Related Articles:


With the Charlottesville Planning Commission having recently recommended approval of a special use permit for mixed-use development on Harris Street, it seems likely to pass the City Council this coming Monday. 

Woodard Properties has proposed the development for commercial and residential space near the Habitat for Humanity Store. The SUP is for two additional stories and density for up to 105 apartment units. Currently, the by-right height and density is four stories and 51 units.

“This project will add needed supply to housing in Charlottesville without displacement of affordable housing,” said Chris Virgilio, a project development manager with Woodard Properties.  “The approval of additional density and height will provide residential apartments close to employment areas along Harris Street, downtown Charlottesville and [the University of Virginia].”

On affordability, Woodard Properties owns and operates other properties where they have included affordable housing and accepted vouchers.  In designing the Harris Street Apartments, Virgilio said efficiency is a “primary goal in the building design to keep costs and rental rates down.”

Designed by architect Keith O. Woodard, the project will include off-street parking on lower levels of the building for residential and commercial units, and Virgilio said that the proximity of the development to downtown Charlottesville can encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation as well like bikes, scooters, and public transportation. Woodard properties is also working with the city to include a Charlottesville Area Transit stop at McIntire Plaza. 

“It is this project’s goal to increase pedestrian activity on and around Harris Street,” Virgilio said.  “Landscape improvements and potential utility undergrounding along Harris Street will compliment the city’s proposed sidewalk and street improvements and will facilitate pedestrian and bicycle activity. The mixed-use development, coupled with nearby parks, trails and bike paths align with the city’s sustainability and walkability principals.”

The plaza already is home to more than 100 small businesses and some apartments. Woodard Properties will work with Pigment Color Design on the new construction. The exteriors of McIntire Plaza’s existing buildings feature shades of yellow, purple, orange and green. While the color scheme is not finalized just yet, Virgilio says the “goal is to have the new building look and feel like an extension of McIntire Plaza.”

  • Address: Harris Street near the Habitat for Humanity Store and McIntire Plaza
  • Scale: 166,800 square foot mixed-use building with 13,050 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor
  • Amenities: parking, proximity to McIntire Plaza, hiking trails and downtown Charlottesville
  • Price Points: to be determined
  • Next steps: Pending approval of SUP in next City Council meeting

Wawa breaks ground on first area location; others planned in Pantops and Rio

Supervisors Dona Price (left) and Bea LaPisto Kirtley (right) join in the official groundbreaking for Charlottesville/Albemarle’s first Wawa location.

This Tuesday morning after the rain cleared, community members gathered in a muddy field at the corner of U.S. 29 and Profit Road near the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport to celebrate the groundbreaking for a Wawa gas station and convenience market. The Pennsylvania-based chain brought out its mascot and golden shovels to celebrate its first Charlottesville-area location. 

Albemarle County supervisors Donna Price and Bea LaPisto Kirtley attended the event and made remarks. Both supervisors thanked the company for its charity work. 

While many attendees were excited for the construction to bring their favorite coffees and snacks, Price reflected on a very personal connection she has to the company’s philanthropic work. 

“I also know you’re a sponsor of the Children’s Miracle Network,” Price said. “One of my daughters was nearly killed in a vehicular accident and we’re very appreciative for the work that the Network has done. I thank you for that. Good food, good service, good gas, great location. Welcome to Albemarle County.”

As Wally Goose, the company’s mascot, held up a rendering of the site plan Robert Yeatts, the director of store operations for Virginia, explained the architectural design of the forthcoming structure.

The building’s exterior design was influenced by regional Charlottesville architecture like the red brick featured in many buildings in the area. A covered front porch with furnishing will also include privacy planters for outdoor dining. Inside, there will be a self-service coffee bar, a seating area, public restrooms and an open kitchen service area where customers can order custom-built sandwiches, salads and drinks. 

Wawa is working with Gray Engineering, Architecture and Construction and Mid-Atlantic Construction on the project.

“We have four that are officially under contract in the local area, and I would say over the next five years, we would like to grow that to about ten,” Yeatts said.

One location is slated for Pantops at Richmond Road and Stony Point Road and another in the Rio District at the intersection of Greenbrier Drive and U.S. 29. There is also an expected location in Ruckersville. 

  • Address: Corner of U.S. 29 and Proffit Road
  • Amenities: indoor and outdoor seating area, kitchen, convenience store
  • Next steps: Expected to be operational by fall 2020

Vision for Cherry Avenue and Fifeville continues to progress

Credit: Credit: Charlottesville Tomorrow File Photo

This week, the Charlottesville Planning Commission examined a draft of the Cherry Avenue small area plan, which could bring mixed-use development to the corridor and Fifeville neighborhood while retaining some of the neighborhood’s character. In a work session in the Neighborhood Development Services conference room, stakeholders, consultants, and residents gathered to review where the process is as of now. 

“There was a good showing of residents,” said commissioner Lyle Solla-Yates. “Overall, it was fairly cramped. It was a pretty heavily loaded agenda and we had to go quickly. We didn’t get as much citizen input as we probably should have, I regret to say.”

Some commentary from residents included a desire for affordable housing while preserving existing housing, a grocery store and farmers market. Part of the plan focuses on accessory dwelling units in existing homes in the area. 

“They do talk about ADUs, which I’m pleased to see. There are definite benefits there,” Solla-Yates said. “The goals and principals make a lot of sense to me. It sounds like the residents stand behind them.”

While the work session was short, the process for approving the plans is not, and there will be other opportunities for commentary and input. The draft will go back to the Planning Commission, perhaps within the next month, Solla-Yates said, before potentially moving forward to the City Council.

Solla-Yates said that the commission has to determine if the plan is appropriate and in compliance with the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan. A consultant and steering committee are still in the process of working on the new plan.

  • Address: Fifeville
  • Amenities: mixed-use development to enhance density and affordability with preservation of existing homes
  • Next steps: Planning Commission review within an estimate of a month, council vote to be determined

I was Charlottesville Tomorrow’s government reporter from 2019 to 2022. Thanks for letting me be your resident nerd on how local and state governments serve us. Keep up with me @charlottewords on Twitter. If you haven’t yet, consider subscribing to Charlottesville Tomorrow’s FREE newsletter to get updates from the newsroom on the things you want to know.