The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review has offered its support for the design of two student housing projects on West Main Street. The buildings will be adjacent to The Flats at West Village, which is under construction. Despite the approval, ome board members expressed concern with the scale of the buildings, which will be marketed to students at the University of Virginia.

“People come up to us on the street and are very upset about this project,” said board member Candace DeLoach. “I think everything feels much larger than it needs to be.”

The architect for The Standard, a 600-bedroom, six-story complex proposed for the site of Republic Plaza, disagreed.

“This is precisely what West Main Street was designed for,” John Matthews said. “The other projects that will follow along West Main Street will likely be of similar scale and will also be appropriate.” 

The BAR voted 6-1 to grant The Standard a certificate of appropriateness. Board Chairman Bill Adams voted against the measure. The City Council approved the project earlier this month, and it is now undergoing site plan review.

The second apartment building considered, 1000 W. Main St., is slated to have 240 units at West Main and Roosevelt Brown Boulevard. Campus Acquisitions Holdings, the developer of the project, is applying for a permit to allow for increased height and density on the property.

The presentation on the building noted that it would offer limited parking availability, retail space on the ground floor, outdoor green space and community space along Roosevelt Brown Boulevard.

“There is a choice here that is about a lifestyle of being on the street,” said Scott Erdy, architect for the project. “We are trying to create an urban experience, not necessarily just the apartment and a parking space.”

“I am very excited about the project,” said board member Laura Knott. “In terms of street life, the relationship to the Patton Mansion [a historic home adjacent to the project], and the creation of a pocket park, I think we will get a tremendous amount for what you are asking.”

Last week, the Planning Commission expressed reservations about 1000 W. Main St.  Along with questions about whether there is a market for more student housing, the commission also voiced concerns that the building’s proximity to the UVa Medical Center could affect the flight path of emergency helicopters.

“We spoke with the chief pilot of UVa Pegasus [Emergency Air & Ground Transport], and there is no conflict with FAA regulations,” Erdy said.

While only a preliminary discussion on 1000 W. Main St.’s design, the BAR recommended support of the special use permit for increased height and density.  The project is expected to come before the Planning Commission on Dec 10.

“Your project should not be impacted by the projects we have been approved in the past,” said board member Whit Graves.

The new development comes at the same time the city has hired consultants to plan the future of development on the West Main corridor. Alexandria-based Rhodeside & Harwell will create a master plan to guide future development and address things like bike lanes, street trees and sidewalks.

An open house is planned at the Carver Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 to launch the West Main project and gather public input. Representatives from the Flats at West Village and The Standard are slated to be there to provide information on their developments.

More information is available at http://gowestmain.com.

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