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CRHA to pay $4.3 million more for first phase of redevelopment

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will pay $4.3 million above original estimates for the first phase of its massive redevelopment of the city’s public housing stock.

Phase one includes the renovation of Crescent Halls and construction of new units on South First Street.

The project is being led by Chicago-based general contractor GMA Construction Group.

The combined projects are expected to cost about $26.94 million for construction, about $4.3 million higher than the projections from early 2019, according to former Mayor Dave Norris, who is CRHA’s redevelopment coordinator.

Officials did not say what caused the roughly 18% cost increase.

The total development cost is about $34 million. The project at Crescent Halls would cost $15.39 million and South First Street would be $11.55 million.

Norris discussed the estimates during a virtual meeting of CRHA’s board of commissioners Thursday.

CRHA has requested an additional $1 million from the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

Private donors are providing an additional $200,000 and committing to back a bank loan of $2.1 million.

The final $1 million would come in the form of a loan from the housing authority, which would forego half of the developer fees it would collect from the project.

Norris said the authority considered going to the city, but felt that wasn’t viable given revenue shortfalls from the coronavirus pandemic. The city is expecting to lose about $8 million over the current and next fiscal year.

“We do not feel like we can go back to the city of Charlottesville given their pretty sizable deficit,” he said.

At Crescent Halls, a three-part project will modernize the building and improve access for its residents, who are primarily seniors and disabled persons.

The renovated building will have 98 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments.

The project will start in conjunction with the first phase of work on South First Street, where 58 existing units will be redeveloped and 142 units will be added, at a total estimated cost of about $38 million.

Phase one at South First Street is a 63-unit development next to the existing public housing near the intersection of South First Street and Hartmans Mill Road in the Ridge Street neighborhood.

The units will be built on undeveloped land that contains a community baseball field. Work is expected to take about a year.

Once that phase is complete, crews will move onto phase two at South First Street and replace the existing 58 units with 113 multifamily units. The effort also includes a 7,000-square-foot community center and 3,000 square feet of office space.

The projects are expected to start in the summer at South First Street and fall at Crescent Halls.


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