Did someone forward you this email? Maybe you’ve found it on the web? Here’s where you can subscribe for free!

Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023

After more than a year of dodging questions from our newsroom, Charlottesville officials, and their own residents, the owners of Midway Manor have released information about their plans for the downtown Charlottesville apartment building.

The key points: The company will continue renting to seniors and residents with disabilities whose rent is subsidized by the government; and the long-delayed renovations are happening.

Four people sit at tables in a common room looking upset.
Credit: Jessie Higgins/Charlottesville Tomorrow

After dodging questions for more than a year, Midway Manor owners confirms affordability and that renovations are starting

Standard Communities is the company that owns Midway Manor. Company leaders opened up about their plans — and the reasons for the long delay — after we published a story earlier this summer detailing their inexplicable silence and what that meant for vulnerable residents.

Standard Communities bought Midway Manor in January 2022 and quickly announced plans to renovate the property. They worked with the Charlottesville Regional Housing Authority to secure $23 million in bond money to finance the project, moved construction materials onto the parking lot and told residents that construction would begin later that summer.

A few months later, those materials suddenly disappeared and Standard Communities went quiet. Residents became increasingly anguished as time went by without word from their building’s owner. Would the project happen? Were the owners planning to continue the federal program that subsidizes their rents? Charlottesville Tomorrow reporter Erin O’Hare, along with local officials, regularly reached out to Standard Communities for information but received few responses.

A sign in the foreground reads "Midway Manor." Behind it is a multi-story brick building.
Credit: Jessie Higgins/Charlottesville Tomorrow

From June: More than a year after Midway Manor’s owner promised to begin rebuilding, we can’t get a straight answer on what is happening

After we published that report in June, Standard Community’s senior director, Steven Kahn, spoke with our reporter. He said the company had been “unintentionally silent” about the issues and delays it experienced in the last year. Basically, they ran into an unexpected bureaucratic issue with receiving the $23 million in bond money the Charlottesville Regional Housing Authority helped it get for the project, and they didn’t receive the money until 2023.

“We’d hoped and expected to be in this position a year ago,” Kahn said. “But things are happening.”

The company is continuing with its plan to make major renovations to the entire structure, inside and out. Midway Manor was built in 1980, and there have been few upgrades since. The elevators often malfunctioned (those issues are mostly resolved), the intercom system was broken, an outdoor staircase is crumbling. And there are other issues, including in the apartments themselves.

Two elevator doors are pictured along a wall.
Credit: Credit: Mike Kropf/Charlottesville Tomorrow

From May 2021: Broken elevators leave Midway Manor residents with disabilities stranded

Renovations to the building’s exterior began in late July, starting with a roof replacement. That should be done this month, Josh Horton, chief operating officer for Martin Horn, a local firm working on the renovations, confirmed with Charlottesville Tomorrow. Interior renovations will begin sometime in September. The exact time depends on how long it takes the company to get materials, which “have been a moving target over the past few years,” Horton said.

Kahn said that “it’s very difficult to think of a piece of the building that is not going to be modernized, upgraded, or otherwise improved.” There will be new cabinets, countertops, floors, appliances, windows, paint. The apartments will look like new, and everything will work, Kahn said.

The building’s systems will be “either repaired, upgraded, or totally replaced depending on their need,” said Kahn. That includes the roof, the facade, boilers, and HVAC, plumbing, and electric systems.

Standard plans to re-do common areas and other spaces so residents can have bingo nights, holiday parties, a library, and whatever else they’d like. There are plans for raised garden beds, bocce and horseshoe courts, and more seating outside. While there’s some green space out behind the building, it’s only accessible by stairs, which means it’s not accessible to most residents. Kahn said Standard is looking into changing that.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this project, and give you updates along the way!

Have a great week everyone,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

Our Sponsors

Want to sponsor our newsletter? Here’s how.

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.