Albemarle County has hired a Washington, D.C.-based architectural firm to design and facilitate construction of its $45.2 million courts renovation project.
The county announced Thursday that the $4.8 million contract was awarded to Fentress Architects.
The project is part of a 2018 deal between Charlottesville and Albemarle to keep the county courts downtown.
The county plans to demolish an existing three-story office addition and replace it with a new addition to the existing Levy Opera House, which is jointly owned by the city and county. Additionally, the county Commonwealth’s Attorney Office will relocate to the Levy Building, which is at the corner of Park and East High streets.
A multi-story addition with an underground level for parking will be constructed and connected to the Levy Building. This building will accommodate four sets of courts: one for the city, two county general district courts and a shell space for future courts operations. This addition will also house the offices for both the county and city clerks of court.
Construction is expected to start in spring 2022 and finish by fall 2024.
The city is expected to contribute $6.9 million to the total project.
As part of the deal, the city also is planning to construct a 300-space parking garage with 12,000 square feet of retail on the ground level on Market Street. The preliminary cost estimates for construction is $8.5 million.