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A plan to develop the intersection of Fifth Street Extended and Old Lynchburg Road into a mixed-use hub with up to 300 residences is at least partially due to a new federal tax cut.

According to developer Kyle Redinger, the team reconsidered their existing plans for Royal Fern after realizing that it was in an Opportunity Zone, a low-income area designated for federal tax benefits and economic development through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“Because this project is in an opportunity zone, it provides additional incentives to build affordable housing, locate businesses and provide economic vibrancy to the area. An example of an ideal tenant would be a technology company that has long term growth plans, wants a unique office space, and wants to take advantage of the opportunity zone incentives,” Redinger said in an email.

A commercial section at the entrance to Old Lynchburg Road would include offices as well as stores, a hotel or a self-storage facility. Redinger said he plans to contribute funds to improve the Fifth Street and Old Lynchburg Road intersection and build paths for walkers and bikers along the border with both roads.

The previous plan for the Royal Fern property was to build 56 townhouses and single-family homes, as allowed without rezoning.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville also has taken advantage of the Opportunity Zone designation in its redevelopment of the nearby Southwood Mobile Home Park. The tax benefit has helped attract for-profit partners to the project and allowed them to add more expensive components to the project, like structured parking. 

  • location: intersection of Old Lynchburg Road and Fifth Street Extended
  • scale: 300 apartments, condominiums and townhouses, with a maximum height of 50 feet or four stories tall
  • affordability: at least 45 affordable units, some for-sale and some rentable at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Market Rent (currently $1,082 per month for a one-bedroom apartment) 
  • next steps: presentation at the Fifth and Avon Community Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19
Workers prepare the former Monticello Dairy building for its transformation into Dairy Market. Credit: Credit: Dan Hennicke/Charlottesville Tomorrow

Dairy Market begins to take shape on Preston Avenue

The new Dairy Market building is taking shape on Preston Avenue, as construction workers and craftspeople renovate the former Monticello Dairy factory into a food hall and add modern office space to the back of the building.

The transformation already has attracted tenants. Developer Chris Henry, of Stony Point Design/Build, climbed to the top floor of the skeleton office space last week and counted roughly 75% of office space as spoken for, with the entire first floor committed to a still-unnamed nonprofit.

When the special-use permit for the Dairy Central project was approved last summer, Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker lauded the team’s community engagement efforts. She was still the sole vote against the project out of a desire to see more affordable apartments in the second phase. 

Henry said that the most important outcome of engagement efforts was the incorporation of a community meeting space into the Dairy Market building.

Henry aims to have a diverse range of food types and prices at the food hall. So far, Starr Hill Brewery, Angelic’s Kitchen, Chimm St, Take It Away and Eleva Coffee have been named as vendors.

  • address: 946 Grady Ave.
  • scale: 30,000 square feet of food stalls, restaurants and retail, 50,000 square feet of office space
  • price points: from $10 lunch option upwards
  • next steps: groundbreaking on apartment component of project this fall, opening of Dairy Market in 2020
The anchor store that seems likely to become a Target would be located to the left of this image, towards Seminole Trail. Credit: Credit: Bignell Watkins Hasser Architects

Former Kmart still looks likely to become a Target

The classic signs of Target stores — the signature red signs and bollards — are still present in the proposal to adapt the former Kmart on Hydraulic Road to new stores.

The Charlottesville Planning Commission recommended the comprehensive sign package application for the shopping center to the City Council on Tuesday. The proposal still had generic names like “Sushi Dragon” and “Fruit Smoothies,” and Riverbend Development, which is responsible for the project, said that they are still not ready to comment on which companies will fill those stores.

Charlottesville Tomorrow and the Daily Progress discovered the hints for what the Kmart site could become in May.

  • address: 1801 Hydraulic Road
  • scale: 87,000 square-foot building with 10 tenants, approximately half of the space would be taken by the anchor store
Heirloom Development is hoping to build a 52-foot tall apartment or condominium building, with underground parking, where University Tire and Auto Center is now. Credit: Credit: Bushman Dreyfus Architects

Six Hundred West Main phase two moves to City Council

The University Tire and Auto Center is one step closer to being replaced by the second phase of Six Hundred West Main, a luxury apartment complex currently under construction behind the Blue Moon Diner.

The Charlottesville Planning Commission voted 4-2 on Tuesday to recommend Heirloom Development’s application. The special-use permit would maintain the four stories allowed in the site’s zoning but increases the number of units within that structure.

Heirloom has allayed commissioners’ previous concerns that construction of the second phase could harm the historic First Baptist Church and its annex building next door. Heirloom has agreed to present a survey of the existing conditions of the two buildings and a plan for safeguarding them to the city before the city gives the developer a demolition permit. 

The commission also debated whether to give the developer more leniency in parking requirements and ultimately decided not to do so.

  • address: 602-616 W. Main St.
  • scale: 55 studio to three-bedroom apartments or condos, ground-floor retail
  • next steps: Charlottesville City Council meeting 

Emily Hays grew up in Charlottesville and graduated from Yale in 2016. She covered growth, development, and affordable living. Before writing for Charlottesville Tomorrow, she produced a podcast on education and caste in Maharashtra, India.