Ivy Corridor plan or other new developments along Ivy Road across the County line, and does not contribute to the quality of the Ivy Entrance Corridor which provides entry to Charlottesville’s most important cultural and historic landmarks,” the petition reads. “We support development of additional housing and mixed-use development in the Ivy Entrance Corridor that will enhance the ‘overall character and quality of the corridor’ and support positive interaction with the community. The proposed 2117 Ivy PUD does not meet that test. It focuses solely on squeezing as many housing units on the site as possible.”

The petition garnered 218 supporters.

Matthew Gillikin, the co-chair of a volunteer housing, transportation and land-use advocacy group called Livable CVille, wrote an email Monday morning to Raucher, Sheehy and UVA President Jim Ryan in support of the 2117 Ivy Road PUD.

“Your letter contains no mention of how this project will provide housing to around 600 community members, mostly UVA students and staff. It also does not mention the roughly $2 million the development will produce for the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund or the significant benefits the city will gain from the additional real estate tax revenue from this site,” Gillikin wrote. “Furthermore, it makes no comment on how UVA will replace these community benefits if the land is sold to UVA, which will happen if the project is not approved.”

How will City Council respond to this project? Will City Council respond like it did to the 0 East High Street development project? Will City Council respond like it did to the Dairy Market Phase 3 development project?

Citizens and taxpayers alike are watching very closely.

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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, I Love CVille Real Estate and Charlottesville Business Brokers 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.