Development Digest: Blue Moon Diner reopens on West Main

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  • Development Digest: Developer plans nine-story building on Artful Lodger site
  • Development Digest: Dunlora residents continue to oppose Parkway Place apartment proposal
  • Local organizations working to tear down barriers to housing

On Thursday, Blue Moon Diner co-owner Laura Galgano surveyed her newly renovated restaurant and greeted customers as they found seating.

The diner, which reopened Wednesday, has been a fixture on West Main Street since the 1970s. It closed for two years while the inside was gutted and rebuilt and a luxury apartment complex, Six Hundred West Main, rose behind it.

Despite the break and the new context, Galgano said that the diner feels the same and that regular customers are already asking for their favorite dishes.

“We’ve been open less than 24 hours, and we keep making jokes that it feels like Brigadoon and no time has passed at all,” Galgano said.

Six Hundred West Main developer Jeff Levien originally had planned to knock the Blue Moon Diner building down but was constrained by Charlottesville’s Board of Architectural Review. Instead, the developers have renovated the space for Galgano and she said that the diner is here to stay.

The break gave Galgano and her husband the time to take the cross-country road trip they had talked about for 15 years, she said, and they took ideas home. Their new to-go menu, which looks like a newspaper with spoof articles and puzzles, was inspired by a diner in South Dakota.

  • address: 512 W. Main St.
  • prices: $5-$12 main course
  • classic favorite for Galgano: apple omelette
  • new favorite: shakshuka
  • next steps: rooftop patio scheduled to open in spring or summer 2020

Nine-story building could work downtown, BAR says

A drawing of how one nine-story building on the Artful Lodger site could look like multiple smaller buildings. This is not a design proposal and the final design may look very different.

Charlottesville’s Board of Architectural Review said Tuesday that a nine-story building, especially if broken up to look like multiple buildings, could work between the Whiskey Jar and the Vinegar Hill Theatre on the Downtown Mall.

Jeff Levien’s Heirloom Development is hoping to demolish the Artful Lodger building and build apartments or condominiums in its place. The developer is required to contribute to the city’s affordable housing fund or build on-site or off-site affordable housing.

The BAR unanimously recommended the special use permit to the City Council for approval. When the BAR reviews the final design, the board said that it expects the team to break up the volume of the building, protect neighboring buildings and consider a pathway that allows people to walk between the mall and West Market Street.

  • address: 218 W. Market St.
  • scale: 134 studio to two-bedroom apartments or condominiums, with ground-floor commercial space, 101 feet tall
  • amenities: green roof, shared parking
  • next steps: Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting

County board split on Rio tiny homes and apartments

999 Rio Road.

Developer Nicole Scro’s plan to build tiny homes and a three-story apartment and office building at the corner of East Rio Road and Belvedere Boulevard is returning to the Albemarle County Planning Commission.

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday looked unlikely to approve the rezoning, so Scro’s team asked to defer the board’s vote and return with a different application, perhaps without the office component. 

More than 450 residents of the Dunlora neighborhood have signed a petition opposing the project, in conjunction with a much larger project planned for the Wetsel property nearby. Neighbors said that traffic is already difficult and they worried about crashes.

One neighbor, Janie Pudhorodsky, said that opposing the project is not good for the larger community and that this kind of housing would allow teachers and policemen to live closer to their jobs.

Supervisors Chairman Ned Gallaway said that development in the area has reached a saturation point where the roads need to be improved before more approvals, and supervisors Liz Palmer, Rick Randolph and Ann H. Mallek expressed agreement. Only supervisors Norman Dill and Diantha McKeel seemed likely to vote for the project.

  • address: 999 E. Rio Road
  • scale: 16-46 apartments and tiny homes, office space
  • estimated price points: $1,300/month one-bedroom apartment, $200,000-$300,000 houses, net zero energy costs
  • affordability: 15% of residences affordable to those making 80% of the area median income
  • amenities: biking/walking path leading to downtown Charlottesville, 
  • next steps: Albemarle County Planning Commission meeting 

Farm and apartment idea lingers on Nassau Street

Several months after the City Council denied Justin Shimp’s urban farm and apartment plan on Nassau Street, Nicole Scro is floating a similar proposal just up the street. 

This time, the zoning required is already in place, so Scro only needs to conform to the code to get city approval for her Rootstock Farm Apartments. 

Four neighbors and activist Mark Kavit attended a site plan conference to learn about the project on Wednesday. One neighbor learned that the house she rents was not part of the property and that she would get six months of notice before having to move in the future.

  • address: corner of Nassau Street and Linden Avenue
  • scale: 28 apartments in two, three-story buildings
  • price points: $1,100/month
  • affordability: none required
  • next steps: Charlottesville Planning Commission administrative approval 

Carlton Views prepares for third apartment building

Construction continues on the second Carlton Views apartment building on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The second Carlton Views apartment building is under construction and the third already has the required zoning and funding in place. Now, the architects and engineers are taking the third building through the final stretches of the city’s site plan process.

The complex is unusual as rent-restricted housing developed by for-profit Fountainhead Properties. The apartments are easy to move around in for the elderly or disabled, and the Blue Ridge PACE senior facility is incorporated into the complex. 

The city contributed $ million to the expansion, which then won low-income housing tax credits this summer. Bank of America intends to give the project approximately $6.5 million in exchange for the tax credits, the development team said.

The city held a meeting for interested neighbors on Wednesday, but nobody came. 

  • address: 1339 Carlton Ave.
  • scale: 48 apartments
  • price points: all rent-restricted for people making 60% of the area median income or less, up to a quarter of apartments for those making less than 40% AMI
  • affordability required: yes
  • next steps: construction next spring 

County approves Regents School expansion plans

One option for the layout of the future Regents School of Charlottesville campus.

The Regents School of Charlottesville has approval to build their own campus near Fontaine Avenue Extended.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday for the project. Supervisor Liz Palmer worried that the lighting and noise of the athletic field would disrupt the neighborhood and urged the school to work closely with neighbors to avoid conflict.

During the meeting, more than a dozen Regents students spoke about how the school has welcomed and encouraged them.

  • location: Reservoir Road, across the street from Foxhaven Farm Road
  • scale: 280 students, up to 468 in future
  • annual cost: $5,500 for half-day kindergarten to $9,220 for 12th grade; approximately 34% of school on financial aid, according to Regents Principal Courtney Palumbo
  • amenities: gymnasium, theater, outdoor athletic field
  • next steps: fundraising, construction estimated to start in two or more years